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Room Paperback – 7 Jan 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Main Market Ed. edition (7 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330519026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330519021
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,477 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Emma Donoghue's writing is superb alchemy, changing innocence into horror and horror into tenderness. Room is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days (Audrey Niffenegger, author of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE)

Room is one of the most profoundly affecting books I've read in a long time. Jack moved me greatly. His voice, his story, his innocence, his love for Ma combine to create something very unusual and, I think, something very important . . . Room deserves to reach the widest possible audience (John Boyne, author of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS)

I've never read a more heart-burstingly, gut wrenchingly compassionate novel . . . As for sweet, bright, funny Jack, I wanted to scoop him up out of the novel and never let him go (Daily Mail)

This is a truly remarkable novel. It presents an utterly unique way to talk about love, all the while giving us a fresh, expansive eye on the world in which we live (New York Times Book Review)

Startlingly original and moving . . . Endearing and as utterly compelling as The Lovely Bones (Scotsman)

This book will break your heart . . . It is the most vivid, radiant and beautiful expression of maternal love I have ever read (Irish Times)

I loved Room. Such incredible imagination, and dazzling use of language. And with all this, an entirely credible, endearing little boy. It's unlike anything I've ever read before (Anita Shreve)

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

115 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Being aware of the rather unappealing premise of 'Room', it wasn't a book I wanted to read. Despite the praise heaped upon it, I had expected it to be the sort of voyeuristic account of great suffering that passes as entertainment these days. My book group however, were keen to read it, and so I acquiesced agreeing to give it a try. I have to say my original assumption was well wide of the mark. Right from the beginning it is obvious that this novel is something special.

The story (as you probably already know) is narrated by 'Jack', a five year old, who has only ever lived in 'Room'. Jack's mother has been kidnapped and held for seven years. Jack is the product of her kidnapper's unwanted attentions. Knowing the book had a child narrator had also put me off reading it. I tend to find that books written with a child's voice are normally pretentious and hard to read. Room's Booker prize nomination had done nothing to allay these fears.

Although Jack's voice is not entirely consistent with how I imagine a five-year-olds might be, it is the making of the novel. For a start, that something so pure and innocent can come from such bleak circumstances, makes the novel bearable. Secondly, Emma Donaghue uses Jack's over-simplified understanding of the world almost without fault. She uses the space between reality and Jack's view of reality to convey events in a much more powerful way than writing about them directly. The whole novel is the ultimate example of 'showing' rather than 'telling'.

It is curious that the most exciting point of the novel is about halfway through. Though I feel novel's the gradual relaxation of tension is entirely justified (mirroring, Jack's return to something like a normal life), it does make the last half of the novel feel over long.
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269 of 286 people found the following review helpful By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a book I hadn't heard much about prior to picking it up (I try to avoid too overly-hyped novels), but I'm so glad that I gave this a chance. There's not a lot I can add to all the previous reviews and comments that hasn't already been said, other than to afirm that this is a bloody good read.

Told from the point of view of five year old Jack, the novel sees him and his mother living in `Room,' a place the child has never left in his whole life. Unbeknownst to him however, that is because he and his mother are both prisoners and this little boy's world is about to be turned entirely upside down...

I am in awe at the authors ability to consistently maintain the voice of a child in telling this story; granted an incredibly *smart* child, but a child nonetheless. This is what for me made this book so fascinating, because Jack is such a memorable narrator. Also, the relationship between a mother and child who ultimately only have each other was told such in a moving way that for me that was the essence of the novel, despite the sinister plot twists, which were granted, a bit predictable but still very well portrayed.

I adored this book and couldn't put it down. The storyline is compelling, despite the sad turns of events, and characters are incredibly skilfully developed and believable. I would urge everyone to read this book- you won't be sorry you did.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Cfr07 on 22 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This isn't a book which I would noramlly read but with all the hype over it I decided to give it a go. It is about Jack, a 5yr old boy, and his mom who live in an 11ft sq room. When she was 19 "Ma" was kidnapped and has been held hostage in this room since, Jack being born about 2yrs into her captivity. Jack acts as the narrator in the book. I found the first half of the book quite tedious and I skimmed over several of the first 60 pages which seemed to waffle on in a slightly incoherent manner. I found Jack as the narrator unbelievable and the jarring language quite distracting. In one sentence his language skills seemed very backward yet a couple of sentences on he would surprise you with rather advanced vocab. You got the impression he was supposed to be quite advanced in some areas i.e language/knowledge but more socially inept than the average 5yr old, however, I felt this was contradictory. I didn't feel any emotional connection with the book and was miffed at how some of the press reviews were "amazed" at how the author came up with such a unique story. In my mind the story is far from unique and had quite a few similarities to the Jacyee Lee Dugard and Josef Fritzel stories. I will say that the second half of the book was better and I did feel the need to finish it to the end and find out what happened to Jack and Ma. I only gave it 3* because it kept me reading until the end otherwise it would have been a strong 2*. Disappointing
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By @Scattered_Laura on 24 May 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is tremendous. This is one of those books that you pick up and then everything else in your world just has to take a back seat. There is no way that you're going to put it down when you begin. Donoghue's story is just so compelling.

The story is told through the voice of five year old Jack whose entire world measures 12 x 12 feet. As far as Jack believes, there is absolutely nothing beyond Room, the universe in which he lives. He has friends in room: old toys, the television (Dora is one of his favourite friends) and his "Ma". Room has its own host of landmarks which Jack thinks of in haunting, proper-noun terms: Rug, Wardrobe, Bed, Meltedy Spoon (a[...]) etc.

At first, when readers enter Room and encounter Jack and his Ma, the world is a quiet, innocent place because it is seen through Jack's quiet, innocent eyes. He is inexperienced and knows nothing of the possibilities of outside. Ma nurtures his beliefs and, at the same tame, allows herself to cling to her own desperate sanity.

However, as Jack grows and his mind becomes more curious, the reader is exposed to true horrors which Jack cannot understand. We hear (through the doors of Wardrobe) his mother being raped by the man who has kept her locked in Room for the last seven years; we squirm uncomfortably as the young mother continues to breastfeed her growing boy (he even notes in an offhand fashion which breast is creamiest...eww), but it took me a while to figure out that this was what Jack was talking about.His innocence was transferred even to me! Which made my realisation all the more disturbing.

Jack's father and captor is a Fritzl-esque character who is truly detestable. It is a shame that we can relate real-life tales to the fictional world of Room.
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