RED HEADED BOOK LOVER

Room, Emma Donoghue

Contemporary Fiction, Literature & Fiction, Mystery & Suspense

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.

Room is a harrowing heart-breaking, beautiful read which made me feel a lot of different emotions; the novel is powerful and poignant… a story that demands to be read. Room is a highly successful novel and with highly praised books such as Room, I am skeptical as I am fearful the read will not be as incredible as everybody is saying it is. However! This is not the case with the wonderful Room; Room is a delightful read, it may be harrowing but it is a wonderful book and I am so pleased I read it. I am sure many of you know the premise of Room but in case you do not then here is a premise of mine!

Room follows Jack, Jack is a young boy that lives with his Ma in Room. Room is a single room, a secured unit that contains a very small kitchen, a bathtub, a wardrobe, a bed and a TV set. Jack has only ever known Room, he was born in it and he believes that Room, the things it contains and his Ma are the only things that exist. Ma is a mother that did not want to disappoint her son so she allowed Jack to believe that the rest of the world only exists on television and it is something Ma struggles with daily. Ma, however, is a wonderful mother and she tries her best to keep Jack healthy and fit, both by mental and physical exercises as well as good hygiene and as good as a diet she can give him.

Jack has only ever seen one other person than his mum and this is ‘Old Nick’, Old Nick visits Room at night time whilst young Jack sleeps in a wardrobe, hidden as much as he can be. Old Nick brings food and necessities to the room but poor young Jack is unaware that Old Nick kidnapped Ma when she was nineteen years old and he has kept her imprisoned for the past seven years. Old Nick sadly regularly rapes Ma each night and Jack is the product of one such sexual assault. This next paragraph contains spoilers so if you do not want to be spoiled then skip to the spoiler-free section which will be highlighted!

SPOILER – A week after Jack’s fifth birthday, Ma learns Old Nick has been unemployed for the past six months and is in danger of losing his home. Feeling certain that Old Nick would kill them both before letting them free, Ma comes up with a plan to get Jack out of Room by convincing Old Nick that Jack is deathly ill. Jack is unable to conceptualize being outside of Room or interacting with other people, but Ma eventually convinces him to help her. When Old Nick refuses to take Jack to a hospital, Ma then pretends that Jack has died so Old Nick then removes Jack, wrapped in a rug, from Room. Jack escapes Old Nick and manages to reach a friendly stranger who contacts the police. In spite of his inability to communicate effectively, Jack directs the police to Room to free Ma.

SPOILER – After Jack and Ma are reunited they are taken to a mental hospital where they receive medical evaluations and temporary housing. In the meantime, Old Nick is found and faces numerous charges of abduction, rape, and child endangerment that will likely lead to 25 years to life in prison. While in the hospital, Ma is reunited with her family and begins to relearn how to interact with the larger world, while Jack, overwhelmed by new experiences and people, wants only to return to the safety of Room. Meanwhile, the case has attracted much attention from the public and the mass media making it even harder for Jack and Ma to start leading a normal life – At this point I should say that although the media are great for some things I think it is disgusting when they become vultures and prey on victims in these kinds of cases. I understand that there is demand for the story but some of the ways in which photos and facts are collected are horrible and shameful – After this point, Ma is persuaded to do a television interview but it ends very badly and Ma suffers a mental breakdown and attempts suicide. While Ma is in hospital recovering and receiving therapy, Jack lives with his grandmother and her new partner. Without the security of his mother nearby Jack becomes even more confused and frustrated by his surroundings, including his new extended family, who, while kind and loving, often do not understand how Jack’s limited experience – particularly his concept of personal boundaries – impact his behavior.

SPOILER – Soon Ma recovers and her and Jack move into an independent living residence where they begin to make plans for the future. Ma’s growing independence conflicts with Jack’s desire to keep her for himself, just as they used to be. At the same time, Jack himself is growing and changing as his world expands. Finally, Jack requests to visit Room. He and Ma return to the scene of their captivity but wonderfully Jack no longer feels any emotional attachment toward it and is able to say his goodbyes before he and Ma leave Room for the final time.

SPOILER FREE – That was a very long synopsis! I got carried away there but I just wanted to let all of you lovely readers know the premise of the novel in case you didn’t already know! As I said at the beginning of my review this is a very harrowing and heartbreaking story and it will definitely make you cry, especially if you are a mother or even a father! It is heartbreaking for me to read about this woman who was kidnapped but also to read about a boy who has never experienced the outside world and who has been raised in poor conditions. The saddest part about this is that Ma couldn’t help the circumstances Jack had been raised in and it is so tragically sad.

Emma Donoghue the author of the novel is an exceptional writer and I admire her for making Room a survivor story as opposed to a captors story. Room could have been a horror show all about what Old Nick had done to Ma and all about his life but thankfully it was not… it was not his story, it was Jack and Ma’s story so for that I really appreciate Donoghue for this. Donoghue’s inspiration for Room was “The shock of motherhood” which she said in an interview. She elaborated further saying “Back in 2008 when I heard about Elizabeth Fritzl and her children emerging from their Austrian dungeon, our kids were four and one. My first thought was: how did she do that, how did she manage to mother – and mother well – in a locked room? But my second thought was: aren’t there moments for every parent, and every child too when that intimate bond feels like a locked room?”. In my opinion, this is an incredible observation on her behalf but also a really thought-provoking one. To take real-life inspiration from the case of Elizabeth Fritzl and apply it to her work is incredible and she deserves so much praise for this.

You have to appreciate the sheer amount of work and research Donoghue has put into this novel. The mechanics of Room, the psychological and physical results of being raised in an environment like that, and the long-term effects are all explored in sensitive and thorough detail. The Child Psychology alone in this novel is impeccable and very important; I think it is extremely important as a reader to know about these heinous acts which happen in the world and the effects they have on a person.

The writing and narration of this novel can be a little painful at times as it is narrated by 5-year-old Jack. However the more I read the novel the more you become accustomed to it so, in the end, it really is not all that bad! Donoghue’s writing, in general, is very poignant and powerful. her words are full of heart and emotion and if you read this novel and do not cry I would be surprised! Her ability to transport the reader into the novel is incredible and almost magical because I was completely lost in this book and fully immersed. I felt as if I was in the dingy, horrible Room, and for that, I take my hat off to Donoghue because it is extremely hard to write a novel in which the majority of it is set in a room, without it becoming a lackluster read!

To summarise my thoughts, Room is a roller coaster journey and a compelling, harrowing, heartbreaking read but also an inspiring read full of two wonderful enchanting characters. I adored this novel and everything about it, well, besides Nick! This incredible, touching novel gets Four Stars from me!

Thank you so much as ever for reading book lovers! I appreciate it so much. Let me know all of your thoughts on Room I would love to know! Have you read the book? Do you want to read the book? Also, have you seen the movie and if so did you love it or loathe it. Let me know below lovely readers! Thank you so much again!

P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! Please have a read of the preview and if you find that you have loved what you have read then all you need to do is click the Buy on Amazon button and it will take you straight to the book on Amazon USA! If you are in the U.K. then below I have attached a link to the book for the Amazon U.K. website. I have also attached some links about the author and this wonderful book! Thank you so much again for reading book lovers, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this book!   

Amazon U.K. / Goodreads / Book Depository / Publisher; Picador

Thank you so much again for reading! 

Mini Movie Review

As always with books adapted into a movie I love to express my thoughts! Personally, I thought this movie was incredible and very true of the novel. The story and casting were amazing and I was so happy when Brie Larsson who plays Ma won the best actress at the Oscars! A superb movie and I enjoyed it thoroughly! Let me know whether you loved the movie too! Thanks again for reading book lovers!

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lilylance
Guest

Great review, great post! Thanks for liking my thank God it’s over post 😃 it means a lot!

lilylance
Guest

Thanks so much! If you’re looking for another great book to read my friend recommended to me one called Blackbird by Anna Carey. I got a free sample of it on my Nook e-reader and it is truly amazing (so far!) As soon as I put my Barnes and noble gift card on my nook I am definitely getting the rest of it. Maybe I’ll do a review for it on my blog! 😃

lilylance
Guest

Yes i agree totally with the gift card/book thing!!!!!!! And yes blackbird is one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read. The second person narrative may take some getting used to but I think it makes you feel more like you’re in the story. Yes definitely read it!!!

lilylance
Guest

Sure thing! Yes I’d never read a second person narrative before and some people had said it was hard to get used to but yeah I really liked it. I think I’ll have to do a review for it on my blog, tell me what you think of the book after you get done with it! 😃

lilylance
Guest

Awesome! Thank you so much! I’m really excited to finish it myself 😊

Tabitha
Guest

Hey! So good to hear from you! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this to you before, but All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a must-read. (Just get the tissues ready.) another book that has stuck with me since I’ve read it is Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Both of these are YA fiction, but I think they’re great reads for adults too. What have you been reading? I’d love to get some recommendations from you as well.

Tabitha
Guest

I do agree! All the bright places is about a girl recovering from her sister’s tragic death who meets a suicidal boy with bipolar disorder. They fall in love, etc but it’s such a beautiful story about love and mental health and ahhhhh I just love it lol

Tabitha
Guest

It is lovely!! And it made me cry, but it made me feel empowered to do something about suicide (a central theme) and to love people, and I think that’s an excellent takeaway

Tabitha
Guest

It is worth he heartbreak, I tell you

Tabitha
Guest

I have read TFIOS but I liked all the bright places better! I think the emotional level is about the same haha

Tabitha
Guest

Personally I think Jennifer niven’s writing style is better and smoother than TFIOS!

Tabitha
Guest

It may just be my personal opinion, but that’s what I think!

Tabitha
Guest

I’ve never seen the movie..

Tabitha
Guest

There’s actually a movie of All the Bright Places too but I haven’t seen it either 😂

Tabitha
Guest

I think movie adaptions are just fine as a supplement to the book, but they could never replace the book. like you said they help you envision the book!

Tabitha
Guest

All the bright places is a few years old. Personally I’m trying to keep up with the YA world (being a young adult myself lol)

Tabitha
Guest

I am turning 16 in a few weeks! 🙂

Tabitha
Guest

Haha thank you! I’m excited

emryal
Guest

I read this when it first came out and loved it! I agree that the narration was a little hard to read at first but ultimately I think it’s one of the things that made the book so great. It was a constant reminder that not only is this child going through these horrible things, but the horrible is his normal. Great review!

emryal
Guest

Hey! Thanks for reaching out, it’s great to hear from you! I’ve been traveling a bit recently which has slowed my reading down but I picked up some books on the way that I’m very excited about! I just finished the tiniest little travel book called A Woman Walks by Lady Colin Campbell, which was a kick to read! She was pretty out there for her time! I’m currently reading Astoria by Peter Stark because I just drove through the city it’s about. I picked up and am excited to read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot… Read more »

emryal
Guest

I totally understand! Are you feeling settled in yet? Sometimes the hardest part of a move is making the new place feel homey, but I’ve found books as decor always helps with that!

emryal
Guest

I’ve pretty much been all over the pacific northwest, I went to most of the big cities out that way (Portland and Seattle were the biggies) and the other main attractions I went to were Glacier National Park (which is officially one of my favorite spots) and Yellowstone. It’s been fantastic. My next adventure is going to be hiking the Superior trail for about two weeks, so I’m gather gear and getting organized for that!

emryal
Guest

It really is pretty spectacular! Four babies and traveling would be difficult although I will say, if you are up to it or maybe when they’re just a little older, Yellowstone is a good park to go to with kiddos. The hikes are all pretty short and meandering, there’s a lot of wildlife to see, and there are little grocery stores inside the park! I’ll be blogging about Yellowstone probably sometime next week if you want to see some pictures and hear some stories!

emryal
Guest

The city is so worth visiting if you’re ever on the West coast, the book follows John Jacob Astor throughout his life as he explores and tries to settle the western coast of North America!

My life under the sky
Guest

Thanks I’m adding this to my TBR

My life under the sky
Guest

Love your enthusiasm… I get the same way

My life under the sky
Guest

Well I like it

My life under the sky
Guest

I need to get on my computer, so hard to do from my phone! I will get on that!

My life under the sky
Guest

It’s not weird

My life under the sky
Guest

Lol

My life under the sky
Guest

What that I liked it!

Carrie Rubin
Guest

I’ve heard so many good things about this book, but I’m hesitant to read it. Subject matter that involves kids in those types of situations is really hard for me to read. But it sounds like I’ll be missing something wonderful if I skip it. Great review.

Carrie Rubin
Guest

🙂

Carrie Rubin
Guest

I’m reading ‘Career of Evil’ by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling). It’s the third one in her mystery series, and I love it.

Carrie Rubin
Guest

Most definitely. The first one has a lot of detail–color of lamps and such. But luckily she tamed that down in the second. It’s one of my favorite series. She’s a great storyteller.

Marcia Strykowski
Guest

I listened to ROOM on audio a few years ago. The voice was so compelling I can still hear it. Like you, I had to research the author and even the young performer who read the part (sadly she had just died while giving birth to twins). I haven’t seen the movie. Nice review!

Lynn Love
Guest

This book was everywhere when it first came out, but I avoided it because I thought it sounded overly traumatic and sensationalist – as if one of those true-life abuse-centred autobiographies had been novelised. I had heard it was very good, but despite your enthusiastic and wonderfully thorough review … I’m just not sure I can put myself through reading it. Will have to mull on that one 🙂

Lynn Love
Guest

Yes, I remember the real life inspiration for it very clearly – the kind of story that you wouldn’t think credible if had been fictionalised. I’ll mull this one over and think about whether to read it or not. Thanks for the recommendation 🙂

Lynn Love
Guest

Certainly will do! 🙂

Keri
Guest

I read this book when it was released in 2010 and I loved it! I thought back then that it would be an amazing movie. So I am glad they have made it into one. Just watching the trailer brought me back to “Room” and I got chills all over again.

I loved your review! It captured the book excellently!

Dave Astor
Guest

Sounds like an amazing, painful novel, RedHeadedBookLover, and your vivid review of it is excellent!

Jessica @ Like Bears to Honey
Guest

I loved reading your review of this! Thank you for sharing! I agree with all of your thoughts!

clemireads
Guest

This looks like such an amazing book, added it to my TBR!

clemireads
Guest

I’ll make sure to tell you! I just finished reading More than this, which was absolutely amazing, and now I’m reading Gone Girl which is also really good!

clemireads
Guest

More than this is about a boy who commits suicide and then wakes up in a deserted world, in the house where he grew up… And it’s so much more than it sounds ^^ And yes I will DEFINITELY write a review about Gone Girl!!

clemireads
Guest

Hi! If you are looking for contemporaries I just finished Saints and Misfits, and The Up Side of Unrequited and they both are absolutely amazing! Otherwise for recent faves I would recommend Passenger, The Girl from Everywhere and Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Hope you find something you like 😊

clemireads
Guest

No problem! It’s a time-travel adventure kind of story!

clemireads
Guest

My pleasure! Hope you like it!

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