REVIEW: Room by Emma Donoghue


Title/Author: Room by Emma Donoghue
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (my copy says HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 13, 2010
Genre: Adult, Contemporary
ISBN: 9780316098335

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Room has quickly rose to the top of my adult favorites. I don’t read adult books too often, but I was always curious about the hype around this novel. It did get a movie and all. But, when I saw this at a used book sale earlier this year, I thought I would give it a go, and I am so glad that I did!

What I liked…

Room is a darker tale, but Emma Donoghue managed to write it through the eyes of a five-year-old who never received the opportunity to venture outside. He was stuck within the twelve by twelve walls of “room” since birth, but he never really cared. He was under the influence that the small place was every inch of the world. He was taught that everything he saw on TV was a made up fantasy. I loved how innocent he was throughout the novel. Even after the climax, his innocence never faded.

Jack’s mom was the only person he knew for 5 whole years! Could you ever expect to be in the same room as a single person for 5 years of your life? I couldn’t! But, his mother influenced everything he did. She taught him a wider vocabulary than even I have. She didn’t think that the two of them would ever escape, so she told him that all of the amazing things he saw on TV were fake. But most of all, she protected him from their captor.

Something else that I really enjoyed was the connection between Jack and his mother. It was deeper and stronger than any I’ve ever heard of before. Most family connections are a loving bond, but since the two of them spent every minute awake together, it was as if they were one. I can just predict Jack and his mother staying together in the future.

The writing in this novel, was fast and extremely easy to read. As it was told from a younger person’s perspective, it realistically contained bad grammar. Since I was a Dora the Explorer fan as a child, I definitely loved all of the references to the show. Overall, the writing was cute, and a work of art that is worth reading. If you are a grammar critique, just try to remember that it is all being told from a young child.

What I didn’t like….

I felt so much fury towards Old Nick. I don’t understand why he felt the need to abduct a young college student. I don’t understand why he felt the need to sexually abuse the same girl TWICE or more. Although he brought her everything she truly needed to survive (food and water), he was just setting himself up to go to jail. And he definitely deserved it in the end. He committed so many offences during the seven years that Jack’s mom was with him that he deserved a life in prison.

Favorite quotes…

“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”

“When I tell her what I’m thinking and she tells me what she’s thinking, our each ideas jumping into the other’s head, like colouring blue crayon on top of yellow that makes green.”

Also everywhere I’m looking at kids, adults mostly don’t seem to like them, not even the parents do. They call the kids gorgeous and so cute, they make the kids do the thing all over again so they can take a photo, but they don’t want to actually play with them, they’d rather drink coffee talking to other adults. Sometimes there’s a small kid crying and the Ma of it doesn’t even hear.”


I loved this book so much and definitely had to give it 5/5 stars. It brought me to tears and made me laugh harder than I have in a while. Although not a lot of people will relate to Jack’s childhood, they may recognize and relate to some of the things IN his childhood. Maybe you were a Dora fan, or maybe you read some of the books that he did. This story was emotional and moving and I definitely recommend that you check it out. It’s a hit or miss for most readers, but if you are an emotional reader, this one will definitely move you to tears.

Amazon | Chapters | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Happy Reading,

11 thoughts on “REVIEW: Room by Emma Donoghue

    1. It is amazing and definitely one of my favorite adult books. It’s easy and quick to read and I would definitely recommend it!


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