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Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue’s Room has been so incredibly hyped up online that I couldn’t help but go into it with exceedingly high expectations, but unfortunately none of them were met. The book itself has received a variety of awards and nominations, including being shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2010, all of which I can’t quite wrap my head around because like I said, I just didn’t enjoy this book.

Room, as five-year-old Jack calls home, is the only place he’s ever known. But for his mother, it’s been her prison since she was abducted seven years ago. The story is compelling – a mother’s love creates a world for her son in a single room, even as she grows more and more desperate to escape.

The book itself is narrated by Jack, and that’s where my issues with this book began. To wholeheartedly enjoy (or even tolerate) a book I usually have to find some sort of connection to it, but the fact that this was narrated by a five-year-old boy made it nearly impossible to do so. I applaud Emma Donoghue for being able to write this way. Not only has she shown the world from the perspective of a child, but the language is also that of a child. I have not read other books aimed at adults from the perspective of a child, but after reading Room I guarantee I won’t be. I couldn’t stand it. I was irritated and skimming over paragraphs at certain points simply because I was so infuriated by the boy.

This book could have been incredible. The entire time I couldn’t help but wonder the difference in my rating had it been told from the perspective of the mother, or better yet multiple POV between the mother, Jack and the kidnapper.

There were certain point plots throughout this novel that failed to impress me. I couldn’t wrap my head around the ending (not that I much cared at this point) and then the mothers willingness to re-visit her former prison.

Ultimately, Room had a lot of potential. The premise and the hype and discussion surrounding this book promises a beautifully life-changing read, however with topics like these I think they are always safer explored from the perspective of an adult. Or better yet, maybe I will just read true-life accounts.

Unfortunately, I was not impressed

2 stars.



  1. I had forgotten all about this book. I might have to re-read it because I can’t remember whether I liked it or not! I do remember being frustrated by parts of the story, however.

    • It’s a bit of a shame I wasn’t overly impressed by this one considering how many rave reviews there are! Oh well – each to their own!

  2. Pingback: Books that have made me want to learn something once I finished them. | Nica Reads

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