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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.

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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathleen
  • Shelter Island, NY, United States
  • 09-16-10

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.

126 of 134 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Caitland
  • Lexington, KY, United States
  • 12-18-10

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.

127 of 136 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anita
  • Riegelsville, PA, United States
  • 10-05-10

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.

133 of 144 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Worst performance I ever listened to.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would not recommend listening to it (reasons explained below). I would recommend reading it. It is a fascinating, horrifying tale.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked that the story was told primarily from the child's perspective.

How could the performance have been better?

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.

Do you think Room needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?


9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars


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?!?!

81 of 90 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joy
  • STERLING HEIGHTS, MI, United States
  • 04-28-12

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

22 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elizabeth
  • Bellevue, WA, United States
  • 05-28-12

Stunning throughout

At times the story is difficult and heart-wrenching, and other times it is hopeful and satisfying. Sometimes I felt physically ill while learning of Ma & Jack's experiences. And despite all that turmoil, it was a truly amazing story, although not for everyone. The story, told through 5 year old Jack, is about Jack and his Ma who are held hostage in an 11x11 room. Just the premise of the story will rule out some readers, and that is ok: you need to be able to hear of their difficulties, their triumphs and their failures.

This is one of the best audio books I've ever listened to. Different narrators voice those in the story, and when you listen to Jack, you really believe you are listening to a five year old. Stunning.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

42 of 50 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Best since The Help

In Plato's Allegory of the Cave, he says that if we were all prisoners chained in a cave, we would think shadows cast in the cave by the surface world were reality, and that if we were let out of the cave to see the surface world we wouldn't believe it. I wonder if Emma Donoghue decided to retell the allegory from the point of view of a five year old.

I confess that at first I didn't care for the 5 year old's narrator, but I let that go because the story is so well written. It does not for a second insult the intelligence. Imagine a book written from a science fiction perspective about what life is like on our planet. And the person telling you is five. And he has passing knowledge of the world but only through what is shown on television. This is that book.

Like The Help, this book uses several narrators which was a great choice. I am only at the halfway mark, but unless the end is horribly disappointing, I am halfway to one of the best books I've downloaded this year.

45 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars


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.

25 of 30 people found this review helpful