Customer Review

244 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, intelligent and utterly gripping, 18 July 2010
This review is from: Room (Hardcover)
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This is a genuinely original, imaginative and ambitious novel which Donoghue pulls off brilliantly. Written through the voice and perspective of 5 year old Jack, we witness his happy and secure solitary life with his mother in Room. Playing on the tradition of other naive child-narrators (e.g. Pip in Great Expectations, Maisie in What Maisie Knew) we experience his exuberant take on what he naturally assumes is normal, only the sinister implications of their life seep through the edges to unsettle us as readers, revealing a far more menacing reality that he doesn't see.

This isn't a plot driven novel full of twists and turns, instead it is an intelligent and detailed exploration of the way the human mind constructs its own reality. Full of tenderness as well as pain, this celebrates the relationship created by this young mother with her son, and reveals the enormous potential for resilience in the human spirit.

The second half of the book where Jack experiences Outside for the first time is fresh and imaginative, sometimes funny but also agonising as this solemn 5 year old understands for the first time that the world doesn't consist of just him and his mother, and that the rules which they lived by can, and should, be broken.

There are a few small points where Donoghue stumbles (the first TV interview felt very false and forced; some of Jack's naivety towards the end takes on the tinge of adult satire and I felt like it was the author, not the character, talking about how people have too little time to enjoy their lives).

But these are small niggles in a powerful and overwhelmingly confident narrative. I started this in the afternoon and was literally unable to put the book down till I finished it that night and even after that Jack's voice still haunted me. It's quite rare for me to be really gripped by a contemporary literary novel but this one managed it effortlessly: highly recommended.
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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Aug 2010 22:26:13 BDT
police999 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2010 19:47:53 GMT
I would say that to reveal anymore of the details of what the book is 'actually about' might ruin the book. All I can do is echo the comments already made, and urge you to read 'Room'.

Posted on 13 Nov 2010 14:25:47 GMT
BR says:
Good review, but I feel as though you may have revealed a little too much of the plot.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Dec 2010 01:27:29 GMT
I have to say I agree that there may be a couple of spoilers here (e.g. am I now going to know that they get Outside etc) however, on the strength of this review, I'm about to buy this for my kindle and get reading, so job well done. Thank you!

Posted on 2 Jan 2011 20:26:56 GMT
R. Athey says:
Thank you for your great review, however after just reading the 1st line and a couple below that i now dont feel the need to read it as you have given away so much!!! I hope you enjoyed your 1st experience of reading this book because i will NOT now!

Posted on 28 Jan 2011 15:05:26 GMT
I absolutely loved this book - could not put it down!!! Its full of highs and lows! I miss Jack and his mom. I have recommended it to all my friends

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2011 17:44:16 GMT
totally agree = having just downloaded the sample to my kindle i wanted to gather views of other people before downloading it - but now I know what happens to them - shame that this was given away :(

Posted on 5 Jul 2011 16:31:22 BDT
Monday says:
It really isn't helpful to give so much away, fortunately I have read the book but you have spoiled it for anyone reading this review prior to purchasing the book.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2014 16:27:53 BDT
Steve G says:
You just added to the spoil. I won't be buying the book now.
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Location: London

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