20 October 2010


by Emma Donoghue

Picador. Adult fiction. Paperback rrp $32.99

Reviewed by Barbara Brown

What sort of story do you get when you have a small boy who has never been outside one room?

Jack has just turned five and he and his Ma live in Room. Jack has been brought up in Room and thinks that he and his Ma and Old Nick are the only ones in the real world. The un-real world is in the television.

Old Nick kidnapped Ma seven years before and has kept her in a sound proof reinforced room. Now Ma is worried for her and Jack’s life. Old Nick got angry and cut their power a few days ago. What if he doesn’t turn it back on? Ma has to ‘unlie’ to Jack about the real world to try and get him to help lead the escape to Outside.

Can Jack really save himself and Ma? How can an isolated five-year-old manage to get help from the real world all by himself? ? Will Jack be able to interact with others when he has only ever known Ma?

Room is a wonderful story told through the eyes of Jack. A boy who, after escaping Room, has to learn everything, from wearing shoes to walking up a staircase. Although the story of Ma and Jack is horrifying, but told through Jack eyes, it is an uplifting story of a child’s innocence and resilience. I cried and cried. Brilliantly written. Brilliantly crafted.


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