Room by Erica Donoghue

Room is a literary classic!  Truly this book takes you from the darkness into the light.  It creeps up, gradually and then grabs you and does not let you go until you have read and absorbed every last word.


Room is a novel by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue. She is an Irish born playwright and novelist now living in Canada.  She was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 24 October, 1969 and educated at Cambridge University, England and University College, Dublin, Ireland.  This best selling novel was a worthy nominee for the Man Booker Prize in 2010.  Room is that rarest of entities, an entirely original work of art.  It is one of the most profoundly affecting books I have read in a long time.  I defy you to read this book in more than one sitting.

The story is told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy, Jack, who is being held captive in a small room along with his mother.  Jack’s world fits into an eleven-foot square garden shed. Room is where he was born and where he has lived all his life, with his “Ma”, and the story, narrated from young Jack’s perspective, explores the life of a child who has never felt sunlight, never smelled fresh air and of course, has never met anyone other than him and his mother: and Old Nick, the man responsible for abducting Ma and continually raping her.


As Jack grows older, almost reaching the wise age of six, he is increasingly curious about “Room” and whether there really is an outside world other than the television.  This leads his Ma to realise that they will need to escape the imprisonment they have been confined to.

Throughout the novel, Jack tells us about his daily routine in Room, from “Phys Ed”.  This is running in circles around the shed: “cooking” lessons which comprise pressing the button on the electric oven and to screaming for help at night, standing under the skylight.  The horrifying tale is told with a straightforward child-like innocence.

Shortly after Jack’s fifth birthday, his Ma starts to tell him about “Outside”. But he thinks they are only fantasy.  However, when Ma insists that it is true, Yet Jack finds the idea of an outside world incomprehensible.

Then Ma tells him they need to escape shattering his small world.

I found it really clever how Jack tells what he innocently sees whilst the reader realises exactly what is going on.

Room is not a frightening book, but rather, an interesting yet sad perspective of a young boy and his differences to other kids his age, due to being in confinement all his life. A must-read for all readers who want to brave something different.  I found this book by chance in my village library and  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.


1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on normanjkennedy and commented:
    Very troubling – but great book


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: