I recently read a review of the book Room by Emma Donoghue and was intrigued. I picked it up several weeks later and was so glad that I did. I read this book in two days. I could not put it down once I got into the story.
Room is the story of 5 year old Jack who has lived in an 11 x 11 room with his mother his entire life. The only other person Jack knows is Old Nick, a night time visitor he’s not allowed to see or speak to. Against all odds Jack seems to be a typical 5 year old; he watches cartoons on TV, reads books, plays games with his mom, and sings songs. If he’s good he even gets a Sunday treat.
Jack loves his time in Room and talks about all the things he has to do all day long. His days are full of activities that Ma has set up for the two of them. In contrast, Ma feels the walls of Room closing in on her and she begins feeling the need to escape.
It’s amazing to see the environment Ma has created for Jack. There is a daily schedule of activities that include fun, learning, and survival. Lunch and dinner are at the same time everyday. The pair washes their clothing once a week and takes a bath on the scheduled day. Jack lives by his daily routine.
Shortly after his 5th birthday Ma begins to plan an escape. Before they can make a getaway Ma first tells Jack of the outside world but he doesn’t believe anything she’s telling him. To him Room IS the world.
After a series of heroic events on Jack’s part, Ma and Jack are free of the 11 x 11 Room. However, once outside the 4 walls that have contained them for so many years there are many consequences that no one could have foreseen. Life outside is considerably different then life in Room.
While this novel has a very disturbing premise it is also filled with love, hope, and determination. It’s a beautifully written story told in the voice of a child stuck in captivity. The book sucked me in and made me think of my own life and how lucky I am.
I give this book 4 ½ out of 5 stars.
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