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Room: A Novel | [Emma Donoghue]

Room: A Novel

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. 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, but what she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2010 Emma Donoghue (P)2010 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Powerful.... Seen entirely through Jack's eyes and childlike perceptions, the developments in this novel--there are enough plot twists to provide a dramatic arc of breathtaking suspense--are astonishing.... Donoghue brilliantly portrays the psyche of a child raised in captivity...will keep readers rapt." (Publishers Weekly)

"Emma Donoghue's writing is superb alchemy, changing innocence into horror and horror into tenderness. Room is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days." (Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry)

"This is a truly memorable novel, one that can be read through myriad lenses - psychological, sociological, political. It presents an utterly unique way to talk about love, all the while giving us a fresh, expansive eye on the world in which we live." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (4903 )
5 star
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4.2 (2337 )
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Story
4.2 (2347 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (244)
2 star
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1 star
 (104)
Performance
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  •  
    Anita Riegelsville, PA, United States 10-05-10
    Anita Riegelsville, PA, United States 10-05-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    159
    ratings
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    "Must be me..."

    I tried, but I couldn't like this book. Might have been better to read it. Relentlessly precocious childlike voices annoy me. It's an unusual story, hence two credits, but I was so aware of the adult logic and sophistication behind the cuteness of Jacks narration, that it felt hopelessly mawkish to me.
    Normally I wouldn't comment if I didn't like the book, but reviews often drive my selection, and if you don't like movies with wise little kids speaking quasi-adult dialog,give it a pass.

    72 of 76 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Shelter Island, NY, United States 09-16-10
    Kathleen Shelter Island, NY, United States 09-16-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    118
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    "A truly memorable read"

    I loved this book, and listened to it a second time with my mother. It is a book that wants to be shared. My memories of my early years with her were evoked by this book. The narrators, especially "Jack", were fantastic. Initially it appears to be primarily a story about a child--who adapts and flourishes in a truly horrible situation, and then adjusts to an entirely new experience. It makes believable, in a very personal way, children's ability to tolerate and grow as long as they are loved, no matter what the impoverished circumstances they are born to. However, the more profound story is that of Jack's mother, whose adaptation to abuse, deprivation, and loneliness was much more difficult because she was an adult when it began, and became a mother soon thereafter. The gift of her commitment to her child's safe and happy life, under terrible circumstances, is remarkable. The book deserves the accolades it has received, and the narration here is a worthy presentation of it.

    108 of 115 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caitland Lexington, KY, United States 12-18-10
    Caitland Lexington, KY, United States 12-18-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
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    "Good book... Buy it in print"

    The little kid voice is excruitiating to listen to for hours on end. The book is very good, very worth reading but I would definitely buy it in print. It's tortuous to listen to the exaggerated baby voice of the 5-year-old.

    I bought it because it was one of the best rated books on Audible. Unfortunately, the other reviewers seem to be assessing just the book and not the narration.

    46 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thor, goT 03-29-11
    Thor, goT 03-29-11 Member Since 2009

    A former globetrotting surf punk turned homeowner with ecclectic tastes. Classics, horror, crime, biographies or lectures? Yes please!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
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    4
    Overall
    "Unlistenable"

    This seems like a creative story idea, which I am sure will likely make a fantastic movie...but this audiobook presentation is unlistenable. I barely got an hour or two into this and had to give up, as most of it is narrated in a little kid's voice as events are described with the thought and speech patterns of a young child (sometimes, very unconvincingly)...after a short while it began to grate on my nerves to such a degree I don't think I will ever revisit this. It is like being stuck in the car with someone else's chatty 5 year old...who you begin to realize is describing some horrific abuse. I can't imagine how they chose this presentation...who could possibly listen to this for hours and hours?!?!

    30 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Enzo Austin, TX, United States 09-29-10
    Enzo Austin, TX, United States 09-29-10 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    "Not worth the time or $"

    This story had so much potential, but had so many flaws. The narration during first quarter of the book was like listening to a 3 year old with bad grammar for hours. The only reason that I continued the book is because I was held hostage on an airplane and was able to fast-forward. Jack was able to go from reading at an adult level to talking like a 2 year old. The controversy over breast feeding was also handled very poorly by the author. It seemed like she just wanted you to react to the comments. I have listened to over 100 audiobooks and this one is at the bottom.

    29 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Williamsburg, VA, United States 10-21-12
    Sue Williamsburg, VA, United States 10-21-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I can't think of any positives"
    Would you try another book from Emma Donoghue and/or the narrators?

    Not the child like narrator---I don't need children whining in my ears


    Has Room turned you off from other books in this genre?

    yes


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Too much child whining


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Room?

    The whole tooth thing was disgusting...if the author was trying to make a point, I think it could have been better served with some other imagery.


    Any additional comments?

    After all the critical reviews, ths was very disappointing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada 09-03-11
    Paul Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada 09-03-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good if you like having a 4 year old whining ..."

    To give the narrator credit, she is actually very good at capturing the whining of the four year old in the story. So if you think a little kid whining is cute, the narration is good. Otherwise, be warned.
    For the author, the premise is interesting to capture the poor mother and chid's predicament from the child's perspective. But I have a few problems with the approach:
    1) there is way too much time spent in that perspective.
    2) while I am no parent of a 4 year old, I cannot believe a child that young can know some of the things the author put into his voice
    3) and, really, are all that whining necessary?
    Overall, the plot and the story is good in its disturbing way... But read it only if you like having a 4 year old kid around you

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gaylene 10-05-10
    Gaylene 10-05-10 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Tedious"

    Although I understand how people may be moved by the situation of a innocent character born into a horrible captivity, I found the tale and narration tedious. Presenting the story from the point of view of a child denies the opportunity to meaningfully analyze the impact of the setting. Also, I did not like the main character's voice being that of a child. It conveyed a flat, emotionless take on a truly sad story. After such wonderful reviews, I was disappointed.

    19 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS, United States 06-22-12
    Cindy FRIENDSWOOD, TEXAS, United States 06-22-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Don't waste your time."

    Worst narration, hands down. I don't understand how it got so many good reviews. The only reason I kept listening was because I knew it had to get better, buy it never did.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, United States 04-28-12
    Joy STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, United States 04-28-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Bad Choice for narrator"
    What disappointed you about Room?

    The voice chosen as the narrator. I couldn't stand it. I understand that it is a child that is narrating the book, but whoever they chose for the narrator is AWFUL!!! So sad that I bought and couldn't listen to any of it :-(


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Room?

    I couldn't listen to the book because I hated the voice of the narrator


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of the narrators?

    ANYONE else!!!


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Room?

    I never got to listen to it because I couldn't stand the narrator's voice


    Any additional comments?

    I really wanted to listen to this book because my wife had read the story and loved it. That is why I gave the story 5 stars although I never actually listened to the book because of what I stated above. I work a lot and in my car a lot so that is why I use audibooks. May be one day I can READ this book, but I CANNOT listen to it. The narrator's voice is like finger nails on a chalkboard

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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