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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horse and human
Guest

This is about to be shown on tv. So the question is, do I watch and read the book after.
Ignore and read the book first, then the film. Oh decisions decisions!
Thing is I have no more room in my shelf and the film looks good.

horse and human
Guest

Karen 🙂

horse and human
Guest

It’s not been on yet. It’s a trailer for what is coming up in a few weeks.
Will watch though. 🙂

horse and human
Guest

I think my first thoughts are that I expected it to be in the room pretty much for the whole film. I guess it was for the first hour, but once they were out the film weakened for me. Maybe the book manages to capture the imagination where the film lacks. I know it’s fiction but it didn’t seem that realistic or believable to me. The actress looked too healthy and again the book probably would paint a different interpretation? We saw a quick scene of her exercising but mentally she wouldn’t cope would she? Would anyone or do we… Read more »

horse and human
Guest

If I stumble upon the book I will likely by it to try. But I haven’t ordered it to try.

horse and human
Guest

I think from memory I have only seen the first two films in the series.
I could easily re read the books though so I think they must have been good.
Virginia Andrews is the author, though she might have had a ghostwriter. Someone can correct me on that one.

horse and human
Guest

Yes because your imagination is part of the story. Some people don’t read because they can’t visualize. This book is pretty dark I suppose.

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

After reading the book I was intrigued to watch the movie and they really did it justice, but the book was much more powerful. Lovely to hear someone else’s perspective of this. I’m going to read Gone Girl to see how that compares to the movie now. Thank you for visiting my blog I will be reading more of your reviews very soon. x

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

You are so kind x

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

I loved how Ma educated her son and kept him physically fit, with such limited resources. I was fascinated by the boys relationships with inanimate objects .I don’t think this came over as strongly in the movie. However I thought the mothers mental health issues were much more apparent in the book.

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

It was so clever how Jack described how his ma had ‘gone’ days, and you just knrew she had to completely withdraw because life was utterly intolerable .Really sad.

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

Yes but she’s all grown up (I started early lol) Room is a prime example of a mothers unconditional love.

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

Yes! I was 18 and wouldn’t change things I loved being a young mum. You must be so busy, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Have a lovely day. x

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

You don’t have to apologise for a late reply, sometimes life just gets in the way! You sound like a great mum! x

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

I’ve watched it twice and loved it both times. I wish I could turn back time and read the book first. I don’t like to have preconceived ideas about how the characters look etc I usually find that a book gives a stronger image.

waggytalesdogblog
Guest

Thank you for your lovely message. I’m well and hope you are too. I enjoyed Karin Slaughter’s The Good Daughter, somehow this author had passed me by but I will be reading more of hers. How about you? Hope you are having a lovely day! x

Ellie P.
Guest

Another tip re books to add to your list: Karin Fossum. She’s a fantastic writer in the genre of psychological crime. She’s Norwegian but the English translations are fantastic and widely available. I’ve gotten them from the library and also Kindle editions for my Kindle. I’ve read ALL her books and they’re all super!!
xox

Ellie P.
Guest

Quite a treasure-trove of a site you have here!!! So glad you stumbled on my own! “Room” is one of my favourite books – it is absolutely mesmerizing, how she gets right inside Jack’s character, and his mom’s – letting us see through their eyes. I adored the movie too – one of the few that was a fabulous ‘translation’ from print to screen… due to Emma’s script and exec. producing choices. Great review!

Ellie P.
Guest

In fact I *just* watched it again as they showed it on one of the movie channels I get. Just as amazing if not more so, the second time!

Ellie P.
Guest

LOL!!!

Ellie P.
Guest

Most def!!

Ellie P.
Guest

Gee, not a whole lot of time for reading anymore. Have a freelance editing gig now. Plus I work on my blog stuff. I’ve started reading “USA Inc.” written by Larry Kahaner – his blog is one of the excellent ones I follow. (His blog is “The Non-Fiction Novelist.”) He so kindly sent me an Amazon gift card to buy his book; I think it was a sort of “thank you” for keeping up with his posts and commenting/complimenting him a lot. 😀 I also plan to re-read my son-in-law Shane Simmons’s book, Necropolis. This time I won’t need to… Read more »

Ellie P.
Guest

For sure!!

Ellie P.
Guest
Ellie P.
Guest

Will write to you now! 🙂

Ellie P.
Guest

My jaw has dropped. FOUR KIDS!!!! TWINS!!! NEWBORN!!! A BOOK IN 2-3 DAYS!!! Are you a real human?????? 😀 😀 😀 And how, I’d like to know, have you managed to gain so many tons of followers????? Yikes!!!! I’m in awe of you, truly!!!! When i was a mom of 2 little ones, all I remember wanting to do was sleep!!!! 😀

Ellie P.
Guest

Please do!! Thanks!!

Ellie P.
Guest

That’s great! 🙂

Loonyloonyvish
Guest

I didn’t know until I watched the movie that Room was a book indeed. However, unlike many adaptations of books, this movie has inspired me to read the book and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Loonyloonyvish
Guest

Oh yes I loved it. Only I thought that Jack was a girl at first owing to his long hair and found it very confusing that a girl had been named Jack. Otherwise, and this wasn’t a reason to dislike the movie, it was a great one.

Loonyloonyvish
Guest

No, I haven’t even read this one though I can’t wait to get it. From what I have heard of it, I don’t think there is any book similar to this one. It isn’t the story that’s unique but I guess the narration gave the book what it has. In the movie, we see everything through Jack’s eyes and many a times he doesn’t understand what is going on. If the book follows the same pattern of narration, it must have taken great skill on Donoghue’s part to telk the readers what is happening.

Loonyloonyvish
Guest

Yes sure!

Loonyloonyvish
Guest

P.S. I really appreciate that you reply to individual comments what with having so many followers and receiving loads of comments.

Loonyloonyvish
Guest

Thanks! Same here.

sjhigbee
Guest

A lovely, impassioned review about one of my all-time favourite books:)). I think she pulled off a really difficult trick in avoiding the horror of the crime or any sensationalim, but focusing – as you said – this book is all about Jack and Ma.

sjhigbee
Guest

You’re very welcome – it’s my pleasure:)

sjhigbee
Guest

And that’s why it is one of all-time favourite books. It could have so easily turned into another victim versus evil baddie trope – but she takes that dynamic and does something completely different, that made me ask some really hard questions about the situation.

sjhigbee
Guest

Oh definitely! It’s surprising how many people REALLY dislike the book.

sjhigbee
Guest

No, because overall I thought she did a very good job. Children who spend a great deal of time around adults tend to adopt very adult ways of speaking and thinking – and that is Jack.

sjhigbee
Guest

No, I haven’t, either.

sjhigbee
Guest

Yes – I need to touch base with some of her other books as well.

sjhigbee
Guest

ha ha! You know that soul sister thing you said we had going? Well, I’m not exactly the silent type, either… I DO like book shopping – but practically we have got to a stage where we have run out space. We’ve been living in the same house together for over 20 years and we both LOVE books. I don’t mind getting rid of a proportion of them once I’ve read them as I very, very rarely reread a book, but J simply won’t. So we have both are now Kindle junkies – besides, I just LOVE pressing a button… Read more »

sjhigbee
Guest

Oh yes… I’m totally with you! Sadly, though Himself is a gem and I wouldn’t swap him for the world, he isn’t particularly handy and the two of us COULD put a bookcase up, but we’d probably have to go and lie down in a darkened room to recover for a day or so…

ceolsigehanna
Guest

Your reviews are just incredible! I have not read this book, but did watch the movie. It was one I kept thinking about for a long time afterward. I had the same feeling –that the Nick character was almost too mysterious. (But yeah no, fuck him. What an absolute piece of filth.) Nothing could have truly made him a sympathetic or even remotely likable character, but I do wonder if there is anything that could have humanized him. The movie must have stayed pretty close to the book in a lot of ways, because I too became less interested in… Read more »

ceolsigehanna
Guest

No worries, haha! I think they did an excellent job showing Ma’s struggle. It really stood as a testament to her strength that Jack could just slip effortlessly into the world, but it wasn’t so easy for her. She did all the suffering, but was able to shield him from it. (My Twitter, by the way, is @ceolsigewrites. It’s brand new. :))

ceolsigehanna
Guest

Hello! I have been great (if not very active on WP, haha). I hope you have been, too?

Have you reviewed V.E. Schwab’s novel, Vicious? I read it at the recommendation of a friend and enjoyed it –and I believe the author is about to publish a part two!

If you haven’t read Garth Nix’s fantasy novels, I think they are among the best for young adults.

One of my favorite reads lately was Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey. I would love to hear your thoughts on that one! 🙂

Ali Qureshi
Guest

I know of a book that has a
slightly similar plot to Room,
and it’s titled
My Abandonment;
authored by Peter Rock.

Ali Qureshi
Guest

Now I know what I should be reading next.
Thanks for sharing your review, and you have
penned it just right; makes one want to read the
mentioned book right away.

Ali Qureshi
Guest

I’ll let you know about how I found it to be, once I’m done reading.

Ali Qureshi
Guest

Yes, I read about the movie being a hit as well. And will only get to it once I’ve read the book.

Ali Qureshi
Guest

Thus the most obvious reasons of not watching a movie before reading its respective book.

Ali Qureshi
Guest

Agreed! 🙂

Nancy
Guest

As soon as I read the first line of your review, I went to Amazon and bought this book. I didn’t read any more of the review. You had me from hello. Thank you!

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