Room by Emma Donoghue

Told from a 5-year-old’s point of view, Room is the story of Jack, his mother and the room that they never leave. To Jack’s mother, it is a prison. To Jack, it’s just the world.

“…it was a garden shed to begin with. Just a basic twelve-by-twelve, vinyl-coated steel. But he added a sound-proofed skylight, and lots of insulating foam inside the walls, plus a layer of sheet lead, because lead kills all sound. Oh, and a security door with a code. He boasts about what a neat job he made of it.” pg 85.

Jack and his mother have no contact with the outside world, except for ‘Old Nick’ who only comes at night, brings food and the occasional ‘Sunday treat.’

They are his prisoners.

“…we mustn’t try and hurt him again. When he came back the next night, he said, number one, nothing would ever make him tell me the code. And number two, if I ever tried a stunt like that again, he’d go away and I’d get hungrier and hungrier till I died.” pg 97.

Though this book covers some seriously dark subject matter, it is told through the point-of-view and voice of a child.

At first, I didn’t like it, but then I realized- hearing the story from Jack made it bearable. I think if we had heard it from his mother’s point of view, it would have been too bleak.

Jack confuses television and reality because he’s never been outside ‘room’: “Women aren’t real like Ma is, and girls and boys not either. Men aren’t real except Old Nick, I’m not actually sure if he’s real for real. Maybe half? He brings groceries and Sunday treat and disappears the trash, but he’s not human like us. He only happens in the night, like bats. Maybe Door makes him up with a beep beep and the air changes. I think Ma doesn’t like to talk about him in case he gets realer.” pg 18.

The beauty of this story is in the resiliency of Jack and the love he and his mother have for each other. They keep each other going when life becomes unbearable.

There are also some surprising twists to the story too.

I loved it.

I took the time to watch the movie after I read the book and it is a great adaptation. Not, of course, as stellar as the book, but well worth the time.

Highly recommended, but keep your tissue box close.

Thanks for reading!

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