RoomRoom by Emma Donoghue

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Caution: Review may contain spoilers!

This book was a bit different from what I expected. I had just assumed it would end with their escape from captivity, but that actually happened relatively early on in the book. So this is Jack’s world through his eyes – Room, the only home he has ever known, the escape, and then adjusting to life Outside. The escape plan was very far-fetched for me. Would a desperate and depressed mother really put a 5-year-old in such a dangerous position? We don’t know her thinking since this is Jack’s story. I just found it somewhat unbelievable that such a plan might actually work. But that is a minor quibble. The charm of the story is Jack, and the picture he paints of his world. The innocence of the narrator removes us a bit from the horrific aspects of the mother’s ordeal, so we can focus on his experience and how he adjusts to a much bigger world than he has ever imagined. Unlike his mother, he loves Room, and must come to terms with the loss of what was his entire world. There is much food for thought here, and I am looking forward to a very lively book club discussion.

Book Description: 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.