Skip to main content

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Five year-old Jack is very close to his Ma. They spend all day, every day together. Except when Jack goes into Wardrobe at night so Old Nick can have his way with Ma. Jack and Ma live in Room, surrounded by all the things that are important to Jack, including Rug and Bed and Wardrobe, of course. This is the world Jack has known since he was born, right here in Room. Old Nick lives in Outside but Jack has never actually been there. He's seen things on TV, but Ma has always explained that the things on TV aren't real. Until Jack's 5th birthday, when she tells him that Outside is real and it's filled with people just like them.

I've been reading about Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue for a long time now. It seems like everyone has read it and recommended it. So when it was chosen for my book club's February book, I was excited to finally take the time to read it myself. The first half of the book takes place in Room, where we learn all about the only world Jack has ever know, all from his personal perspective. The second half of the book moves to Outside, where we watch as Ma and Jack try to adapt to the real world after being locked away for so many years.

It's been about a week since I finished this book. Usually I write reviews right after reading a book but I felt like I needed to think about this one first. On the one hand, the voice of Jack quite honestly annoyed me at times. It was a bit of a struggle to read every single word in the voice of a 5 year old. But the overall story is amazingly well done.

The world that Donoghue has created in Room, and the perspective of a boy who has only ever known this one 11x11 square of the world, seems spot on. Then, when they transition to Outside, the interactions with people, including Ma's family, and the sensory issues Jack has to deal with also seem extremely realistic. I'm fascinated by the way Donoghue brought all of this together into a story of the love between a mother and a son. And I do have to say that the book wouldn't be nearly as compelling if it were told in someone else's voice.

On the surface, this book doesn't seem all that amazing. But when I really sat down and thought about the overall idea and the way Donoghue executed it, I am quite impressed.

My Rating: 4/5

Take a look inside Room

Reading group guide to Room

This review was written based on a copy of Room that I purchased.


  1. I keep coming across reviews of this at the moment and am pleased it is on my wishlist.

  2. I really must get around to this book as it's currently sat in my TBR pile. Good review :)

  3. Good review! Now I want to read it even more! PS I am a new follower!

  4. Sorry, that wasn't supposed to be anonymous.

  5. Great review, Julie. I agree with what you said about the second half of the book, though I didn't want to give away anything that happened in my review, but I'm glad you mentioned it so I could talk about it. I actually thought the book jacket even gave too much away - that's just me - I like to be surprised by a book! But, I was really fascinated by their adaptation to the real world and would love to read it for a book group so I could discuss it! Great choice for book group.



Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Mundie Moms are hosting the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop in honor of Independence Day in the United States, and I've decided to participate.

To stick with the theme of Independence Day, I'm doing what I did last year for this hop:

I'm giving away a book of your choice that is written by an author from the United States.
It can be any genre as long as the author is from the United States. You choose the book (up to $15), and I'll order it and have it mailed to you from Book Depository.

The contest ends on Thursday, July 5th at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Happy 4th of July! I hope you have a safe and fun holiday!

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now check out all of the other giveaways you can enter at the links below!

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This week, I'm participating in the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop hosted by I'm a Reader, Not a Writer.

I'm giving away a book of your choice 
up to $10 from Book Depository.
It's that simple. Just visit  Book Depository and choose any book that is selling for $10 or less.

This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address (click here to check). The contest ends on Monday, March 5, 2012, at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be picked using and notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, just leave a comment telling me what book you want to win.

Check out all the other participants in the giveaway hop!