77 of 91 people found the following review helpful
A Room Is Just A Room--Unless It's The World
, August 12, 2010
This review is from: Room: A Novel (Hardcover)
A unique and challenging experience, Emma Donoghue's "Room" may be one of the biggest surprises I've had all year. Told in the language of a five year old boy with an extremely limited world view, my initial reaction to "Room" was not entirely positive. Within the first few pages, I was worried that the tone and cadence of this "child-speak" might be too precious, too constructed. But a funny thing happened rather early on as more of the story unfolded--I quit reacting to the novel intellectually and started to be affected viscerally and emotionally. I knew little of the plot in advance, so as the mysteries unraveled I became more and more invested. I am NOT a particularly sensitive reader (people would definitely describe me as unsentimental!), but halfway though "Room"--I was literally weeping.
The less you know about "Room" going into it--the better. So, for my part, I'm going to only lay out the basic premise. The protagonist Jack, in his five years of life, has never been outside of this one room. It is his entire existence, everything he knows. He and his mother have constructed a daily and weekly regimen to maintain as much normalcy as possible within the confines of their situation. A mystery as well as a thriller, a tribute to the human spirit, an ode to mother love, a character study--"Room" taps into any number of subjects quite successfully.
There are so many powerful sequences within "Room." Jack is such a fascinating and believably frustrating lead. When you don't know what the world has to offer, how can you miss it? The unknown and the unknowable play such a huge role in Jack's life, is there a way to relinquish everything you know for the chance of something better? There is a real dignity to Jack and his mother. As they confront their demons, real and imaginary, their journey is both harrowing and heartfelt. I won't soon forget this emotionally exhausting experience. Emma Donoghue has crafted, easily, one of my favorite books of the year--one that will stick with me for quite some time!
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