Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: ROOM

Since I did two rants last week, I figured I’d treat you all to a book review. Because it’s fun.

I was very excited when I won ROOM in a contest, because I heard such good things about it. And, I’m glad to report, it lives up to the hype. Without giving any spoilers, I can say it’s a story about a young boy named Jack and the world he lives in. The spoilerific specifics of his life reminded me of Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave  (which is briefly mentioned in the book).

What was really interesting was Emma Donoghue’s writing style. The book is told from the point of view of a five-year-old, and as you’d expect from a young child, it is very narrow and literal. For example, little Jack’s description of a toilet tube maze is: “We’ve been making Labyrinth since I was two, she’s all toilet roll insides taped together in tunnels that twist lots of ways.” Everything in his life isn’t an object, it’s a name and to him, the only of its kind.

She captures Jack perfectly, but because of this, the book can be a bit disorienting at times. Subjects change rapidly, things are described but not explained, mostly because as a child, Jack doesn’t need an explanation. He’s okay with things just being. Unfortunately, it was a little disruptive to me as the reader. I felt sometimes like I was talking to Jack instead of experiencing everything myself, that I wasn’t “in” the book.

It’s one of those things you just have to deal with, though. I think the book was supremely written. About half the book is pure dialogue, but like the narration, this only adds to the feeling of Jack telling his story, like all of this is beaming straight from his head into mine. I definitely recommend reading this. It’s an experience that won’t easily leave you.

A really neat online version of the room itself can be found here, along with information on the book. Very neat.


  1. Thanks for this review! I've been wanting to read "Room" for a while. I hope I enjoy it as much as you did. :)

  2. I, too, have been wanting to read Room for a while! I can't wait until I get my little hands on it... thanks for the review! :-)


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