I am sure most people know about this book because of the movie. I remember when I worked at the bookstore seeing this book around but never really being intrigued enough to purchase it. Then it got turned into a movie and I got an idea of what it was about. So I will openly admit to reading the book because it was going to be a movie. Of course I just got around to reading the book. It was a Christmas gift from my sister.
Room by Emma Donoghue follows the story of Jack and his Ma who live in an eleven by eleven room. Jack has spent all five years of his life inside the room with no clue that world outside Room exists. His Ma had been held prisoner in Room for seven years and had been building a life as normal as possible for Jack. However, she feels their time in Room is running out and begins to get desperate to escape. Their escape will mean a whole knew challenge for Jack as he will have to face a world he never knew existed.
This book is told entirely from the perspective of Jack. Some people might think that it made her job easier because she wouldn’t have to write as well and follow typical grammar conventions and I admit I thought that too when I first started the book. However as I read on I realized that it really takes skill to write consistently as a five-year-old for 321 pages. Especially when you are not a five-year-old. I was so impressed at how accurately she did it too. It really felt like you were experiencing life in Room the way Jack would. She took a risk with writing the book this way and she pulled it off.
So this part of the review may be considered a spoiler for some of you, but in my opinion it is not really a spoiler. I think this fact is pretty well known. I knew about it before I read the book. But I will still give you all a warning that the next paragraph may be considered a spoiler and so read at your own risk.
The part that was the most interesting to me was when they escaped from Room. Experiencing that from Jack’s point-of-view was so different. He had no idea the world outside of Room existed and now all of sudden he was meeting new people and seeing grass and the ocean for the very first time in person. Watching as both Jack and his Ma transitioned from life in Room and now life outside of Room was such an interesting look into the human mind. Jack was such a great character for have this book be in the perspective of. I was not expecting such heart and development for a five-year-old character but Donoghue managed to do that with Jack.
Another character I really liked was Jack’s Step-Grandfather, that he called Steppa. When his Ma had gotten kidnapped her parents eventually ending up divorcing and her mother married a new man. Steppa never had any children of his own but he worked so well with Jack. Instead of treating Jack like he was fragile and strange he treated Jack like any other five-year-old boy and because of that his relationship with Jack was better than Jack’s relationship with his other family members.
This book was so heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. Seeing Jack bravely take on this new world and watching his Ma sacrifice so much to keep him alive made this book more than what you would expect. It was an amazing book and I cannot wait to go see the movie.