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)
Absolutely captivating story! One of the best I have ever listened to. Did not want it to end. I will be looking for more by this riveting author.
I cannot see what all the hype is about. I also tried to "stick"it out hoping that it would get better, but the whole second part dragged on about his day to day live. I found this to be very boring and had to press myself to stay interested. Never did finish it.
The voice of the narrator was a bit annoying but I am prepared to forgive that. The character is 5 years old and so it makes sense that he would speak in a high pitched voice that only his mother could love hearing. What I had a hard time forgiving is the meandering plot. The author starts by failing to give the audience credit for having any intelligence by continuing to slowly reveal the secret that the mother and child are being held hostage in a small room long after it is obvious. I'll go ahead and give a little bit of a spoiler, if it is possible to call revealing the middle of the book a spoiler, so stop reading here if you care. If the book stopped with the escape I would have described it as as second rate thriller that never developed much tension. From there it just devolves into a wandering "day in the life" description of their acclimation to free living. Throughout it all the author can't seem to make up her mind whether Jack is stunted or gifted as he constantly vacillates between the mentalities of a 3 year old and an 18 year old honors student. He never quite seems quite right for a 5 year old. The mother's character is similarly uneven in her temperment and no other character is every really developed. I am a glutton for punishment who always keeps reading clunker books hoping that they will be one of those rare ones that redeem themselves in the end. This one was just punishing to read without any redemption.
Overall, I thought the book was OK. However, I wasn't blown away by it and I'm not sure if it will truly be one that sticks with me.
Interesting topic (and topic hasn't been too overdone recently)
Interesting perspective (from a 5-year old)
Many stages to the story
Provides closure in some areas
Perspective (of 5-year old) was tiresome at times (would have preferred to be truly written in different voices)
Narrator took awhile to get used to (another reviewer's comment about Elmo wasn't far off - there is a whiny quality that could be hard to take at times)
I found it hard to like some of the characters even after taking into consideration what they had gone through (Ma, the Grandmother)
Overall I don't feel that I wasted my time with this novel, but after reading other reviews I was hoping for much more than was delivered.
First, I'll admit that I haven't yet finished this book, but plan to. I just can't finish the audio version. The narration of the 5-year old character Jack is something that I just cannot stand to listen to anymore. I think that the story is compelling enough to continue but I'm going to have to finish it on the Kindle. Aside from the narration, I find that the author has dwelled far too much on the tedium of living in Room. She could have cut the descriptions of Jack's and Ma's various activities to half the detail and it would have had the same impact for the reader. As it is, it gets beyond tedious. Exactly how many episode of Dora the Explorer do we have to sit through to get that Jack views her as a friend? One other problem that I have is the pseudo-sexual relationship between Jack and his mother. I wouldn't have a problem with the breast-feeding if it were portrayed as necessary to supplement Jack's nutrition. However, it is always described with the borderline lewd phrase "have some". This gets particularly uncomfortable when Jack's Oedipal complex explodes over the idea the "Old Nick" may be "having some." Of course, that is exactly what Old Nick is doing, but not in the manner that Jack perceives. I hope the remainder of the novel picks up speed. Either way I'm going to be reading the printed version. This is the first time I have ever abandoned an audio book in favor of the the hard copy.
The down side of listening to "Room" by Emma Donoghue is that it is nearly impossible to find a book as good to follow it! I consider this audio book to be my best listen to date. I thought the narration of the child's voice was really believable. The situation was similar to several true stories we have heard on the news of kidnapping and imprisonment. Listening to the audio sample of "Room", I was a little unsure if I would like it. I had tried to listen to the book "Me and Emma" by Elizabeth Flock and the narration of the child's voice in it was so annoying to me that I just could not get into the book. I gave it several tries. not wanting to waste my precious credit. When I finished "Room" I immediately went back to the beginning and listened a second time. A very well spent credit for sure!!!!
This was an interesting premise and believable for the most part. There was however far too many miniscule details of the thoughts of a 5 year old. Some of it was tedious and really boring. This story could have been told/written in 1/3 of the time/words. The voice of the child was quite good contrary to what others say – exactly as a 5 year old boy would speak, however, who wants to listen to a 5 year old yammer on for 9+ hours. The first 3 hours were entertaining and made my long drive fly by. By the end of the 9 hour book I was ready to hush this kid. Anyway, good job all around.
I never listen to audiobooks unless I have read the book first. For Room I made an exception because I had a crazy notion of reading the Booker shortlist this year, and I anticipated that the 5-year-old Jack would be fun to listen to -- if the narrator was adequate. Fortunately, Jack is performed well; ma is fine and grows on one, but she seems to enter the narrative as a module, as do many of the voices (perhaps a result of how this recording was produced). The male voices are not so well done.
But so what, ultimately. This novel made me feel weird when I listened to it and I still feel weird a week later, and I imagine I will keep on feeling weird, and if I don't, I'd better listen to it again.
Finally, a comment on the tone of the book -- something that would have helped me in deciding whether to listen to or read it. Terrible as the subject is, the book is quite funny and is decidedly not depressing. Quite the opposite: Good beats Bad.
I just finished Room, and felt that I needed to write a review. I liked the story well enough, except the use of cliche phrases and the odd terminology for common items. I liked the narrator for Jack, although the voice really didn't seem like a real 5 yr old's voice. The other narrators were awful! Ma spoke with a monotone, the accents used by other characters were very bad and contrived. After a while I was really getting annoyed with them, but I continued to listen so I could finish the book.
I think I would have liked to have read Room instead of listening to it.
At first I thought I wouldn't be able to listen to an entire novel narrated in a child's voice, but I really came to enjoy Jack's wonder and amazement at the world "outside." This is a story of the horror of captivity and the fear of the unknown. Jack's "Ma" does such an incredible job of teaching him things he might never get to experience that the listener knows he will be just fine. A touching and satisfying novel.
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