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Room: A Novel


Room: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780316129114
ISBN10: 0316129119
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.


A 5-year-old narrates a riveting story about his life growing up in a single room where his mother aims to protect him from the man who has held her prisoner for seven years since she was a teenager. 125,000 first printing.

About the Author

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is a writer of contemporary and historical fiction whose novels include the bestselling Slammerkin, The Sealed Letter, Landing, Life Mask, Hood, and Stirfry.Her story collections are The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Kissing the Witch, and Touchy Subjects. She also writes literary history, and plays for stage and radio. She lives in London, Ontario, with her partner and their two small children. For more information, go to www.emmadonoghue.com.

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Gypsi, March 8, 2011 (view all comments by Gypsi)

Room is told in the first person point of view by Jack, who just turned five years old on the day the book opened.

Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I'm changed to five, abracadabra.

Jack lives alone with his mother, and as he is her only companion and source of conversation, he has an advanced vocabulary and conversation skills which are obvious from his narration. Also because his mother ("Ma") is his only source of information about the world, except for minimal television, his is unusually naive and at times backward for his age. Donoghue does an excellent job giving Jack a voice that is at once believable and emotionally stirring.

Through Jack's eyes we view his world: one room and Ma. He narrates an average day (though a bit different as it's his birthday) for the reader, not realizing that there is anything unusual about the way his days play out. The reader however, sees what Jack doesn't: that Ma is making enormous sacrifices to keep Jack's world as "normal" as possible.

I don't want to spoil it by telling much of the plot, beyond what might be read on the blurb, but I will say that reading this I am reminded of Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful, in that a parent is making enormous sacrifices that the child never sees, and is able to live somewhat normally and happily as a result.

Room is five chapters, but essentially three parts. First, Jack gives a picture of daily life. Heartbreaking for the reader, matter of fact for him, as he tells about the things he and Ma do during an average day. Without realizing it, he shows Ma as a woman struggling with mental illness, doing the best she can to hold it together for her son, while he is an exuberant, generally happy, nearly typical five year old, doing five year old things.

The second part of the book is when Jack and Ma leave Room for Outside. This is very traumatic for them both, in differing ways. Jack has never been Outside or seen other people and the sensory overload is well told in his voice, as is Ma's attempts to stay mentally strong while suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome--though through his eyes the experience looks quite different.

The last part of the book is the triumphant finale. It is again beautifully told through Jack's voice as he and Ma succeed in be "scrave" (brave even though scared) and life begins fresh for them.

I have seen many negative comments, written about such trifling things, that I was shocked. Room is the most fantastic book I have read in some time; definitely the best I've read in 2011, but possibly the best I've read in 2010 as well. It is heartbreaking at times, yes, but it is also such a hopeful book, a book of triumph and love. I highly recom
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Product Details

A Novel
Little, Brown and Co.
Donoghue, Emma
Emma Donoghue
Audiobooks -- Fiction.
Audio Books-Literature
Audio Books-Mystery and Horror
Literature-A to Z
Foreign Languages-Korean
Foreign Languages-Chinese
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

Room: A Novel
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 321 pages Little, Brown - English 9780316129114 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A 5-year-old narrates a riveting story about his life growing up in a single room where his mother aims to protect him from the man who has held her prisoner for seven years since she was a teenager. 125,000 first printing.
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