Book Review – Room by Emma Donoghue

by Maryse on November 2, 2015 · 0 comments

in My Book Reviews

Room: A Novel
Absolutely intense!! What an incredible, terrifying, exciting, depressing, inspiriting, beautiful story! This will be a movie? HOLY MOLY! Even though I know the whole story already, I will absolutely be watching it. This one was… magnificent.

Karen:  One of the best books I have ever read out of my normal romance genre. The writing style is just brilliant!

Denise: I read that book a few years ago and could not put it down!!!

Allison: Room was very heavy. I read it probably not long after it came out and it stayed with me. It’s one of those books. It will always be with me. I hear a huge kidnapping story in the news, like Elizabeth Smart or thise 4 young girls that were kept together, and I don’t know. I just look at those stories through different eyes since reading Room. Such an amazing, well-written book.

Lisa: Oh my goodness Maryse. Room is an amazing book. At times I had to put it down and walk away to catch my breath. A child’s POV saves it from becoming unbearably dark I think. Its not one you can forget that’s for sure.

I knew my mom would TOTALLY go for this one, so within the first quarter so I told her!! She loves psych-thrillers like I do.

Maryse: Mom!! I’m reading an awesome book!! It’s called “Room” It’s about a woman and her small child that are being held hostage in this room. The baby was born in it so he knows NOTHING about the outside world. Pretty much thinks this way of life is normal. His mother tries to keep him happy, and healthy and plays games with him, and teaches him, and makes him do phys-ed in their little space tries to keep him mentally sane… growing up in that room.

The kidnapper comes and brings them what they requested (food, and a Sunday “treat”) but he’s obviously an a$$hole and brings them the bare minimum and often denies her requests for books and toys for her son she has to beg for fresh fruit. I have yet to “meet” him.

So far the whole story is being told through this 5 year old child’s eyes. It’s very interesting. It just became a movie, too.  I have yet to know how the kidnapping happened, or anything.

Then I met him. “Old Nick”. *shudders*

She tries to explain him to her young son, Jack:

“You know your heart, Jack?”

“Bam bam.” I show her on my chest.

“No, but your feeling bit, where you’re sad or scared or laughing or stuff?”

That’s lower down, I think it’s in my tummy.

“Well, he hasn’t got one.”

“A tummy?”

“A feeling bit,” says Ma.

I’m looking at my tummy. “What does he have instead?”

She shrugs. “Just a gap.”

Like a crater? But that’s a hole where something happened. What happened?

He’s not the “darkest” of the dark kidnappers we’ve encountered in our dark reads, but he’s a monster nonetheless.

“I can be quiet,” she says, she’s nearly whispering, I hear her breath all scratchy. “You know how quiet I can be, so long as you leave him alone. It’s all I’ve ever asked.”

And at times I struggled with the POV (but not entirely in a bad way). It’s actually REALLY clever. That said, reading from a child’s perspective was at times taxing on my reading. Taking in the entire story (everything seen, heard, learned, experienced and thought) in child speak and EVERYTHING is relevant.

Maryse: I’m still reading “Room”. It’s SO good, but it’s a bit difficult because it’s completely from a 5 year old’s POV (which is fascinating, but I have to stop and analyze/translate a lot of the things he sees, and how he perceives them as to what “actually” is happening). He’s highly intelligent though, as all his life his mother has taught him to speak, read, count and memorize… they had nothing else to do… It comes in handy, though. ;)

Lisa: Maryse I’m happy you’re enjoying Room. The child’s POV was hard to grasp at times but I think the story would have been far more brutal and raw if told from her POV. The child’s innocence softened it down for me. Such a unique story.

Agreed, Lisa! Absolutely, exactly that! I was right there with them both, the entire way. I knew her, as much as I knew him. Listening to his mom, through his ears,

“Listen. What we see on TV is… it’s pictures of real things.”

That’s the most astonishing I ever heard.

Ma’s got her hand over her mouth.

“Dora’s real for real?”

… and FEELING HER, us comprehending what she means and what she’s saying (as an adult), and then experiencing it through him.

To her? Almost no hope. Yet he’s quite content with their little life together. It’s all he knows.

“I told you, it’s not TV. It’s the real world, you wouldn’t believe how big it is.” Her arms shoot out, she’s pointing at all the walls. “Room’s only a tiny stinky piece of it.”

“Room’s not stinky.” I’m nearly growling.

But there’s always hope, right? And the reader gets to experience it all deep in the pit of our belly. It’s stomach-churning…

Maryse: You know a book is getting to you when you suddenly realize you’ve been rocking back and forth for 10 minutes, while reading…

Debi: What are you reading????

Maryse: I’m reading “Room” by Emma Donoghue… it’s freaking me out!

Emma: It’s amazing I read it years ago still one of my favourites

Soulia: I read this book when it first came out. I was raving about it for ages after I read it.

Jackie: Loved it!!!

Karen: This story broke my heart, so powerful and innocent all at the same time. I loved little Jack and his narrative style. Table and Bed and Cupboard and Rug were all characters too, such a beautifully written novel.

YES Karen… everything… all of it was his world. Integral to his development and his way of turning his isolated, sad world into something happy. They were all so relevant and so poignant to the story. And the last quarter!!???? OMG. MY HEART!!!

It’s a rousing read… a learning experience for the reader, as a mother does her best to educate and stimulate her child’s development, despite lacking proper tools, and environmental experiences that help the growth of every human being. That said, her love, her affection, and her persistence at staying positive for her son prove to be… almost enough to keep him normal, and maybe even ahead of his peers in many areas of development. And his energy, curiosity and unadulterated innocence helps keep her sane.

“Jack, you’re wonderful.”

“Why I’m wonderful?”

“I don’t know,” says Ma, “that’s just the way you popped out.”

Awwwwww!!! God I love them!! I LOVED everyone!! Well ALMOST everyone. ;) You’ll see.

But I’m going to stop there. There is SO much more to discover in this story (trust me on this!!), and I don’t want to give anything else away. This is definitely one to experience in it’s pure, very raw (excellently so), form. It’s an in-depth, frustrating and often heartwarming exploration of both of these characters as they navigate their world. At times suffocating and terrifying, at times heartening and hopeful.

5 stars!

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