Book Review: Room


ashley | Room by Emma Donoghue has been on my radar for a long time, but it kept being pushed to the bottom of my TBR pile. I finally took a stance, though, and pulled it out because I kept seeing promos for the movie coming out and it looks really great, so it was about time I actually read it.

I had read that this was told primarily in the voice of five year old Jack, which kind of worried me. I thought it would be hard to warm up to and difficult to read, and while it is very much childish language, it flows easily as well and doesn’t take a lot of effort to make your way through.

The thing about this though is it doesn’t allow for much background information on the situation or thoughts from Ma. We are really only seeing and learning through the eyes of a five year old and frankly, that gets kind of old quick. The first part of the book is kind of slow as a result; we are basically just taking in the surroundings of Room and learning about Jack as Jack sees Jack.

[MAJOR SPOILERS] That said, what I think I liked best about this book was that it didn’t take the entire book for them to escape, so that kind of slow build did lead to a quick pay off not too far into things. The escape process was pretty quick and maybe a bit rushed over, but I liked that it happened around the middle of the book, so that we had the rest of the story to see how they adapted to the real world and had the opportunity to follow through with their captor.

It was interesting to read about their survival in the real world. About how Jack just wanted to go back to Room, not quite understanding what his reality was there. And how Ma was kind of judged for certain decisions she made in raising Jack, when she had such limited choices and opportunities. That complexity of life after Room was really the most interesting, to be able to see how people deal and cope and express.

This was ultimately an emotional read, obviously it’s a terrible situation and it’s powerful to see them overcome such a thing. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out on screen, from what I can tell it looks like a beautiful and powerful adaptation.


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