Room by Emma Donoghue

This book was amazing.  It is a story about a mother and her son who are prisoners within an eleven-by-eleven room.

Jack and Ma live everyday by routine.  They have Watch to tell them when to wake-up, eat, and sleep as Skylight doesn’t allow God’s face to shine into the room very much.  To Jack, this room with all of his inanimate friends, Sundaytreat, and Wardrobe is all he has ever known.  To Ma, this is the prison she has endured for 7 years to keep Jack safe from Old Nick, the twisted man who first abducted Ma when she was 19.  But at the age of five, Jack is becoming more curious about Outside, fueling Ma’s desperation to escape. Together, they hatch a plan to outsmart Old Nick, and get Jack Outside to find help. But can they adjust to a new world after Room?

This story is told entirely in Jack’s voice, allowing the story to develop as Jack develops. Instead of becoming the horror story that it could have been, Jack believes that everything in room is wonderful and an adventure.  He is safe in Room where it is only him and Ma. Through Jack, Emma Donoghue portrays the ease with which young children adapt to new environments.  As Jack grows, he watches as Ma slowly begins to withdraw.  It is only when a crisis occurs, and Jack is taken from Ma to live with Grandma and Steppa, that we see him fully begin to shed the life of Room.  Overall a story about perseverance, trust, empathy, fear, and dependence, Room will make you ask,  “Could I have survived?”

Room was longlisted for the Booker prize, has won the Roger’s Writers’ Trust Fiction prize, and was a finalist for the GG award. It has garnered good reviews from Quill and Quire, Globe and Mail, and has been called a “gem” by Nicola Barr from Guardian.


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