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Room by Emma Donoghue

Room (2010)

by Emma Donoghue

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,390625471 (4.07)1 / 760
2010 (72) 2011 (130) abduction (200) abuse (123) book club (67) booker prize shortlist (54) captivity (131) child narrator (67) childhood (75) children (41) contemporary (40) contemporary fiction (67) ebook (58) escape (57) family (92) fiction (770) isolation (58) kidnapping (253) Kindle (76) motherhood (41) mothers and sons (59) novel (91) psychology (69) rape (62) read (87) read in 2010 (59) read in 2011 (97) survival (67) suspense (70) to-read (164)
  1. 256
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (Anonymous user, bookwormjules)
    bookwormjules: The authors both get inside the head of the young narrator wonderfully, and make it believable.
  2. 92
    We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (Amsa1959)
    Amsa1959: The novel about Kevin is a much darker and sad story, but it it is about a special boy and his family, and it is a MUST READ novel. It is also - like Room - a novel that makes you think and reflect of our world and lives.
  3. 51
    Still Missing by Chevy Stevens (cafepithecus)
  4. 40
    A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard (mreader)
  5. 63
    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (Niecierpek)
    Niecierpek: We go through a serious and heart-breaking topic (9/11 in Foer's case) through a narration by a precocious child narrator in both books.
  6. 30
    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (soffitta1)
    soffitta1: What connects the books, for me, is the way the story unfolds, with the reader being more clued in as to what is happening around the child at the centre.
  7. 20
    Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock (amz310783)
  8. 31
    Misery by Stephen King (albavirtual)
    albavirtual: ambos libros tienen un alto componenente psicológico, la mente humana llevada al extremo.
  9. 20
    My Abandonment by Peter Rock (gaialover)
  10. 21
    Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (kaledrina)
  11. 00
    Y by Marjorie Celona (Iudita)
    Iudita: Another story about a troubled childhood, narrated by the child.
  12. 00
    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? by Henry Farrell (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: The terror of being at the mercy of an irrational, evil captor is effectively depicted in both books.
  13. 00
    House of Stairs by William Sleator (_Zoe_)
  14. 00
    Mice by Gordon Reece (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Bad things happening to mothers and their children
  15. 11
    Monster Love by Carol Topolski (tina1969)
  16. 01
    Dog boy by Eva Hornung (PatMock)
    PatMock: Young boy raised by wild dogs in Moscow.
  17. 01
    The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (_Zoe_)
    _Zoe_: These books are completely different in style; The Mysterious Howling is a lighthearted children's book while Room is more serious and intended for adults. But if you enjoy the theme of a child with an unusual background being reintegrated into society, you may appreciate both of these books.… (more)

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English (599)  Dutch (10)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Finnish (2)  French (1)  All languages (625)
Showing 1-5 of 599 (next | show all)
This book is similar in many ways to 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy. Both stories have an adult sharing knowledge of the world with child who has no direct knowledge of it. Both stories have goodness inexplicably prevailing in the heart of a child. There are many more...... ( )
  aklnbrg | Apr 20, 2014 |
Very compelling premise (a child born into captivity) and I devoured this very quickly. The degree to which you will enjoy it hinges partly on how believable you think the five year old narrator is. I found this a challenge at the start but it won me over overall due the unique context and the fact that the author focuses more on the emotional journey of child and mother than sensationalising the brutality involved. ( )
  Kirstie_Innes-Will | Apr 18, 2014 |
It didn't take me long to read this book. 24 hours. 1 day. But in that time I felt so utterly consumed by it I could think of nothing else. It made interacting with other people difficult because I couldn't explain how I was feeling, or why. It is haunting.

Jack just turned five years old. His entire world is contained in an eleven by eleven foot Room he lives in with his Ma. He knows nothing else, except for Old Nick who brings the groceries but he isn't allowed to see because Ma makes Jack stay in the wardrobe when Old Nick visits each night. Jack has no idea there is a whole wide world outside the Room.

This book is unputdownable but at the same time it can be hard to read. The subject matter is sensitive but Donoghue handles it with care, showing us how a life of confinement must feel for a child who doesn't know anything else. The world is a big and scary place at the best of times, let alone for a 5-year-old who never knew it existed. There is so much taken for granted everyday that Jack doesn't even understand. He is words- and numbers-smart but everything else he has to learn from scratch and he struggles to comprehend it with what he thinks he already knows. It is incredibly moving and at time's painful to read as he interprets the world around him and doesn't always like what he sees and wishes for the comfort of the Room he knew - something that hurts his Ma, who orchestrated their escape.

I know I shouldn't finish this review without mentioning the strength of Jack's Ma. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have the child of your rapist and I'm not going to pretend to. She did an incredible thing, raised her son to the best of her ability in her circumstances and then did everything she could to make sure he made it to 'the Outside', to give him the best chance she could. It wasn't too surprising that once she got outside she had a breakdown. She had endured for so long, what do you do once you break free of the person who kept you captive for so long? But I admire what she did for her child. I imagine Jack is what kept her going for all those years. All the pain and the suffering can be awful to read, but there is a sliver of hope present in the end, when Jack says his good-byes to his previous life, that makes you think everything will be okay in the end. ( )
  crashmyparty | Apr 17, 2014 |
Difficult to dredge the memory banks and come up with a book I liked even less than this one..............the biggest pile of mince I have had the sad misfortune to ever read ( )
  col2910 | Apr 17, 2014 |
Engrossing and captivating do not give Room any justice. They're quite limiting but they are the best I can do. Room is an absolute fantastic read. It's told from Jack's point of view. He recently turned 5. His Ma and Room are the only world he has ever known.

Jack's very smart for his age but is still only a kid. He is prone to temper tantrums and has a wonderous imagination. The slow realization is that his Ma had been kidnapped 7 years earlier by a man refer to as Old Nick. Room is actually an old garden shed behind the garage.When Ma finds out that Old Nick lost his job and that his house will go into foreclosure, she makes the decision to escape. What results is the most harrowing and tense experience.

I was afraid to read Room because I thought it was going to be to gimmicky and cutesy. Only because it was told from Jack's point of view. I thought he would be a little too smart for his own good but he wasn't. He was a cute brave kid. I loved this novel! ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 599 (next | show all)
Room is disturbing, thrilling, and emotionally compelling. Emma Donoghue has produced a novel that is sure to stay in the minds of readers for years to come.
added by lkernagh | editQuill & Quire, Dory Cerny (Oct 1, 2010)
This is a truly memorable novel, one that can be read through myriad lenses — psychological, sociological, political. It presents an utterly unique way to talk about love, all the while giving us a fresh, expansive eye on the world in which we live.
the book’s second half is less effective than its first. Perhaps this is inevitable given the changed circumstances of the protagonists. The walls that enclosed them also intensified their drama.
Wrenching, as befits the grim subject matter, but also tender, touching and at times unexpectedly funny.
added by Shortride | editKirkus Reviews (Aug 1, 2010)
Donoghue's great strength -- apart from her storytelling gift -- is her emotional intelligence. We get just enough information to feel uncomfortable -- and therefore, to question our assumptions about how family life ought to be; and to know that life will always be an unequal struggle.

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emma Donoghueprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Borówka, EwaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buhl, VirginieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glasnovik, NegicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gontermann, ArminTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güven, Gül ÇağalıTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gundersen, Inge UlrikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Javādī, MuḥamadTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mejak, TeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rocca, Chiara SpallinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smits, ManonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
So-yŏng, YuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrescasana, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vázquez Nacarino, EugeniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volhejnová, VeronikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zhang, DingqiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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My Child

Such trouble I have.

And you sleep, your heart is placid;

you dream in the joyless wood;

in the night nailed in bronze,

in the blue dark you lie still and shine.

Simonides (C. 556-468 BCE), "Danae" (tr. Richmond Lattimore)
Room is for Finn & Una, my best works.
First words
Today I'm five.
In Room I was safe and Outside is the scary.
In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time. Even Grandma often says that, but she and Steppa don't have jobs, so I don't know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well. In Room me and Ma had time for everything. I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter all over the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there's only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
The entire story told from the perspective of a 5 year old little boy. Room is his entire world. Where he was born & grew up. It's where he lives with his Ma as they learn & read & eat & sleep & 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, & 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 & a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316098337, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: In many ways, Jack is a typical 5-year-old. He likes to read books, watch TV, and play games with his Ma. But Jack is different in a big way--he has lived his entire life in a single room, sharing the tiny space with only his mother and an unnerving nighttime visitor known as Old Nick. For Jack, Room is the only world he knows, but for Ma, it is a prison in which she has tried to craft a normal life for her son. When their insular world suddenly expands beyond the confines of their four walls, the consequences are piercing and extraordinary. Despite its profoundly disturbing premise, Emma Donoghue's Room is rife with moments of hope and beauty, and the dogged determination to live, even in the most desolate circumstances. A stunning and original novel of survival in captivity, readers who enter Room will leave staggered, as though, like Jack, they are seeing the world for the very first time. --Lynette Mong

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Narrator Jack and his mother, who was kidnapped seven years earlier when she was a 19-year-old college student, celebrate his fifth birthday. They live in a tiny, 11-foot-square soundproofed cell in a converted shed in the kidnapper's yard. The sociopath, whom Jack has dubbed Old Nick, visits at night, grudgingly doling out food and supplies. But Ma, as Jack calls her, proves to be resilient and resourceful--and attempts a nail-biting escape.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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