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Room : a novel by Emma Donoghue

Room : a novel (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Emma Donoghue

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7,929657413 (4.06)1 / 805
Title:Room : a novel
Authors:Emma Donoghue
Info:New York : Back Bay Books, c2011.
Collections:Your library, Reviewed
Tags:2012, local 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. 93
    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 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.
  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. 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 (631)  Dutch (10)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Finnish (2)  French (1)  All languages (657)
Showing 1-5 of 631 (next | show all)
The story starts off on Jack's 5th birthday, who lives with Ma and is looked "after" by Old Nick. Jack and Ma live in a tiny, 11-foot-square soundproofed cell in a converted shed in the kidnapper's yard that Jack calls Room and it is all Jack knows of the world. Room does have the necessary amenities needed in life and the screen on the T.V. is imaginary pictures. Jack has no idea that there is a real world beyond Room.
What was a great kick for me was how Jack used proper nouns on inanimate objects as he narrated this story.
Ma was abducted seven years prior by Old Nick at the age of 19 and had a baby before Jack arrived in this world. The baby, a girl, had died from the umbilical cord which was wrapped around her neck during the birth. Then came Jack.
About a week after Jack's birthday Ma finds out that Old Nick isn't working anymore and believes things will become a lot worse now and decides that she and Jack need to escape. After Old Nick had broke her wrist before during an attempted escape and Jack startling Old Nick one night causing him to shut the power off for several days, Ma tells Jack that the images he sees on the T.V. are actually real, and naturally, Jack finds it hard to believe.
They devise a plan - she fakes Jack having a fever and diarrhea and that night she demands that Old Nick take Jack to a hospital. Old Nick refuses because he is afraid that the boy will inform the authorities about Room. So, plan B - Ma and Jack rehearse an escape plan, Jack will die. Jack will be rolled up in Rug and when Old Nick gets there he will see that Ma has prepared him to be taken away. Then when the truck slows in traffic or stops at a traffic light, Jack will squeeze out from Rug and jump down from the truck and run for help. That night Jack has "died" and is rolled up in Rug and Old Nick will take him to some remote spot and dump him.
Things go according to plan and when Jack jumps off the truck just a few blocks from Room, Old Nick pursues him. A passer-by sees what is going on and rescues Jack and calls the police. The police arrive and after having a bit of communication problem with Jack they do find Ma and she is rescued. Old Nick is arrested and faces some serious time - like life!
Ma and Jack are taken to a mental hospital and get medical TLC. Now you could imagine being kidnapped for seven years things change. Ma finds out that her parents are now divorced and her older brother is married and has a child of his own. The media gets wind of what is going on and this story gets national attention. Everything is going like a hundred miles an hour for Ma and she has a mental breakdown and tries to commit suicide. Jack goes to live with Grandma and her new partner in life and things are hard on Jack. New things, new surroundings, new life for a five year old where everything he sees he had thought were make believe.
Ma and Jack do get back together and start living at this independent living facility where Jack has his own room and slowly starts to accept life as it is happening around him. But being in Room all his life Jack has this attachment to it as one could understand. He needs to go back and see it, if at anything, for one last time. And he does. And you gotta smile to yourself when you read that Room does not have the same thing for Jack as he thought it would. He can finally close Door on Room once and for all.
(and please do NOT read it) what made the whole book, for me, was the very last word. ( )
  Buttonholed | Dec 21, 2014 |
This is a remarkable book! It is the story of a young woman who is abducted at 19 and imprisoned in an 11x11 room by a stranger. There she gives birth to her son Jack, who is five when the novel begins. The sotry is told from the boy's point of view, which is shaped not only by his young age but by the fact that he has absolutely no experience of the outside world. In the face of their terrible circumstances, Ma dedicates herself to raising her son as well as she possibly can, engaging him in creative play and educating him within the narrow limitations of their Room. This is often a heart-rending story, yet beautiful and insightful. Don't be put off by the bizarre circumstances - it is an excellent read. ( )
  bookfest | Dec 21, 2014 |
Just finished it. I was slow to pick it up, as I have had the hardback for a while. But I read it in three days. The childs voice sounded authentic to me, I think those people who find the voice false, appear to be under the impression that 5 year boys must be incredibly stupid. On the whole they are not. I agree with most of the mini-reviews on the jacket. I loved it. ( )
  Urthwild | Nov 30, 2014 |
Just finished it. I was slow to pick it up, as I have had the hardback for a while. But I read it in three days. The childs voice sounded authentic to me, I think those people who find the voice false, appear to be under the impression that 5 year boys must be incredibly stupid. On the whole they are not. I agree with most of the mini-reviews on the jacket. I loved it. ( )
  Urthwild | Nov 30, 2014 |
Just finished it. I was slow to pick it up, as I have had the hardback for a while. But I read it in three days. The childs voice sounded authentic to me, I think those people who find the voice false, appear to be under the impression that 5 year boys must be incredibly stupid. On the whole they are not. I agree with most of the mini-reviews on the jacket. I loved it. ( )
  Urthwild | Nov 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 631 (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 (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emma Donoghueprimary 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 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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