Saturday, November 26, 2011


by Emma Donogue
May 17 - 28, 2011

Room: A NovelWow. What a book. Told from the point of view of a 5-year old boy; it took me a few chapters to get used to his language. But once I acclimated, I flew through this one.

Jack knows nothing but the Room he has lived in with his mother since the day he was born. Jack's perspective is that of a vast, yet cozy home he shares exclusively with Ma. To Ma, Room is a prison in which she has been held captive for years. Despite it all, Ma still tries to make life as normal as possible for her son. Unfortunately, Old Nick's nightly visits are a harsh reminder of their true reality.

The overall premise and lives of the protagonists is truly disturbing, but somehow, when narrated by a little boy, it works. The first few chapters were excruciating as I learned more and more of their situation and Jack's definition of "normal." Halfway through, I was routing for their rescue; followed by a disbelief that the story could in any way end well. Donogue does a fantastic job keeping the reader guessing and wholly intrigued. Her prose was poetic and profound ... the kind you continue to think about long after the last page is turned. I found this line to be particularly striking:

"It's what we believe about ourselves that determines how others see us."

So true, right? Upon their escape (no, that's not a spoiler; you know it's going to happen), Jack makes a statement that proves he is truly a wise, old soul.

"Her laughter was a wondrous, liquid thing that splashed across my face, over the toes of my shoes, and into the grass."

While Room was released in September 2010 and I may be a little late with my review, if you haven't read it, make sure it immediately gets on your list.

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