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Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

Room: A Novel (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Emma Donoghue

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,393798315 (4.05)1 / 883
Title:Room: A Novel
Authors:Emma Donoghue
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2012), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read, Fiction, Child Abuse, Crime, Kidnapping, Psychology, Sexual Abuse, Thriller, Unreliable Narrator

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. 113
    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. 60
    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 (771)  Dutch (10)  Spanish (5)  German (5)  Danish (2)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  English (798)
Showing 1-5 of 771 (next | show all)
I wish I written a longer review when I still remembered all my thoughts about this book. The short version: This book is so well done. It's easy to read, impossible to put down (I finally forced myself to sleep at 2 a.m. with an exam the next day), and I kept thinking about it for days and weeks after I finished it. It's intense but not drowningly so, and it feels very real and relevant.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
I may not be the best judge of this book. Anyone who knows anything about my reading preferences knows that after I had my first baby I started to avoid all books about sick, abducted, mistreated, murdered, or injured children. Add to that the fact that I've never really found an Emma Donoghue book that worked for me. So I wasn't excited about reading this one.

Now that I've read it, I will say that I didn't find the novel's conceit as upsetting as I might have--largely, I think, because the boy at the center of this book is mostly shown to be well-cared-for by his adoring mother, albeit in an extremely limiting environment. I'm not sure what I think about the book as a novel, though. It was very compelling reading, especially the central section, which nearly made me late for work yesterday morning. And I thought that first-person five-year-old perspective was pretty well-handled--striking a nice balance between plausibility and interest. Those are the reasons I gave it four stars. [Which I later ratcheted down to three, because four seemed like overkill no matter how late I almost was.:]

On the other hand, the book left me feeling queasy in a way I think the author didn't intend. We've all heard about the Fritzl case and the Dugard case, and everyone has wondered what life must have been like for the young women who were living alone in tiny locked rooms for years and years. The problem I have with this book is that all it seems to do is feed that wonder, to draw us a picture of what life might have been like. It's a detailed, realistic picture. But it doesn't add anything. There's no new insight, no fresh perspective, and so when I finished the book I felt almost voyeuristic, as if I had just watched a very long episode of Inside Edition or a two-part Lifetime movie. I wonder if this might have been better told through the eyes of the mother, who is an intelligent, thoughtful adult with little to do other than reflect on her experience. We would lose the well-rendered voice of the boy, but we might gain a more insightful and meaningful novel. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
Pieces of this book will continue to haunt me. Everytime my daughter says "no way Jose" or when I see a home improvement show on tv. I don't think it is because the story is probable- it is based on a true story, but because I know people are suffering in the hands of cruel people all the time. Majority of them are innocent kids. The way this child was throughout the book- happy with the little space he has, happy to be with mom, happy to play with cereal boxes. The minimalist ways of kids... How people can become oblivious to their innocence? How can they hurt them? I will never understand. ( )
  soontobefree | Nov 2, 2016 |
One of my fellow MA English students praised this book whilst our tutor declared his dislike for it. I therefore thought I’d see what it’s like for myself.

I like the novelty of having a five-year-old boy narrating. The reader sees the world through his eyes. Limited to a small room and it’s few contents, young Jack applies his imagination differently to regular children. Not only is a jeep a toy, but its remote control is also considered as one.

Lamp, Rug, Door, etc., are all spoken of as if real, such is the lack of typical childhood distractions.

When Jack and his ma finally leave Room he has to accustom himself to the outside world. How he sees and reacts to things we take for granted makes for an interesting and at times amusing read.

While his ma wants to forget everything associated with Room, Jack misses it and the likes of Rug and Lamp. I could relate to elements of this, remembering my early childhood when I got upset at sudden changes.

The overall plot is unusual yet believable. I’m impressed with the author’s skills for making Jack’s world so vivid and unique.

In short, “Room” is original, engaging, and the child’s narrative is expertly crafted. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Oct 27, 2016 |
I have mixed feelings about this book, but I guess it's not in a bad way. For me, the first 100 or so pages didn't intrigue me much, but I continued because I had read from a site that apparently, this book was good.

Jack is a five year old boy stuck in a single, locked room with his Ma. Literally. Everything from their toilet, bath, kitchen, living room and bedroom are quite literally in the same space. The book was written entirely in Jack's perspective. For his age though, his vocabulary could easily rival a 7 or 8 year old, and his thinking is can be so mature beyond his age that sometimes, I forget he's only 5.

Throughout the book, there were many instances where I admit that I got a bit annoyed with Jack's reactions (being a grammar nazi, certain things he said, or rather; the way he put some words together, made my eye twitch a little...- I know he's supposed to be a kid and it's written in his point of view, but... I guess I wasn't used to reading books that way). But then I had to remind myself that Jack was a toddler who had lived his life in the confined room, believing that anything outside of the four walls were not real. Like when he was afraid of the wind and rain, I had to remind myself that he was experiencing all of this for the first time in his life, and how scary it had to be in itself, no less for a toddler.

However, I thought their escape had been a little too easy and short. To be stuck for that long in Room, I'd have expected a more careful and very well thought-out plan.

Final verdict of the book is that I don't hate it, but I don't exactly LOVE it either. To be frank, it's 'just another book' for me. ( )
  KrystleLow | Oct 27, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 771 (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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