Five-year-old Jack lives in an eleven-by-eleven square room with his twenty-seven-year-old mother. The two are locked into the Room, as Jack calls it, by his mother’s kidnapper whom Jack calls Old Nick. Ma hides him in the wardrobe when Old Nick visits; she doesn’t want
her their attacker looking at him. Having never ventured outside the four walls, Jack is convinced that the only things real are him, Ma, and the items in the room. The people and places he sees on TV are simply make believe.
I was actually quite hesitant to pick up this book. I tried to steer away from spoilers so I really had no idea what the book was about before I picked it up. It’s just the title sounds down right creepy, and some of the other covers I’ve seen give a very eery appearance to the novel.
Upon reading the book, however, I can definitely understand why Room made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize and why it has garnished so much attention. The voice Donoghue creates for Jack is not at all obnoxious as some novels narrated by small children can be. Instead, the five-year-old provides great insight into the world in which he and his mother live. It’s neither too simplistic nor too calculated.
Only a couple pages into the novel and I was disappointed about how short it would be. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted the novel to en! But by the time I reached the last page, it was becoming clearer to me that the story couldn’t really sustain my interest any longer than it already did. I still think it’s worth a read, no doubt. Just not sure if it’s one of those books that would hold up to a reread.
Others have stated that the book was inspired by the true story of Elisabeth Fritzl, an Austrian woman who had been imprisoned in her father’s basement for twenty-four years and bore him seven children. Reading the Wikipedia page about the case, I can see some similarities between Elisabeth’s life and that of the fictional Jack’s. The novel is now even more disturbing in my mind knowing something like this has actually happened repeatedly.
- Donoghue, Emma. Room. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2010. Print. 320 pgs. ISBN: 0316098337. Source: Library.