Room by Emma Donoghue


This book was not what I expected it to be. I didn’t know much about the book other than what I read on the back cover and what people talked about in my class before I read it. I thought it was going to be some kind of futuristic type thing or science fiction at the least but it was a very realistic novel about a young woman whom after being kidnapped and repeatably raped becomes pregnant and gives birth to a boy. The story is told from the perspective of Jack and it’s very interesting because he is only five when this story is told. His whole life is Room (the small 12 by 12 (?) square they live in). I read this book as part of a class but it is a very interesting study of the relations between parent and child and more specifically mother and child. Jack clearly loves his ma but there are times I worry about Ma because of Jack’s behavior toward her. He gets angry quite easily and makes threatening remarks toward Ma. Honestly there are times I am angry at my own mother but never once did I wish her dead. I know a lot of Jack’s perspective is skewed because he has never lived outside of Room and Ma is about the only other human he knows but still his reactions were frighteningly violent sometimes. Also for being a child brought up with next to nothing he has an entitlement to him which is also fascinating. It could possibly stem from the fact he is the only person his Ma is there for so in his mind he is the only thing that matters or because of his genuine belief there is nothing else than Room. Jack believes the outside world doesn’t exist and that the shows on TV whether reality TV or cartoon are all fake. Overall it is a very interesting study of the relationship between mother and child. The climax came right at the end of the novel so there was little to no falling action which is how I think it should be. SPOILER ALERT! Jack and Ma escape from Room in about the middle of the novel and so a lot of people would assume that is the climax and everything that happens afterward is the falling action. In fact a lot of people in my class, myself included, thought the novel would end with Jack and Ma escaping. I watched an interview with Emma Donoghue and throughout the interview she talked about how this novel was inspired by a similar case but she used this novel to explore the relationship between a mother and a child. So while some people feel the climax should have the escape I don’t think it was. The climax  for me was when Jack finally said goodbye to Room. While the social problem of the novel is Ma and Jack’s relationship the real question or overarching problem is will Jack be able to let go of Room, the only world he has ever known? That is where the climax is because Jack is finally able to let go. He is finally ready to move on with life when throughout the entire novel he didn’t want to leave Room.

Overall this is a really fascinating novel because it’s not only told from the perspective of a five year old, but it explores some interesting social issues.


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