Little, Brown and Company, 2010
Audience: Older teens, Adults
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.
When this book was released, I swore that I would never read it. I had just read Donoghue’s Slammerkin for one of my English classes, and it wasn’t my favorite. The gory details of illnesses turned my stomach and didn’t interest me and the characters were not likable. That, combined with the fact that the subject matter of Room would be heartbreaking, convinced me that I should not read that book. At all. I had read in reviews that it was an amazing book, and since it was told through a child’s point of view, it wasn’t quite as detailed as it might have been.
Now, five years later, the movie is getting a lot of buzz for awards. Each year, my friends and I watch the best picture nominees at the theater. I heard that Room might be one of the movies that we watch... and I thought it would be better if I was prepared for the movie. So I picked the book up and read it the last possible minute that I could.
I finished it in a day’s time. It was so good! The story didn’t focus on what happened to them during their time in Room. It began with their escape plan, escape success and then the characters’ psychological recovery. I’m so glad that I did end up reading it, and I wish that I would have known it didn’t describe the violence in gory detail and that I had read it earlier. It definitely was intense, but in a well-written sort of way.