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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2010 Emma Donoghue (P)2010 Hachette Audio
"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)
Laura the Listener
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.
Sure, I'd love to hear your story....
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.
I have listened to it twice - first when it came out, then again when i purchased it on Audible. the voice of jack is very childlike, which has aggravated many reviewers, but also honestly adds to its realism. You can feel his mother and grandmother's frustrations with him... but as an audiobook, it works as a multi-voiced performance.
The little things that Jack and his Ma had to do to survive in Room. the realism of how small a world Jack grew up in, and his ever-expanding knowledge of the outside world around him. In some ways, it reflects every child's excitement and frustration and growing up; in others, it's entirely unique.
the only narrator I am familiar with is Suzanne Toren, but I plan on checking out Ellen Archer - although I will probably always think of her as Jack's Ma.
if you can manage the child's voice of Michal Friedman as Jack - which gets to be a bit much in large doses - this book is a good book.
Emma Donnaghue did a great job of reflecting the complex yet simple life that Jack and his mother led. Jack is incredibly mature in some ways and incredibly naive and immature in others by necessity. She could have made Room a horrible place, with graphic depictions of Jack envisioning his mother's abuse by his captor, but chose to allow his mother to be a protective mother bear, who would not allow her child to see what she lived through. Many topics were handled with sensitivity, yet with the brutal honesty of a child. Well done!
I would not recommend listening to it (reasons explained below). I would recommend reading it. It is a fascinating, horrifying tale.
I liked that the story was told primarily from the child's perspective.
The performers voices, tone, and intensity were inappropriate in nearly all cases. As much as I liked that the story was primarily from the his perspective, Jack could have made his observations without the cloying sense of wonderment at all things. Ma sounded too old for 26 years. Grandma sounded 90 instead of 59. Old Nick had too "normal" a voice. He should have sounded more sinister. I was anxious to finish the book to be done with those voices.
Honestly, I found the voice of the child so annoying that I had to stop listening. The speech as written sounds contrived, and the reader's interpretation of it hit me like fingernails on a chalkboard.
No comment. I had to go to reviews of the novel to find out what the big whoop was. This is a title I'll have to read in print.
Not in this lifetime.
Wife, mom of one amazing son, and I have the second best job in the world, working in a bookstore :)
Of course I would try another book from either.
Something by Christopher Moore
I wouldn't change anyone, it was just the story that I did not care for.
I really wanted to like this story, I just could not get into it.
This is one of the best books I have listened to in a while. A poignantly funny, often bittersweet, eye-opening experience of how a mother's love for her son is limitless. Jack's inquisitve nature is quite amusing - I found myself often giggling out loud. Strength and survival underline the nurturing way "Ma" cares for Jack, despite her bouts of depression. It is a glass half full story in which a woman makes the best of what she can get her hands on, while drawing from her own own childhood memories to create the best possible life for her son, despite the horrific conditions they endure in what they call ROOM. Once out in the world there is so much to learn and see for Jack - and I enjoyed every minute of it. I will miss learning about "outside" with Jack, such is the fresh view of the world through the eyes of a five-year-old!
I purchased this audiobook for a long road trip. I think it's the first time I ever hated to reach my destination. I actually sat in the parking lot for 10 minutes to get to the end of the chapter.
This book has it all - originality, suspense, great characterization, and excellent narration. I was pulled into this story right from the beginning, and it held me until the end. There definitely are sections that are more intense than others, but the story moves very well overall. (I don't want be more specific because it might create spoilers.) It will definitely spur some good discussions, so either listen with someone else, or recommend it to a friend. You will want to talk about it long after the book is over.
I can't say enough about the narration. Each character is presented so well and is so believable, that you find yourself wondering how they accomplished that.
All around A+++
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.
Busy mom who loves to read but doesn't always have the time. I enjoy YA, Romance and the occasional Best Seller.
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.
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