Monday, October 18, 2010

Book Review - Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

Title: Room: A Novel
Author: Emma Donoghue
Year: 2010
Page: 321
Genre: Fiction

New to me author? Yes
Read this author again? Probably
Tearjerker? No
Where did it take place? ?
FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It's where he was born, where he and his Ma eat and play and learn. At night, Ma puts him safely to sleep in the wardrobe, in case Old Nick comes.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she's been held for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for her son. But Jack's curiosity is building alongside Ma's desperation -- and she knows Room cannot contain either indefinitely. ...

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

First Sentence:
1st - Today I'm five.  

Why did I pick this book?
Heard lots of good things about it from blogsphere. I think it got nominated from some type of award too (sorry I don't follow all the awards closely... I don't choose my books base on the shortlist or winners...) The storyline sounds promising.

My thoughts:
  • First thought after I was done - it reminded me of Still Missing: A Novel by Chevy Stevens. Except, this book was told by a 5 years-old (Jack), instead of a 32 years-old. And I guess since this was told from a young boy's perspective, it made the events more chilling, given his innocence (e.g. not understanding what's really happening, while we, only know too well)
  • Jack, seemed way more mature than a 5 years-old, using vocabularies that I didn't think 5 years-old would use, especially given the fact that his mum was 19 when she was kidnapped. However, I don't have any kids, so who knows. Maybe kids nowadays mature way faster than I ever was :)
  •  I was impressed with the games Jack's mum came up with to help Jack's development. Who needs toys? :)
  • This is definitely a character driven novel, not a plot-driven one. So, definitely not a thriller - there is not a whole not happening... another similarity to Still Missing, is the lack of the kidnapper's perspective.
  • There was also something "Ma" did near the end of the book that I couldn't quite comprehend why she did what she did. But I guess for those who were went through what she did, who knows exactly how they'd feel
  • {{{SPOILER}}} The storyline definitely reminded me of similar imprisonment cases in recent years (e.g. girls who got kidnapped then later found alive, often with kids fathered by the kidnapper). I guess it made this book more realistic? If any memoir come out from these real-life crimes, I'd definitely read them {{{ End Spoiler}}} In fact, the author listed some of the research she did in this article and it's quite fascinating. In particular, she researched on feral children. How heartbreaking. I didn't know there is such a term as feral children...
  • I found this quote by Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) that really summed up how I felt about Room: "Room is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up; the world looks the same, but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days."
  • I gave this 4 stars. Probably would have been higher if we got to hear a bit more from Ma or the kidnapper - more of a plot rather than just characters. But maybe that's asking too much since that'd be my ideal book, rather than what the author wanted to write.


    {{{SPOILER}}} When I was four I thought everything in TV was just TV, then I was five and Ma unlied about lots of it being pictures of real and Outside being totally real. Now I'm in Outside but it turns out lots of it isn't real at all. (p277)

    Rating: 4 Stars

    Have you read this book? 
    If you have, I would love to hear what you think! I'll link your review here if you wish!

    100+ Reading


    1. Hmmmm, why do I not want to read this now :-} why, because Still Missing was one of my least fav of the year and after reading Time Travelers Wife not sure if I would take a recommendation from her.

      Great review, you are one of my trusted reviewers so I don't think I will read this one, it would be because of the hype.

      Have a great week.

    2. Love love love this book. Very interesting to read what Niffenegger thought!

    3. @Marce - I do like Room a bit better than Still Missing. But knowing your preference, I think you'd probably think this is just okay. Perhaps you can see if you can find a free sample chapter to read online first? I'd say throughout the book it's pretty consistent, so if you don't like the first couple of chapters, you'd probably not like the rest. While I thought the Time Traveler's Wife was just okay, her comment did resonate with me. Thank you for calling me your trusted reviewer! What a compliment coming from you!

      @reviewsbylola - I'm glad you like it so much! I think regardless of what our preference are, it's so exciting to find a book that really speaks to you!