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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 (4946 )
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4.2 (2391 )
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Performance
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  •  
    LSR Atlanta 01-06-11
    LSR Atlanta 01-06-11 Member Since 2013

    LSR

    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
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    "I must have missed something"

    I thought I would love this book. It had all of the promise of a thriller, victim turning heroine, courtroom drama, childhood naive character....but when I listened, it just didn't seem to go anywhere. I am often frustrated when characters aren't fully developed nor does the plot have closure and I felt this, with this book. I never really figured out what happened to the antagonist, no closure around the feelings of the parents, etc. Sorry, I really, really waned to like it.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Longmont, CO, United States 01-01-11
    Joan Longmont, CO, United States 01-01-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    "I'm Not Getting It"

    For the life of me, I cannot figure out why this is so popular. The story is okay, but it is like reading People Magazine, you just want the dirt of the story. I found no literary craft to this story, and it was a painful audio book. Be prepared to listen to an irritating fake child's voice for most of the ten hours. I'm obviously in the minority, but I'd be very cautious to recommend it.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SWynne 12-15-10
    SWynne 12-15-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    "Room"

    The child's perspective was a little unrealistic...., as I believe that a child 5 years can adjust quickly. Not enough insight into the mother's trauma........, all of a sudden she was suicidal..., there should have been more on that and what she went through. It was an OK read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura New York, NY, United States 10-19-10
    Laura New York, NY, United States 10-19-10 Member Since 2010

    Laura the Listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
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    46
    13
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    "I missed adult conversation"

    I have reservations about this book for two reasons. The first is a personal preference in that I found it too disturbing. But then again, I am the type who can't watch horror movies because I think about them all night and freak myself out, and that's pretty much what happened with Room. If you don't tend to do that to yourself, you could take this reservation with a grain of salt.

    The second is that I started to feel a small piece of what Ma must have in the book when she was held captive with Jack: I just wanted to have an adult conversation.

    For the first part of the book, I felt the voice of a child worked very well, and in a way it shelters the ready from some of the realities Ma must have faced. But by the climax in the middle, I was ready for a grown up.

    The second half of the book had its charming moments, but Jack's revelations could have come from any child, whether in his situation or not.

    Overall, a very clever, unique, idea, but I'm not buying the hype.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megan 07-21-12
    Megan 07-21-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    101
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    3
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    "Ratings for the Narrator"

    I tried to power through- sometimes narrators grow on you- I only made it to the first hour. I've heard its a great book and plan to read it, because I can't stand listening to it. The child's voice is grating.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katheryne MD, United States 05-12-12
    Katheryne MD, United States 05-12-12 Member Since 2015

    Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrible narration. (kid voice)"

    I understand why the narrator used a "kid voice" since this book is from a child's perspective. However, it was just too annoying! I couldn't even make it 30 minutes before turning it off and giving up completely.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christa Rolla, MO, United States 04-02-12
    Christa Rolla, MO, United States 04-02-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "I HAVE NEVER NOT FINISHED AN AUDIOBOOK!"
    Any additional comments?

    I HATED this story and narrator! The kiddie voice and the point of view was awful. I made it about 20 minutes in. I have never not finished an audiobook....it was that bad.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Lincolnville, ME, United States 11-05-11
    Thomas Lincolnville, ME, United States 11-05-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    2
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    "Grating like fingernails on a chalkboard!"

    I couldnt get past the grating, sing-song voice of the child reader The writer chose to omit the word "the" from any sentence the child spoke in the story. Not sure why, but this wasnt cute or funny or endearing, just totally annoying. There was a story there someplace, but it was totally unlistenable for me so I did not end up hearing much of it.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 03-17-11
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 03-17-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    584
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    "What's All The Fuss About?"

    This book reminded me of the Flowers In The Attic series, and that's not a good thing. It was too voyeuristic for my taste. The first half left me feeling that I needed a shower.

    I agree that the kid's voice is grating after a while. By the end of the book, I, too, disliked both Ma and Jack. I was glad to be done with this book.

    I read the book because of its ratings. If you're influenced by them, read the good and the bad and make your own decision. This subject matter and the way its narrated, aren't for everyone.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela J United States 09-16-10
    Pamela J United States 09-16-10 Member Since 2014

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

    HELPFUL VOTES
    802
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    "Brings so many emotions"

    Spoken in the language of a child, this touching, funny, and emotionally draining book feels like a conversation you're having with your favorite niece or nephew. How the author can make something so horrific sound normal (counting your teeth while you wait for the personification of evil to visit your mother) , and what we think of as so normal sound extraordinary (stores aren't real, they're only pretend) is amazing. The narrators are simply the best. I highly recommend this book, but be ready for an emotional rollar coaster.

    36 of 46 people found this review helpful

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