Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

SONY DSCBook Title/Author: Room by Emma Donoghue
Publisher/Year: September 13th 2010 by Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Drama
Series: N/A
Format: Hardcover
Source: Owned

View on Goodreads


“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 it means to journey from one world to another.” (Goodreads)





I enjoy reading books from a narrator that offers a unique perspective. However, I am usually pretty skeptical when stories are told from the perspective of children; in the case of child perspectives in novels, I sometimes find books too simplified to have the illusion that story is being told by a child OR unrealistic because the author goes into too much complicated details and dialogue that would be unlikely for a child.

With that being said, Room is brilliantly written: it took hold of me from the first chapter and never let me go until the very end. The story is told from an innocent five year-old boy’s perspective; the innocence and naivety in which the story is told is disturbing because as an adult reader we can make the associations and know that what Jack is explaining is not normal and is cruel. Something about the mother’s name not being revealed until nearly halfway through the book was also heart-wrenching. You know this young woman (known as “Ma” throughout the majority of the book) is doing the best she can to raise her child in a hostile environment, all the while she attempts to deal with her own psychological trauma.

Donoghue does a fantastic job writing this book, making the reader have an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of their stomach yet craving to know what happens next; will this deprived mother and son ever have a chance at a normal life?

I highly recommend this book if you can stomach reading about rape, violence, child abuse, and kidnapping.


“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”

In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time…I don’t know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well…I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter all over the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there’s only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.”

“Everybody’s damaged by something.”

“People don’t always want to be with people. It gets tiring.

“[E]verywhere I’m looking at kids, adults mostly don’t seem to like them, not even the parents do. They call the kids gorgeous and so cute, they make the kids do the thing all over again so they can take a photo, but they don’t want to actually play with them, they’d rather drink coffee talking to other adults. Sometimes there’s a small kid crying and the Ma of it doesn’t even hear.”



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