Friday, November 5, 2010

"Room" by Emma Donoghue

Summary: Room is where Jack, who has just turned five, lives with Ma.  For Jack, Room is all there is in the world.  It was where he was born, and he has no idea that Ma came from Outside.  In fact, his mother was kidnapped as a college student and placed in Room (an outside shed) by her kidnapper, and she has lived there ever since.  Room is narrated by Jack as he slowly begins to learn that there is more to the world than Room.

Musings: My summary in no way does justice to the beautiful and disturbing novel by Donoghue.  From the beginning, the reader sees the world through Jack's eyes.  For Jack, Room is not good or bad--it simply is the entirety of existence.  Although they have a TV, his Ma has told him that the life captured on TV is fantasy.  He knows of no other life, and it's heartbreaking to see his Ma try to conceal her struggles from a son who happily accepts his life.

Jack's curiosity, intelligence, and bravery are clearly a testament to the strength of his mother's love.  Locked for seven years in a small room, his mother has nonetheless eked out a semblance of a "normal" childhood for Jack.  Yet she has done so at a great personal cost.  Not only does she continue to endure the night-time visits of her kidnapper, "Old Nick,"  but she also combats loneliness and despair, all for the love of her child.

Room is a book about growing up and accepting the good and the bad that come along with it.  Jack is a wonderful character to take this journey with.

This is one of those books that I adored and would highly recommend to others, though I can't seem to find the right words to talk about it here.

***This book qualifies for the GLBT Reading Challenge 2010.


  1. Well said, hon. As frustrating as it is that Emma had to step outside the LGBT community to finally received the accolades she deserves, this does sound like an interesting tale - and she certainly has the style to do it justice.

    Sally @ Bibrary Bookslut

  2. I'm definitely going to look at some of her older work now--I'm bummed it took until this book for me to hear of her!