Book Review: “Room” by Emma Donoghue

Rating: 5/5

Review: I finished this book today. It’s not often that a book can move me so much that it changes my perspective of the world. The last book that had that effect on me was “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, and that was almost 2 years ago.

I absolutely adored “Room.” Every time I sat down to read it, I grew more and more appreciative of my life and what privileges I have.

The main characters are Jack, Ma, and Old Nick. Told from Jack’s perspective, a five-year-old boy who absorbs everything and anything, you almost come to think like a five-year-old as well. Everything is confusing to a five-year-old and Jack really helps you understand that firsthand. I can almost imagine Donoghue observing a five-year-old as part of her research before writing this novel because it takes real talent to write the way a five-year-old would actually speak.

I really fell in love with Jack’s character. He’s everything you would want your fie-year-old son to be if you were held hostage in a confined “Room” and hadn’t stepped outside in 7 years, while also being sexually abused by a man twice your age.

It’s sad knowing that Jack has never stepped outside and that all he knows is what’s inside Room. He thinks everything on TV is imaginary and that all there is is Room. It’s heartbreaking knowing that a five-year-old is built to discover the outside world and get his hands in the dirt. It’s not until Ma explains to him that most of what he sees on TV is real. You can just imagine how unbelievable such a statement could’ve been for him; trying to imagine it to be true would be like an adult trying to understand what infinity would be like — it would be unfathomable.

“Outside has everything. Whenever I think of a thing now like skis or fireworks or islands or elevators or yo-yos, I have to remember they’re real, they’re actually happening in Outside all together. It makes my head tired. And people too, firefighters teachers burglars babies saints soccer players and all sorts, they’re all really in Outside. I’m not there, though, me and Ma, we’re the only ones not there. Are we still real?”

What really frustrated me though, was that there seemed to have lacked a degree of compassion/affection during certain parts. I’m not sure if this was done intentionally as part of the characters’ personality, or if there was a lack of description in the writing.

Other than that, I really did enjoy reading this book. There were parts that were gripping and others that made you reflect on your own life and the things we take for granted.

I would recommend this book to anyone, however, there are parts that may not be suitable for younger readers, so use you’re own discretion.

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