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Customer Review

57 of 71 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did it live up to the hype? Not so much..., November 17, 2010
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This review is from: Room: A Novel (Hardcover)
I was really looking forward to reading this critically acclaimed book. What an interesting premise... the story of a mother and her child trapped, then escaping from, years of forced imprisonment in a small room. Even more fascintating is the fact that the sole narrator of the story is a 5 year old boy. According to critics, the author's depiction of the story as experienced through the eyes and mind of a young child was pitch-perfect -- a rare feat, indeed!

The problem is, have you ever been regaled with the endless musings of a small child? Frankly, it's cute for about 5 minutes, then it becomes tedious. Such was the case in Room, especially in the first third of the book. After a couple of chapters of living day to day life in this claustrophobic prison from Jack's perspective -- eating with the meltedy spoon, having some (the left one, creamy, yum!), doing phys ed, and watching Dora, I was ready to move on and see some action, but the repetitive days went on and on for chapters.

Then Ma hatches her escape plan and I was, for a time, riveted. At this point in the book, the plot turns and Jack's POV melded beautifully. After the rescue, however, Jack's perspective began to morph into that of a baby-talking philospher and poet; the astute musings and the complex metaphors were beyond that of even a highly intellgent child. Plus, after a short period of being confused and unable to comprehend the outside world, he seemed to adapt all too easily, especially when he was separated from Ma for the first time ever and left in the unempathic hands of his grandmother. I agree with many other reviewers that the book flagged and fizzled after the rescue. Because we were still stuck with only Jack's perspective, there was little insight into Ma's experiences and choices. While her subtle heroism and dedication to Jack were apparent while they were trapped in the room, once they were free, she became a somewhat boring enigma. Why she did what she did (I won't spoil any plot turns here) was left unexplained; her own trauma was not dealt with clearly.

Is the enthralling experience of the escape and rescue that occurs over a few chapters worth reading the entire book? I am not sure. I have to admit that I stayed up way past my bedtime reading that through that section. But what leads up to and follows this section is disappointing.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 10, 2010 12:25:45 PM PST
A. Cohen says:
I completely agree with you. It got me to think that like references we provide on a job application - the writer may have gathered some friends to write these incredible reviews. I too find the boy's language tedious and the day to day life description in an 11 x 11 room to be painfully boring. I'm determined to finish it but I'm disappointed to hear that beyond the escape/rescue, there isn't much to look forward to. Thanks for providing an honest review. I thought maybe I'd missed the boat on this one.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2011 6:42:16 AM PST
I think the repetition - that you call boring - was symbolic of what it would be like LIVING four FIVE YEARS (for the mother, 7) in an 11x11 room. That there could be that level of creativity with the living conditions to me was AMAZING. I think that the repetition was to show how stifled they truly were, and yet Ma found a way to make every day exciting and new. I think people who say this part is boring are missing the reason of why it is there. Put yourself in that situation; I would have gone mad after the first month, if I made it that long.

Posted on Sep 23, 2011 2:24:32 PM PDT
Amy S. Kass says:
I also got frustrated quickly with this book. The characters seemed one-dimensional to me and for that reason I never really empathized with them and I was truly expecting to do so. As for the 5 year old narrator, it was rather tedious. Might have been okay for a short story. Most of the dialogue is even more trite in the second half of the book when many characters are suddenly introduced. It appears Ma finally succumbs to severe depression but we never know much nor get inside her head. I was disappointed. The book was neither really a thriller nor had much in the way of character growth and development.
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