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  • Room
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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Format: Library Binding|Change

on 14 October 2017
This book needs to be written from the perspective of more than one character. Jack's five year old voice becomes monotonous and unrealistic as the author attempts to tell all aspects of the story (including adult viewpoints) through him. I also found his character to be inconsistant. His education and knowledge seem very advanced for a boy who has just turned five, yet his mother doesn't correct him when he repeatedly uses baby grammar like 'hurted', 'forgetted.' Also does any child, anywhere really think that burying a dead person results in them growing into a new person? Honestly!
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on 28 August 2017
Category: Emotional

Synopsis: Jack is a 5-year-old boy who has never set foot outside the confines of the tiny shed where his mother is held captive by her abuser. Narrated from Jack’s innocent perspective, the novel follows his ‘Ma’ and her attempts to save him from their desperately mundane and unnatural existence. But even if she can find a way to escape, will she and Jack be able to survive in a world that has been a stranger to them for years?

Review: The most unusual aspect of Room is that it is narrated entirely from the little boy’s point of view. Some readers might find such simplicity of language trying, especially alongside the inevitably poor grammar! Other reviews have also expressed frustration at the inherent restriction in this approach, as they are unable to access the thoughts of Jack’s mother throughout her ordeal. However, I found myself enchanted with his view of the world; Donoghue perfectly captures a child’s wonder and creativity. My favourite example of this is Jack’s description of a sunset:

‘I watch God’s face falling slow slow, even orangier and the clouds are all colours, then after there’s streaks and dark coming up so bit-at-a-time I don’t see it till it’s done.’

I thought this bright imaginative perspective was a stark contrast to Ma, whose suffering is evident. She sometimes falls into a dark depression that Jack calls ‘Gone’. In my opinion, his naïve descriptions make the realities of the pair’s situation even more haunting.

The plot of Room moves relatively steadily, but slows down a touch in certain places. I did not find this an issue; rather I enjoyed the opportunity to savour Jack’s captivating observations. Some of his remarks can be disarmingly accurate: ‘I remember manners, that’s when persons are scared to make other persons mad.’ Donoghue’s incredible realisation of her characters was strong enough to keep me continually engaged. Jack and Ma are certainly going to stay with me for a long time after finishing this book.

Favourite quote: ‘I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter over all the world… so there’s only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit’.

Read if: you want a unique novel that is touching and life-affirming
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2012
I didn't have any expectations of this book when I downloaded it. I was looking for an easy read which had a few good reviews - my criteria was very basic! However, it was an absolute delight to read.
The main plot is based around a young boy Jack, who is the child of a kidnap victim. Jack has lived in his entire life in the small shed where the kidnapper keeps his Mother and himself. "Room" is his world, and he has no comprehension of anything that exists outside of "Room". Slowly but surely he starts to gain a basic awareness of life outside of "Room", and as the story unravels, he finds himself having to learn to function in the wider world.

One of the reasons for the success of the book is the voice of the storyteller that Donoghue has managed to capture.
Jack has the eloquence of someone much older than his 5 years, but due to his predicament, the naivety of a newborn. He's incredibly cute (in both senses of the word), but at times, bratty and annoying. The characterisation of Jack in particular highlights how confused and upside-down this little boy's world is.

I will definitely be looking out for more novels by this author.
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on 17 July 2011
I can't add much to what everyone else has said below however wanted to put my tuppence worth in anyway. I struggled initially with this book as it is written in the style of a 5 year old's thoughts - a bit haphazard and not completely fluid. However once I got used to the prose, I got deeply into the book and enjoyed it thoroughly. The obvious lave and protectiveness of "Ma" was overwhelming and as a Mum myself, I found myself agreeing to what Ma actually does in this book. In the same hand, the unconditional love that Jack has for his Mum leaps off the pages and ever when he questions her actions, he still clearly loves her. I won't ruin the book for anyone who wishes to read it but long after I read the last page, I thought of the characters which to me means it was a good book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars as it was slightly predictable however this didn't detract my enjoyment form the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone - though it you are pregnant or a new Mum, I would avoid this as you will probably cry throughout.
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on 10 March 2017
We read this for our book group and found it moving and intriguing. Whilst some of the plot seems implausible in the second half of the novel, we had to remind ourself that the horrific situation that makes up the plot has been a reality for more than one young woman. Worth persevering if you find the first few pages irritating.
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on 10 May 2017
Good book but not the most intriguing story I've ever read. These things are all down to personal taste and so many people raved about this book that I thought I would try it. I did enjoy it but as I said, it was not the most exciting book I've ever read.
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on 12 August 2017
Amazing. Jack's voice hooks you in immediately, I was in awe of Emma's writing as soon as I read the first page. Once Ma decides to tell Jack the truth and plans to escape, I couldn't put the book down. Jack's character was so believable - I can't imagine how many edits it would've taken to get every sentence consistent in his voice. What an unnerving story. Ma's love is so strong, she agrees to go back to Room - I'm not sure I could ever do that for my child.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves to read contemporary fiction and also to every writer of fiction.
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on 17 October 2017
The room is a heartrending story told from the point of view of a five year old boy. It's one of those stories which astounded me with a child resilience. I was so taken I have actually bought a second copy to give away.
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on 22 July 2017
This book is incredibly well written. The subject matter made it a bit difficult to read at times but definitely worth it in the end. It can be very sad at times but also hopeful. I would definitely recommend.
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on 27 August 2017
Room was recommended to me by my mother in law who described it as 'disturbing in parts' and although that is true for some reason it draws you in. You become attached to both Jack and ma, feeling like you almost know them. It's a slow moving story which only adds to this sense of connection. You learns the ins and outs of their everyday lives making it almost real. I've never had a great imagination but the fine details presented with every aspect ensure the reader can visualise exactly what jack sees. I'd highly recommend this book
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