Friday, December 10, 2010

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue
Book Description: ROOM is narrated by a five-year-old called Jack, who lives in a single room with his Ma and has never been outside. An international bestseller as soon as it was published in August 2010, ROOM has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (for best Canadian novel). It has also been a finalist for International Author of the Year (Galaxy National Book Awards) and the Governor General’s Award.

Jack and Ma live in a locked room that measures eleven foot by eleven. When he turns five, he starts to ask questions, and his mother reveals to him that there is a world outside. Told entirely in Jack’s voice, ROOM is no horror story or tearjerker, but a celebration of resilience and the love between parent and child.

About the Author: Born in Dublin, Ireland, in October 1969, I am the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue (the literary critic, Henry James Professor at New York University). I attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one eye-opening year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 I earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin (unfortunately, without learning to actually speak French). I moved to England, and in 1997 received my PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. From the age of 23, I have earned my living as a writer, and have been lucky enough to never have an ‘honest job’ since I was sacked after a month as a chambermaid. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 I settled in London, Ontario, where I live with Chris Roulston and our son Finn (7) and daughter Una (3). 

Here's What I Think: This book was difficult to start because of the language. The story is told entirely from the point of view of a 5 year old named Jack. So the thoughts are sometimes illogical and the speech is strange. For example instead of saying "the room" or "the table" he refers to everyday items with proper names like "Room" or "Table". However, once you get your head around this aspect of the story, you really get into horrific nightmare that the boy only knows as his normal. It really is heart-wrenching to think of how easily (sad but true) something like this could happen in your own neighbor's backyard and you never know about it. Normally, I do not like stories that constantly switch back and forth between two character's points of view, but I think this story could have benefited. I say this only because there are lots of things that Jack simply doesn't understand, especially after they leave Room, so as a reader you are forced to infer the details, and I would rather "know". I do have to say that Donoghue did a phenomenal job, technically speaking, in writing this novel. She makes you believe you are listening to a 5 year old, who is rather intelligent in terms of book learning, but completely ignorant when it comes to the society and interaction with the world. The book does sort of come to an abrupt, however complete ending, so I was a little deflated by that. I think this book is a "love it or hate it" sort of book, because I know some will have a difficult time getting past the style of writing. I say give it a try and if you can get past page 40, you should be okay.

Disclaimer: Although I did receive this book for review purposes, I was in no other way compensated to publish this post.
If you are an author or publisher and would like an honest review of your title, please contact me at polsen11atcomcastdotnet


  1. Great review, thank you! This book intrigues me!

    New follower and I've snagged your button for Ruthi Reads!

  2. I am now following you from I'm also hosting a blog hop so be sure to stop bye and link up. Love your page and look forward to catching up :)


  3. Sounds great! Thanks for linking up at Making Friends MOnday. I am now following you. Have a wonderful week!

  4. I'm a mom and I love to read! I'm also a new follower from the blog hop


  5. Newest follow on GFC, follow back at

  6. OMGosh... I'm in love with your blog. I'm a full time student and as school is finally coming to a close this semester I am dying to get back to fun reading! ROOM seems like the type of book I would really enjoy and I plan on giving it a go. Thanks! Oh, I'm following you from the making friends monday blog hop. :)

  7. Hello, I stopped by your blog today. This is an interesting concept for a novel. Although the ages are different it reminds me of the young girl who was kidnapped in California and spent 18 or so years in a tent in a cluttered back yard (unknown to the neighbors).

  8. I did do some research on how the author came up with this book concept and it looks like she took bits and pieces from several different similar cases in modern times as well as including the fact that this was actually an almost common practice in times of slavery all over the world and all over our history.


I love love love love to hear what other people think - share your thoughts so we can start a dialogue!