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(ROOM)) by Donoghue,…

(ROOM)) by Donoghue, Emma(Author)Hardcover{Room} on 13-Sep-2010 (original 2010; edition 2010)

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7,387None471 (4.07)1 / 760
lisifer's review
Because this book is told from Jack's perspective, it isn't disturbing as some might believe, considering the content. I'd recommend it because it goes beyond the time frame you'd expect a book about a kidnapping to go - further than all the Dateline specials go. Without giving away what happens in the book, I would simply say the characters are believable and you feel empathetic towards them with all of the connections the author makes you feel. I read this book in 2 days but there were some parts where I simply and literally could NOT put the book down. I was late for a lunch date because I couldn't stop reading! ( )
  lisifer | Sep 2, 2011 |
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Idee is origineel en op zich goed uitgewerkt. Echter, na verloop van tijd gaat de vorm (peuter-taalgebruik) tegenstaan. Een aspect van het verhaal (eenmaal in buitenwereld is alles vreemd/nieuw/beangstigend voor de jongen) wordt naar mijn idee te veel gebruikt.
  jjpb | Apr 19, 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 |
This is an unusual novel and initially I wasn't too sure about it, but I quickly got sucked into the narrative. A novel told wholly from the perspective of a five year old boy is a risky proposition, but Jack's voice is extremely effective in getting across his perspective of having been brought up solely within the confines of one room - except that to him they are not confines as he knows nothing else except what he sees on TV which his Ma tells him is not real. The essential plot is straightforward and we later find out more about Jack and his Ma's small world and why they are in it. Once they emerge (though I didn't think the plot device by which they did so was very convincing), the second half of the novel is about how they become accustomed to Outside; for Jack there are some heart-rending comments about his yearning for Room as the only world he knows, while his Ma just wants to get on with picking up with the life she knew before Room. A simple novel in essence, this has a lot to say about how people's outlook on life is affected by their circumstances and how readjustment can be very difficult. The novel ends on a note of optimism about turning the corner and rebuilding their lives. Very moving story. ( )
  john257hopper | Apr 13, 2014 |
This is a really unique, very unsettling story. It will stick with you for a bit as you come to see the world through the eyes of this particular five year old. While some of it was hard to read, I enjoyed this book and found it different from anything else I've read. ( )
  KatieCarella | Apr 12, 2014 |
Wow, this book tells the story from the perspective of a little boy, going from 4 to 5, & his mother, imprisoned in an 11 x 11 room by the man who kidnapped her 7 years ago. Because it is written BY the child, the language & flow may be hard at first to put yourself into, but it is well worth the read as it outlines their eventual escape & rescue, & the adjustments they have to make to living outside in the world again, & for the boy, to be able to handle life outside the box he's grown up in. ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
Jack's 5 year old perspective, though clever, seemed contrived and didn't interest me and so I was left wanting.

( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
Jack's 5 year old perspective, though clever, seemed contrived and didn't interest me and so I was left wanting.

( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
A woman is taken captive at the age of 19 and held against her will in a small 11 x 11 garden shed. Her captor, Old Nick, has basically fortified the shed into a type of prison, keeping the woman as a sex slave. During her stay there, she gives birth to a boy, Jack. We're brought into the story at the point of Jack's 5th birthday as the woman and her son begin to formulate a plan to escape.

I'm not really sure what to say about this one. In all honesty, the writing really should have bothered me. In fact, when I started reading, I almost gave up immediately, I didn't think I could handle an entire book written through the viewpoint of a 5 year old. I carried on however, and I'm glad I did.

I told a co-worker I was reading this book and proceeded to explain the plot. We often exchange recommendations in regards to what we're currently reading and mine usually tend to be darker fiction. When I came to him with this recent purchase, he said "There must be something wrong with you. Why do you always pick the most depressing sounding books to read?". I didn't have an answer for him.

I wouldn't really classify this as a book that's going to leave me in a sorry state of depression after you're finished, if anything you may suffer a little heartbreak for the boy. During his years in "Room", he's basically told that nothing exists outside their small space, that the TV shows he watches are actually images of other planets. So when he's finally told that it was a lie, that other people exist outside of the shed, his head nearly explodes.

When I put the book down last night, I was pretty satisfied. The book took a pretty big turn about halfway through that I didn't quite expect, but it was for the best anyway. Even though I've read great things about it, I still ended up liking it more than I thought I would.

Cross posted @ Every Read Thing ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
Very poignant.

The writing style was remarkable really. It was written through the dialect of a five year old, and not only did it sound utterly convincing, it held the same traits of small children. The constant questions, the thinking before speaking and the constant wonder.

I was definitely astounded by the thought that went into this novel. Ma and Jack were in this truly horrendous situation, yet Donoghue thought of many different methods to help them mentally escape "Room".

It was very slow moving, but then again, I think that is what made the storyline so convincing, and almost real. ( )
  LaurenKathryn | Mar 31, 2014 |
Meet Jack. He's 5 today, and he celebrates with Ma in Room, where he has lived his entire life. This harrowing tale of long-term captivity and its effects is narrated flawlessly by Michal Friedman and Ellen Archer, who voice Jack and Ma with depth and feeling. The two additional narrators, Robert Petkoff and Suzanne Toren, deliver perfectly nuanced supporting characters. Told from Jack's perspective, the story recounts his and Ma's days in Room, where they're held hostage by Old Nick, and the planning of their Great Escape. Once it happens, however, assimilation into life outside proves to be less seamless than Ma anticipated. Friedman's Jack is winsome, lovable, and thoroughly credible. Expressing a 5-year-old's emotions amid subject matter like this is an enormous undertaking, and Friedman delivers. (Audiobook reviewed for AudioFile Magazine, 2010) ( )
  GlitterFem | Mar 29, 2014 |
This might be the best book I ever read. Certainly the best book I read this quarter, and maybe the best all year. From the moment I saw its description, I was too intrigued.

Room takes place in just that: a room. The entire novel revolves around a woman locked in this 12x12 space that she never leaves. Just that alone had me hooked -- what happened? Was there an apocalypse? Is this a survival story? How do you write an entire book that takes place in one room? Much less a book that keeps getting onto "best of the year" lists.

How do you keep that intriguing? How do you keep it from being claustrophobic torture porn? Answer: you make it from the POV of a five-year-old boy. Everything is fascinating to a five-year-old. (As the parent of one, I can attest to this.) And this boy has lived all of his life in "room". Every inch, every crack. Can you imagine what would happen if he ever got outside of it? Would it be like Tarzan? Would he just freak out? Would he need to be fostered?

Even though the walls never change, the reader is never bored. The novel is intense, psychological, full of horror and despair and optimism. I had to re-read the middle-of-the-book climax because I was so afraid of what was going to happen I was speed-reading. I never do that. Only once I found out, I had to go back and re-read it.

Sometimes I just had to stop reading altogether because it got too intense. Some of that probably comes from being a parent myself, and part of it from my own life. In college, I rarely left my dorm room. That year I spent without a roommate was one of the best of my life. I've often thought I might be happy if I could just live in a single room with just the computer and a bed, etc. But then, there's a difference when you get to choice versus no-choice, no matter what the contents of a room are.

Definitely read this book. ( )
  theWallflower | Mar 25, 2014 |
The most unique thing about this story was the voice of 5 year old Jack. ( )
  Laurie.Schultz | Mar 15, 2014 |
This one is more of a 3.5 stars book. I was blown away by the author's ability to write from the prospective of a unique 5-year-old. However, I had some issues with a few of the events in the book. A few of the mother's actions felt more like plot devices rather than being character-driven. ( )
  joyhclark | Mar 13, 2014 |
I have been reading this book for a couple of years, I know that sounds strange but I would read a few chapters then put it down for a few months. It's written from the point of view of a 5 year old boy which made it a little hard for me to stay interested. It ended up having an amazing ending though. This is a book about a boy and his mother that had been trapped in a shed, and the mother hatches a plan to have the child help them escape their captor. It turns out the mother was kidnapped as a teenager and gave birth to the child in the shed, It shows how the child (jack) had problems realizing things he was seeing once they escaped we're real and not just images on a television, and how he adjusted and his mother readjusted to the real world. Though I did love the ending of this book I am only doing 3 stars because it was very hard to stay interested in this book and finish it sooner. ( )
  amandafite | Mar 6, 2014 |
This is one of the best novels I have ever EVER read!!! I love it! I love how witty the writer is, how sneaky and funny she is! the cover and title drew me, I felt it would be an interesting must-read, and it is. I will not give out any spoilers! But this is an amazing read!!!!


This is the first book we've voted on and read in Bookoholics. It is one of my all-time favorite books, and I will tell you why.

The cover is very inviting, to me at least. I had no idea what to expect of this book, I just knew I HAD to read it. Now, if you don't want me to spoil the book for you, do not keep reading :)

Turns out, the author, Emma Donoghue, was very moved by the horrible true story of Joseph Fritzl who had locked his beautiful innocent daughter, Elizabeth, for 24 years, in a basement that he spend years building. He fathered her 7 seven children. It is a horrific story. I knew about it, but I had no idea that this novel is 'inspired' by that event.

'' To say Room is based on the Fritzl case is too strong, " Donoghue tells The Guardian. " i'd say it was triggered by it. The newspaper reports of Felix Fritzl [Elisabeth's son], aged five, emerging into a world he didn't know about, put the idea into my head. That notion of the wide-eyed child emerging into the world like a Martian coming to Earth: it seized me. "

The novel is narrated by Jack, a 5 years old lovely boy with long never-ever-cut before hair. He lives with Ma in a room, and old Nick comes in the night after beeping the door, makes Ma sad and makes the bed squeak. Jack lays in the closet, counts the squeaks and thinks about when is old Nick going to leave so that he can come out and maybe get some milk from Ma. Today is Jack's 5th birthday and Ma decides to tell him that there is a world outside, that the universe is big with stars and other people, no not the ones on TV, real like Jack and Ma. Their world is about to change, I will not tell you how :)

The narrator is Jack. Donoghue is a very smart writer, I am VERY impressed. 8 months after having read that book, it is my favorite so far of all the books we've read in the book club, and in my life altogether. It is very emotional, very gripping, unnerving, sad, real, draining, witty, and beautiful.

The author did her research and portrayed the 5 years old accurately. She also portrayed the mother in all the angst of separation anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and victim mentality.

I didn't want the book to end. I wanted to stay longer with the characters, a little longer. I am looking forward to reading her other books. She is one emotionally verbally genius writer. This book will always have a special place in my heart.

( )
  pathogenik | Mar 2, 2014 |
The plot is excellent and her storytelling is superb. It took me a while to get into the "point of view" of the novel. She could have worked more on character development but overall, her choice of subject matter and how she paints it is excellent. ( )
  Betty.Ann.Beam | Mar 1, 2014 |
Started to read this...and was not feeling it. I would like to go back and re-read at another time.
  dms02 | Feb 27, 2014 |
Quick read/addictive. I read in it in less than 12 hours. It takes a few chapters to get into the style of writing as it is written from a 5 year old's point of view. ( )
  leahsophia | Feb 25, 2014 |
Original....this book continued to grow on me after I finished reading it. Had to raise my rating a star. ( )
  m2snick | Feb 19, 2014 |
This book was really enjoyable and hard to put down. It was creatively written, fascinating, and had a great ending. I recommend it! ( )
  loewen | Feb 19, 2014 |
3.5 ( )
  Tinamonster | Feb 14, 2014 |
A haunting book which I have now read several times. Very well written and the description of the child's development both in and out of hte room are fascinating. ( )
  namaste374 | Feb 7, 2014 |
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