Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Photo taken from Goodreads

 Book Info

Title:  Room 

Author:  Emma Donoghue
Publisher:  Little, Brown and Company 
Language: English
Format:  Mass Market Paperback 
Pages:  496 pages
ISBN-10:  031612057X
ISBN-13:  978-0316120579
Source:  Gift


From 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.


Ever wondered what goes on inside a child's head?  In this book by really awesome author Emma Donoghue, she takes us on a journey inside young Jack's mind as he and Ma goes through their lives inside Room:  Jack was born inside Room.  The only people he's ever known are Ma and Old Nick - whom his Ma dislikes and who only visits them at night, when he is safely tucked away inside Wardrobe to sleep.

Just reading the blurb at the back of this book would probably arouse the curiosity in every person, with this question possibly asked a million more times than others:  How did they get in Room in the first place, and would they ever get out?  I am not going to answer that - you have to find out for yourself - but what strikes me most is the way Jack acts, thinks, and evolves in the story.  It is unusual to read such graphic depiction of the way a child thinks, speaks, and feels.  Donoghue has certainly done her homework in bringing to life a very believable young main character/narrator.  From his point of view, you get to know about Ma, Old Nick, and his life inside Room that is described very vividly through disjointed childish language and innocent wonder.  His storytelling will remind readers of their young nieces or nephews who tell stories of mundane happenings that sound like fantastic adventures.  I would have expected a more traumatized Jack to appear within the pages, but what I saw was a Jack who grew up in a very isolated environment with his mother and has come to accept that Room is the whole world.

I also had to hand it over to Ma, who managed to raise Jack in such fearful and lonely circumstances creatively, even able to teach Jack to read and write and do Math with such ease as an older child.

That this book received such attention from the whole book world is not really a surprise because of the way this book was written, and how the characters were created.  It's so realistic and  frightening, but it was presented in such a childish way that the shock of Jack's and Ma's experience is not fully absorbed until the whole story unravels and even at some levels, becomes so fascinating and surreal.  It's funny, amazing, and scary at the same time. 

And the book cover?  AMAZING.  The scribble in a child's hand really gives this distinct feel like it's really Jack who wrote this book and not Donoghue.  Just looking at the book cover already sets the mood for some intense no-putting-down-this-book reading session.

I would like to pronounce this book a must-read for every human being who breathes air and knows how to read.  This should be up there with the likes of To Kill A Mockingbird, The Catcher In the Rye, among others.


If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way. 

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  


  1. Excellent review Nina. I'm loving the fact that this book is told from Jack's perspective. Your review makes me want to get my own copy. :) Great job!


  2. Oh, it reminds me of a book I read a while ago: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, the main character is also a young boy. It's a very cute story but with deep meaning.

  3. I think this book looks great but I'm waiting awhile to read it. I've heard almost entirely great things about it and don't want to be let down when I do pick it up.

  4. Wow, your appetite for reading and the benign diction of your writing are quite fortifying. Found you on my poor ole blog: Pinoy Book Reviews, which I haven't updated for a long time. But that doesn't mean I'm a bad blogger, not keeping his divine call to blogging and feeding the beast that is the internet. Anyways, you can find me in Whatever Works. Just want to connect with fellow acolytes of the World of Awesome.

  5. Nina, That statement is pretty intense! I can breath and read and I loved To Kill A Mockingbird, so if you think it is that good, I will have to give it a try. Thanks.

  6. Wow, thanks for sharing! This looks like a touching read! I really admire an author who can get in to a small childs mind, it's harder than it seems sometimes! Great review :)

  7. Nina - I think your vote sways my decision. I'm going to read this one. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  8. I've seen this book a while ago while browsing blogs...and after reding your review..I think I want to read this book, too!
    Ah! you hve such influence...:-)
    God bless your heart!

  9. Wow. Amazing! That you compared it to other such great classics really speaks of how highly you thought of this book! I hope I can get to it soon!


I just have to tell you, ARGH feeds on awesomeness, so if you can, drop him some awesome here, and I promise to give some awesome back :D

Right now, because of my really busy schedule, I'm cutting back on receiving awards. So until further notice, me and ARGH would not be accepting awards. But thank you for thinking of us, we really appreciate it!