Author: Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publication Date: September 13, 2010
Source: My TBR Pile
Man Booker Prize Nominee (2010)
Orange Prize Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2011)
ALA Alex Award (2011)
Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014)
Indies Choice Book Award for Fiction (2011)
(and ten more!)
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what is means to journey from one world to another.
Ever since I was a kid, I would read books that some might call 'horrible' because they showed me how much worse life could be. No matter how bad you have it, there is always someone else who has it worse. While this was very toned down from the usual demented stories I've read, it was still one of those kind of books. Room will make you wonder about if it happened to you and make you glad it didn't.
I think that the point of view really made this book. Hearing things from Jack's point of view made it less horror story-ish. Maybe less 'real', too, since hearing it from the mother would have made some parts a bit more vivid. But hearing it from Jack's point of view made it more hopeful.
I just have to say that I really loved the perspective. It was entirely unique for me to read this kind of story from a child's point of view. Room is his world and that is exactly what we get. We get to see through his eyes all the things that he knows and understands and how hard it is for him to understand anything else. Outside was a completely foreign concept and it was eye-opening to think about what that would truly be like.
I think this book could have gone many different ways though. I felt a little cheated by the climax being in the middle of the book. I kept expecting something else to happen but it just didn't. It turned out alright but I didn't really like the ending. I wish it had been happier but at the same time I know that that is not exactly how real life works.
There were things about this book that I noticed that I might not have if I wasn't a mother. Breastfeeding, for example (and this is where I'm probably going to lose your interest so just skip to the next paragraph if you are so inclined.) In the first half of the book, Jack states that 'Ma let me have some' or 'I had lots'. The context clues you in and later on it becomes a big issue to other people but I might not have understood right away at a younger age.
Another thing, and more importantly, I, as a mother, wondered what the hell she was thinking when she came up with her last minute 'Plan A' and 'Plan B'. I was screaming in my head all the things that could go wrong with these plans. What? Is she even taking into account that THIS could happen? Oh my glob, what if that doesn't work? What if the worst happens?! Seriously, I was worrying like only a mother can.
But while I questioned, I completely understood why Ma did what she had to do. She was a flawed woman as are we all. She did was she could, loved with all her heart, and did what she could to make Jack's world a safe and happy place. I really loved how real these characters were.
I was on the edge of my seat, biting my bobby pin, and pacing around the house while reading. I could not hold still. I needed to know what was going to happen and I needed it to turn out good. For both Jack and his Ma.
Overall, it was a really good read but I felt like I couldn't give it 5 stars because of how the story petered out half way through.