Review: Room, by Emma Donoghue

I did not know what to expect when I read the synopsis of Room by Emma Donoghue:  told from the point of view of a 5-year-old boy, Jack, it is the story of his mother and the room that they have been imprisoned in for seven years.  After being kidnapped and locked in a soundproofed shed at age 19, she gives birth to Jack who becomes her savior in more ways than one.  When he turns five, she decides to tell him the truth about their existence.  I thought it was interesting how Jack perceived the world — I cannot imagine living in one room all my life and not knowing anything about Outside, as Jack calls it.  He does not believe that there are people and dogs and toys and swimming pools in Outside; instead, he believes that those things are just in TV.  I had a hard time putting this book down as I read on to find out whether Jack’s Ma was going to plan an escape or if it would work.  I was fascinated by Jack’s perspective.  The book touches on the tough but very real issues of human trafficking and kidnapping, but the reader is never hit over the head with it, considering it is told by a 5-year-old who frankly doesn’t know a lot about the world.  The book is definitely disturbing in its own way, but it is saved by Jack’s innocence and his surprisingly deep thoughts.  The characters are endearing, and the plot, although it seems impossible, is presented in a very believable way.



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