This story captivated me in a way that no other book ever has, written or audio. Whether I was sitting at home listening to it or driving in the car, I was totally mesmerized. The narrator who did the boy's voice was superb. In fact, I think that those who listen to this receive a better experience than those who read the book. Buy this audio book!
I loved the characters in this book. They were so richly described and watching their progress through the hardships presented was a the real story here. I found it intriguing that very little attention was paid to the captor's character, but very fitting. He was left as much a mystery to us as he was to the little boy, who hid in the wardrobe during his captor's visits with his mother. The actors portraying the characters were right on. I don't know if that was actually a little boy reading the part, but his intonation was perfect. The only one I didn't go along with was the grandmother. She was only supposed to be in her late 50s but the reader made her sound much older (I'm 55 and I don't talk anything like that!) I was happy that there was no graphic violence in this book. It would've been so easy to include it but leaving it out made it seem even more sinister.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I just HAD to add this update. I hadn't heard of the real live case of Josef Fritzi before. He was arrested in 2008 for imprisoning his own daughter and fathering 7 children with her over the next 24 years in a basement room. Look him up; the details are VERY much like the book Room, and Emma D. does admit to being influenced by the case. I came across this in looking up a bizarre imprisonment type movie I watched called Dogtooth. These both got me thinking more about Room... so I had to add this to the review. So, here's what I thought about Room:
The book was unique, well-written, and fairly enjoyable; BUT I did feel like it was really tiresome having to continually see the world and the plot through the eyes of the 5 year old narrator. As I said originally, it felt like I was reading/listening to Romper Room at first, but then the plot picked up and it got better. It continued to be plagued by the 5 year old perspective however. My feeling is that the author was very good and talented in being able to channel this 5 year old personality, BUT that doesn't mean we, the readers, are going to enjoy the 5 year old going on and on about every little thing in the world the way kids can do. Just because you can write it, should you? Perhaps if the narration had shifted between several of the characters, it would give us a break from the "preciousness" of Jack.
I loved the concept of this audiobook but, in reality, I just couldn't listen to it. The actor, reading as a child in an attempt to convey child innocence, created (for me) a boring, monotonous and grating delivery. Maybe I could read this in print but listening is just not an option.
What I really liked about this story was that the author did not hand you all the information about what had happened and was happening. You had to piece together clues offered by the narrator who was a child. The child spoke of many adult concerns and occurences, but from his viewpoint. He let us know how he was affected. I did get a little tired of hearing about toys and games when I really just wanted to know about the important things going on in the story. It was both frustrating and fascinating at the same time. I liked the way there was an adult narrator for each time an adult spoke so I didn't have to listen to the child's voice nonstop. I found the ending rather uneventful after all the drama throughout the book.
I bought this for a long road trip...and got stuck with the most annoying voice for 8+ hours. The 5 year old boy sounded more like a dumb 3 year old, and such a voice should never have to be heard for hours on end. It might have been an ok book if the narrators were different, but all of the voices were inappropriate for the characters. The grandmother, who was supposed to be in her 50s, sounded like a feeble 80 something, the 'evil abductor' sounded like a charming guy next door, and the foreign accents were ridiculous. And...it went on and on and on, and for such a creative premise, not much at all happened. Bleh.
I was debating over whether to listen to this one or just get the book to read, and I'm glad I chose to listen. Some other reviewers were annoyed by the narration from the little kid's perspective; I'm normally one to get annoyed by poor narration, but I thought the narrator did an excellent job. And the story was so good. I couldn't stop listening!
Interesting story, however point of view of the child became annoying. While I was interested in what was going on, I wanted it to be over sooner than later.
Enjoyed the multiple narrators, was it really a child? Good audio, great listen... did it in less then 5 days :)
** spoiler alert **
Well I have to say the subject of this book is something I had never let enter my mind prior to reading. The first half of the book, I was rushing to find out what happened next... where they really going to escape?
I enjoyed the point of view of a 5 year old very much, however it would be interesting to know the moms point of view as well. Its not like I can just know how she feels because she's an adult... she has been thru an amazing 7 years that I would have no clue how to deal with. And after escape is a whole nother ball of wax of issues for her to deal with. I feel like hopefully Jack will grow up and get over some of the "childish" stuff, but at the same time, he seems way more grown then the average 5 year old (I guess due to all the one on one time he had with ma to learn things).
I understand that it was a hard thing to deal with mentally, but I think that "ma" and "grandma" were both rather crabby (even/especially towards Jack, which made me feel bad). Is that normal? Do we know what's normal? Will they feel better once time goes by and will they get over it? Undoubtedly, it has changed there lives and the direction it will go, compared to if ma just continued with college and had a child down the road.
Overall it was a good book, not especially happy with the ending, although I don't know how I would change it, just kind of ended, when I wasn't ready and compared to the beginning rather uneventful.