Author: Emma Donoghue
Release Date: September 13, 2010
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Voice Actor: Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Suzanne Toren, Robert Petkoff
Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee (2010), Orange Prize Nominee for Fiction Shortlist (2011), ALA Alex Award (2011), Indies Choice Book Award for Fiction (2011), Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Award for Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year (2010)
Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2014), Galaxy National Book Award for WHSmith Paperback of the Year (2011), Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Caribbean and Canada (2011), Trillium Book Award Nominee for English-language (2011), Goodreads Choice for Fiction, Nominee for Favorite Heroine (2010), Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (2010), OLA Evergreen Award (2011)
Finished Reading: November 11, 2014
About: “It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. There are endless wonders that let loose Jack’s imagination – the snake under Bed that he constructs out of eggshells, the imaginary world projected through the TV, the coziness of Wardrobe below Ma’s clothes where she tucks him safely at night in case Old Nick comes.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held since she was nineteen – for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in that eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But Jack’s curiosity is building alongside her own desperation – and she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.
Told in the poignant and funny voice of Jack, Room is a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child, it is a shocking, exhilarating, and riveting novel – but always deeply human and always moving. Room is a place you will never forget.”
I picked this one up because I’ve talked about Frog Music, Donoghue’s other novel, and every time… someone asks if I’ve read Room. When I tell them I haven’t, I got the same response every time. Well, I absolutely need to do it as an audiobook. It’s told by a child.
This seemed pretty gimmicky to me, sorry Donoghue. I wasn’t super impressed with Frog Music, so I was a little hesitant. It wasn’t at the top of my list, but I got to it eventually (obviously).
This story is brilliant. Ma is a wonderfully strong, yet flawed character. She makes do with what she can and tries her best to keep Jack protected from Old Nick and the big, scary world.
It’s usually easier for me to talk about the things I didn’t like, so I’ll go through that first. Jack grew up with very little. For growing up with so little, I wouldn’t think he would be so damn picky. Jack really annoyed me much of the time. I’m not sure if it was because I was really invested in the story or if I really just was not a fan of this character. I was quite frustrated during their attempts of escape. Maybe it was the parenting but he had quite a few freak outs. Maybe that really is how someone who has been raised in one room would react, but he was really snotty and I wasn’t a huge fan of him. He was also way too clingy. Again, I’m sure this has to do with psychological issues of being raised on one little room. But he disgusted me with the tooth. You’ll know what I mean, if you’ve read it. (I can’t believe no one has seen this and made him stop immediately.) He broke a lamp because he didn’t get his way. Now, if I was in that situation, Jack would’ve gotten more than just the stepford mother response of just having Ma clean it while Jack runs off dramatically. Ma is also insanely attached and, trying not to give anything away, nourishes Jack in a way that should’ve stopped a long-ass time ago – regardless of being in one room or not. Just… no. It didn’t shock me, like I think Donoghue was going for – it just disgusted me. When Ma was getting actual help, she was sooo defensive and it really turned me off.
I wonder how much research Donoghue did for this novel. There is a lot going on with both main characters psychologically. I wonder if their reactions are apropos for their situation. Jack constantly counts his teeth and has a fixation, however minor, on the number five. I’m just wondering if it’s because he turned five or if it’s something more serious than that. There were times when I would have liked to know Ma’s side of the story more. Hearing from Jack went a little slow at times, and I got all kinds of antsy.
My rating and why: I gave this book 3.5/4 stars. I did like it, even though I just ripped it apart above. I’m very into psychological books and anything to do with the mind. It just fascinates me. I had previously read Sybil, a true story about a woman with 16 personalities, so this book is right up my alley with the mentality and possible damage it has done to these two. With the limited knowledge coming from the point of view of the child, I sometimes wanted the perspective of an adult or the awareness of an adult.
Have you read this book? Have you read anything like this book? What do you think about Donoghue’s writing? Let me know in the comments below! Like. Comment. Follow. New review to come tomorrow.
Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!