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Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

Room: A Novel (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Emma Donoghue

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9,257789323 (4.05)1 / 873
Title:Room: A Novel
Authors:Emma Donoghue
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Book Club

Work details

Room by Emma Donoghue (2010)

  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. 103
    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. 50
    A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard (mreader)
  4. 51
    Still Missing by Chevy Stevens (cafepithecus)
  5. 41
    Misery by Stephen King (albavirtual)
    albavirtual: ambos libros tienen un alto componenente psicológico, la mente humana llevada al extremo.
  6. 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.
  7. 30
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 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.
  8. 20
    Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock (amz310783)
  9. 20
    My Abandonment by Peter Rock (gaialover)
  10. 21
    Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (kaledrina)
  11. 11
    Dog Boy by Eva Hornung (PatMock)
    PatMock: Young boy raised by wild dogs in Moscow.
  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
    Descent by Tim Johnston (KatyBee)
  14. 00
    Y by Marjorie Celona (Iudita)
    Iudita: Another story about a troubled childhood, narrated by the child.
  15. 00
    Mice by Gordon Reece (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Bad things happening to mothers and their children
  16. 00
    House of Stairs by William Sleator (_Zoe_)
  17. 11
    Monster Love by Carol Topolski (tina1969)
  18. 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 (761)  Dutch (10)  Spanish (5)  German (5)  Danish (2)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  All languages (788)
Showing 1-5 of 761 (next | show all)
Room is a harrowing story narrated by our Mr. Five, the superhero named Jack. The reader is brought into his world from the first and I was impressed by Donoghue's ability to walk the fine line of having a five year old as a narrator. Though narration by a child is not something everyone enjoys, I found that it added a very poignant layer to the story and drew me closer in to its events.

I have to say that I held off on reading Room because I wasn't sure what I would be in store for. My immediate associations with this book consisted of childhood trauma, abduction, and the bare bones I'd seen concerning various stories in the news. I was worried it would sensationalize the real life horrors of such a situation at the behest of intrigue or that it would flop to the opposite side of the spectrum, that shards of callous indifference would be thinly veiled from cover to cover - cutting and diminishing with each page.

For this reason I ended up passing on previous group reads that featured Room, unable to make up my mind concerning whether it would be worth the read or not. However, I spotted it while I was browsing at the library and picked it up. I'm glad I did.

For one, I'm glad it was this version because there is an excellent interview with Emma Donoghue at the back in which she goes into the depths of this project. I enjoyed reading it immensely because there are certainly a lot of layers to this work and a lot of literary representation/allusions. Secondly, it pulled at me. Donoghue opens up a window of pretty intense vulnerability with Jack's translation of the world around him and I liked that there were two distinct parts of the book that each give us insight into the other while also standing firmly within their own vibe, their own purpose.

That being said, it wasn't an easy read. Emotionally, that is. We live in a society that is largely numb (though so much better than former times) to the results of rape, the magnitude of a situation like this. We are deluged by such matters, whether it is being bandied about by idiotic comedians who think they've found a "new" edge, sensationalized by some news outlet, or it's just the next primetime show's plot arc. The voice of Donoghue's JackerJack certainly has the ability to cut through a large part of that societal numbness but vulnerability and true empathy are never easy things.

I think Donoghue put a lot into this book and I think it's a pretty important book. I think it's enjoyable in its sincerity and the closeness between Ma and Jack while being devastating at the same time. I think Room will be a small weight on my heart for a long time. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
I was wary of reading this since reading Frog Music and not liking it much, but Room is vastly different. What makes it so heartwrenching and hard to put down is the fact that it is told entirely from Jack's perspective. It's not often a book of this kind unfolds through the eyes of a child and I found it absolutely heartbreaking and wonderful. ( )
  EllAreBee | Sep 19, 2016 |
The true heart of this story is the bond between mother and child.

I purchased a copy of Room years ago and let it sit on my shelf because I was under the impression that it would be a harrowing, brutal, deeply disturbing read. Had I known then that it was told from the five-year-old son's POV, I would've read it as soon as I'd bought it. Seen through Jack's eyes, the horror is blurred; as an adult, I know what's going on, what's happening to Ma, it's just not a graphic slap in the face like in other bestselling "thrillers." For that reason, I was somewhat removed from the disturbing reality behind the story. Stepping into Jack's shoes was a bit rough at first, not because he anthropomorphized everything in Room, but because I had to acclimate to seeing and feeling and reacting how a small child would. That POV was both refreshing and exhausting, and probably the most unique aspect of this book.

4 stars ( )
  flying_monkeys | Sep 6, 2016 |
Chilling and moving and so hard to read, but very worth it. When I reached the end of this book I wanted more, which is probably a sign that the book ended where it should have. ( )
  duchessjlh | Sep 5, 2016 |
Hauntingly beautiful. I listened to the audiobook of this and Michal Friedman did an AMAZING job voicing 5-year-old Jack, the narrator. I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed the book as much if I read it instead of listening to the full cast recording. All of them really did a great job. ( )
  mleivers | Aug 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 761 (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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Donoghue, Emmaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Archer, EllenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borówka, EwaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buhl, VirginieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Friedman, MichalNarratorsecondary 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
Petkoff, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rocca, Chiara SpallinoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smits, ManonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
So-yŏng, YuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:24 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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