Room: A Novel

By Emma Donoghue
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company, (9/13/2010)
Language:English



Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.44 out of 5 (9 Clubie's ratings)


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To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
 
 

mandarinduck's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:11/7/2011

I wasn't too sure about this book but I'm so glad I gave it a try.  I absolutely loved it.  I listened to the audiobook version and the narration of the story was absolutely eerie in some ways and heartrendingly sweet in others.  A must read.

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Shan's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:6/1/2011

Loved this book!! I loved the perspective of the 5 year old.

Very Unleashable



neeltje's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:4/25/2011



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Alice_Wonder's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:1/7/2011



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Steph's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:11/4/2010

Since my friends and family have tired of me talking about this book, I'm seeking new outlets to praise the fantastic Room.  I must admit, if someone described this book to me, I don't believe I would be compelled to read it...a story about the life of a woman and her son held captive in a room as told by the 5 year old son...forget it!  What they say is true, you cannot judge a book by its cover, or in this case the description on its cover.  Contrary to all my pre-conceived notions the story told from the son, Jack's, perspective only lends to revealing the positive in an otherwise deplorable circumstance.  Jack's wide-eyed amazement at the beauty of the seemingly mundane was a refreshing reminder of how life is largely comprised of  "ordinariness" though it need not be overlooked and in fact should be embraced.  Though Donaghue is careful not to exclude the other reality that life is sometimes hard.  I suspect I am not the only one who sometimes feels overloaded by the mass of information and obligations that occupy our lives and world.  Jack and his mother's experience reinforces a place for simplicity in our lives.  Jack is a hero, not just for the act that changes he and his mother's life, but for his reminder to appreciate what we have. 

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Nick's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:11/1/2010

I give a lot of credit to author Emma Donoghue for taking on an extremely challenging story and making it work. Challenges abound here. It's hard enough to tell a dark story in a way that still allows room for uplifting moments, but to do it from the perspective of a five-year-old boy is particularly challenging. But Donoghue succeeds and the result is Room, a story about a young boy named Jack who has spent his entire life in a tiny room. He and his mother are prisoners, but Jack doesn't know any better because he has never seen the world and his mother has done all she can to keep his spirits up and shield him from the horror all around him. As the story unfolds it is at times unsettling and at times triumphant. The horrors of the situation are handled in a way that is not gratuitous or manipulative and really does offer a window into what it would be like to experience the world for the first time at age 5. It is well written, well paced and gives the reader plenty to think about. Plus if you live in a kind of small place (as I do), it makes you really appreciate the space you do have. And doors.

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Ceci's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:10/31/2010

As I was describing this book to a friend and telling her how much I liked it, it took me a while to register the look of horror and disbelief on her face. “How could you stand reading something like that . . . about that?” was her reaction. Oops. Unlike the savvy publisher that constructed the dust jacket summary, I made the mistake of beginning my description with a summary of the basic plot – a ripped-from-the-headlines story that would give anyone nightmares. But it is difficult not to linger now on these basic plot facts because I still cannot get over how rarely I lingered on the horror of them while I was reading the book. That in a nutshell is the wonder of this book for me. Through Jack’s perspective, horrible circumstances are mundane and even joyful. Mundane and joyful is terrifying, or at least perplexing. Not because anything is wrong with Jack. This is just how his life is. Jack’s voice is so innocently clear, strong, and matter of fact that it is almost impossible to completely withdraw back into your own point of view while you are reading. This is one of the most unusual, original, and well-written books I have read in a while. It will be a great conversation piece for book club. 

Very Unleashable



Book Junky's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:10/27/2010

What a fascinating book. At first it takes a bit to get into the language and flow, but once you do you find yourself thinking like Jack even when you are not reading. (At least I did.) The author creates such a vivid and real world inside of Room it is easy to feel like you are there. But since you are looking through Jack's eyes it is a world you don't necessarily want to leave. With subtleties like this we are really transported into the mind of Jack. Once they get to the outside world I had a harder time believing Jack's reactions. But, none the less, it was an interesting exploration of adapting to the "real" world. Definitely a good book for book clubs! Lots to talk about and explore.



Very Unleashable



Silver's Reviews's thoughts on "Room: A Novel"
updated on:9/4/2010

What hold could Old Nick have over Ma that would make that room her world?  Why didn't she just leave? Or maybe she wasn't able to leave?

Jack's fifth birthday definitely wouldn't be what a normal five-year-old would be delighted with, but Jack was happy to spend the day with his Ma in their ordinary, same-as-always routine.   They spent every day in the "room" with the food and clothing that Old Nick provided for them.

Ma doesn't allow Old Nick to see Jack but she never tells Jack why.  Ma and Jack's days are creatively spent inventing things, measuring everything in the room that has been Ma's space for the past seven years, reading books and changing the characters to suit them, and watching the clock so they know when it is time to eat or sleep.  They never leave their "room," and Jack really doesn't know any better or know anything about the outside world except what his Ma tells him when they read books.

As much as Ma tries to protect and shelter Jack, he begins to question what is beyond the walls they live in.  Ma tries to divert Jack's attention to other things, but sometimes it is unavoidable......especially the night when Jack overheard a conversation between Ma and Old Nick about him and the life Old Nick  provides for her.  

One comment made by Old Nick that stuck in my mind was: "I don't think you appreciate how good you've got it here," "Do you?" Page 69   To me that would be highly questionable....how good could life be simply living in a room and never going outside?

I grew to hate Old Nick and how he treated both of them.  When you find out the "whole" story, you won't want to stop reading.

This book is about fear, abuse, control, a mother's love, and wanting the best for your child.  At first you may want to put the book down, but don't do it....you will share Ma's feelings of fear for Old Nick and her dependence on him and also the heartbreak of Jack's acceptance of the only life he has known.  You will fall in love with sweet, innocent, literal Jack, and you will think about both characters and their experience long after you turn the last page.

To me this was actually a "creative" thriller...excellent storyline. I really liked the book.   5/5

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"Room: A Novel"
By Emma Donoghue

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.44 out of 5 (9 Clubie's ratings)


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 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 
  • Why do you think the entire book is told in Jack’s voice? Do you think it is effective?
  • What are some of the ways in which Jack’s development has been stunted by growing up in Room? How has he benefited?
  • If you were Ma, what would you miss most about the outside world?
  • What would you do differently if you were Jack’s parent? Would you tell Jack about the outside world from the start?
  • If Ma had never given birth to Jack, what would her situation in Room be like?
  • What would you ask for, for Sundaytreat, if you were Jack? If you were Ma?
  • Describe the dynamic between Old Nick and Ma. Why does the author choose not to tell us Old Nick’s story?
  • What does joining the outside world do to Jack? To Ma?
  • What role do you think the media play in the novel?
  • In a similar situation, how would you teach a child the difference between the real world and what they watch on television?
  • Why are we so fascinated by stories of long-term confinement?
  • What were you most affected by in the novel?
  • Clubie Submitted Discussion Questions
    Have a good question? If your a clubie add one now.
     
     


    Editorial Reviews
    Review
    "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 and Her Fearful Symmetry)

    "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, author of The Pilot's Wife and A Change in Altitude )

    "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. I read the book over two days, desperate to know how their story would end . . . Room deserves to reach the widest possible audience." (John Boyne, author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas )

    "Room is that rarest of entities, an entirely original work of art. I mean it as the highest possible praise when I tell you that I can't compare it to any other book. Suffice to say that it's potent, darkly beautiful, and revelatory." (Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and By Nightfall )

    "Powerful.... Seen entirely through Jack's eyes and childlike perceptions, the developments in this novel--there are enough plot twists to provide a dramatic arc of breathtaking suspense--are astonishing.... Donoghue brilliantly portrays the psyche of a child raised in captivity...will keep readers rapt." (Publishers Weekly )

    "Talented, versatile Donoghue relates a searing tale of survival and recovery, in the voice of a five-year-old boy.... Donoghue brilliantly shows mother and son grappling with very different issues as they adjust to freedom.... In the story's most heartbreaking moments, it seems that Ma may be unable to live with the choices she made to protect Jack. But his narration reveals that she's nurtured a smart, perceptive and willful boy--odd, for sure, but resilient, and surely Ma can find that resilience in herself.... Wrenching, as befits the grim subject matter, but also tender, touching and at times unexpectedly funny." (Kirkus )

    "Gripping, riveting, and close to the bone, this story grabs you and doesn't let go. Donoghue skillfully builds a suspenseful narrative evoking fear and hate and hope--but most of all, the triumph of a mother's ferocious love. Highly recommended for readers of popular fiction." (Library Journal Susanne Wells )

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