Room – Emma Donoghue

First of all let me say, everyone says this is a “read in one sitting” kind of book. They are not wrong. Ensure you have ample time to devote yourself to this book before starting it. I made the mistake of starting this book when I did not have that luxury. In fact, every single time I picked this book up I was limited in some way so it took me an agonising few days to get through this book. Room is about Jack. Jack just turned five. He lives in Room with his mother. Sometimes she is visited at night by old Nick. This is why he must sleep in Wardrobe. Room is the harrowing tale of an imprisoned pair through the eyes of an innocent child who doesn’t quite understand what he is missing out on outside Room with the door that beeps.


This book really goes to show just how your mood can affect your opinions of things. The first time I attempted to read this book I just couldn’t get into it. I found the language difficult and only a few chapters in I was struggling to continue. The next time I picked it up for a second try I understood what all the fuss was about and could not put it down. This is an extremely fast paced read that has the reader on the edge of their seat from about 100 pages in and keeps them going right up until the end. This story will creep you out. It makes you realise just how easy it is for something like this to happen and you can understand just how the kidnapped women you see on the news suffered at the hands of their tormentors.


What kept this novel from being utterly depressing was how it was written from the eyes of young Jack. Having been born in this room and only having encountered his mother this world is not at all strange to Jack and everything is normal. This is how the world is. Table, Bath, Wardrobe, they are all animated objects in his life. Forrest are TV, dogs are TV, none of these things exist outside of Room, they are simply in the TV. Donoghue shows real insight into how a child mind works and her narration is fascinating. What is even more skilful is how she masters Jacks transitions from Room into the real world. She really thinks over everything and provides an astute picture of not only learning about a whole new world, but how the media and other people can shape their experiences, portray situations in ways that suit them with no thought to those it affects.


Donoghue writes some great characters. Not just Jack and ma, who are vivid and memorable in their world for two but her family outside. Steppa, Paul, the doctors and nurses are all vivid characters that help shape the world outside for young Jack trying to get a grasp on so many new experiences and concepts. I would highly recommend picking up Room. This novel is unlike anything I have read before and I am unlikely to forget it any time soon. I give Room four of Jack’s crayons.


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