‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue: A Review

Author: Emma Donoghue
Genre: Fiction
First Published: 2010
Pages: 401


Jack is a child born into the world as a result of the kidnapping and repeated raping of his mother. Now five years old, he i learning for the first time, that a world exists outside the only four walls he has ever known 

Jack was born, and has lived the first five years of his life in Room. Everything in Room is real, but everything he sees on TV is made up. Outside of Room there is nothing but Outer Space, and Old Nick who brings Jack and his Ma their food. But one day Ma tells him that there is a world outside Room, with people and parks and stores. Jack doesn’t believe Ma, but when they plan to make their Great Escape, Jack will experience the world for the first time, and experience so many things he never knew existed.

Initially, I didn’t like this book. I read the first thirty pages and put it down as I felt it was too much hard work and the plot wasn’t progressing fast enough. However, determined to see it through to the end, I picked up from where I left off and I immediately couldn’t put it down! Once you get used to the language and description used by five-year-old Jack, it becomes less difficult to read the novel and easier to enjoy. You start to sympathise with Jack right from the beginning, as you are aware of the horrific circumstances he is living in, even though he isn’t.

The main concern I had when I was reading the book was how the plot would progress. Obviously, life in Room is fairly repetitive, and for that reason, the first fifty pages can seem difficult and even boring at times. However, it is worth persevering as the second half of the book is incredibly rewarding. The second half of the book focuses on Jack coming to understand the world around him and experiencing new things. It is touching to witness his first experience of ice cream or a playground.

This book really surprised me as I read it simply because everyone said I should, but I absolutely loved it. I don’t normally keep books once I have read them, but with this one I am refusing to part with it! The ending is incredibly beautiful and touching, and, after being almost reduced to tears, I am holding on to my copy so I can experience it over and over again. I would honestly encourage everyone to read this book more than anything I have ever recommended before; it is such a versatile book that doesn’t fit into any genre, but has the ability to appeal to everyone.

I’d love to hear the opinions of anyone who has read it or wants to read it!

Favourite Quotes: ‘At TV time she chooses the wildlife planet, there’s turtles burying their eggs in sand. When Alice gets long with eating mushroom, the pigeon’s mad because she thinks Alice is a nasty serpent trying to eat her pigeon eggs. Here come the turtle babies out of their shells, but the turtle mothers are gone already, that’s weird. I wonder if they meet sometime in the sea, the mothers and the babies, if they know each other or maybe they just swim on by.’ (p. 42)

‘Baked beans keep me going all right but green beans are my enemy food. Grandma made them a few dinners ago and I just pretended I didn’t see them on my plate. Now I’m in the world, I’m never going to eat green beans again. (pp. 347-8)

Rating: 10/10

4 thoughts on “‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue: A Review

  1. Jon Pamely says:

    Totally agree Hannah! The first half of the book I struggled with but the second half (just when you think the plot has nowhere else to go) is totally gripping. Highly recommended!

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