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.
– blurb from Goodreads
I’m a little at a loss of words. I have to applaud Donoghue for writing a dark, horrific story from the point of view of a five year old. There is no way that was easy and I’m impressed. But reading the thoughts of a five year old soon became incredibly tedious and I was bored. I started skimming pages, trying to break away from reading their daily routines and to a point in the story where the plot was actually moving. Even when that began happening, I couldn’t stop myself from hoping that the novel would become a little more interesting. In that aspect, I was disappointed.
I’m fascinated (which concerns me, don’t worry) by the things that go on in this world that are tremendously fucked up. I’ve watched many documentaries/read many books on serial killers, cults, and all those sorts of things but I’m always able to get some sort of relief from the gross feeling once they’re finished. It’s been a good ten minutes and I’m still shaken by Room. I feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Isn’t it the job of the author to provide an amazing conclusion that makes everything feel okay in the end? Maybe I’ve been spoiled with endings in the past.
I don’t regret reading Room and that’s mainly for two reasons. The first being that it’s also the first book I’ve read this year, and the second being that it’s part of my Goodreads Choice Awards Challenge. Honestly, if you take those factors away, I’m pretty bummed that I put time into this book. It’s a great idea and so many people think it’s an amazing story, but it’s not my cup of tea.