23 December 2010

Review: ROOM, Emma Donoghue

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 603 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Picador (August 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003X27L9U
  • Source: I bought it
Today I'm five. I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I'm changed to five, abracadabra. Before that I was three, then two, then one, then zero. "Was I minus numbers?"

Others may not consider ROOM to be crime fiction. It is told in the voice of Jack, who was born in Room, and has known no other environment. His mother has been in Room since Old Nick snatched her off the street when she was 19 years old. So, in contrast to my usual reading where a crime is committed in the pages of the novel, here there is no mystery about the nature of the crime, or about who committed it. For me ROOM was an exploration of the impact of a crime on the victims, in this case on one who wasn't even born when the crime was first committed.

It's hard to write about this novel without revealing too much. I would prefer you had the same reading journey that I did, so I'm not going to reveal more. Suffice it to say that it certainly is a novel that makes you think. It also says a lot about human resilience.

For a sizeable book ROOM was an incredibly quick read, at times very poignant, with a number of small puzzles for the reader to solve, as Jack often doesn't explain fully things that have always been part of his life.
Highly recommended.

I read ROOM because it was chosen by my face to face discussion group for this month's discussion book. I was also delighted to realise that I could count it for the Canadian Book Challenge.

My rating: 4.7

Other reviews:
ROOM was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker prize (read this synopsis if you want more of the story), and in November it won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
ROOM was also shortlisted for the 2010 Governor General's Awards in Canada and was the winner of the Irish Book Award 2010.

Born in Ireland in 1969, Emma Donoghue became a Canadian citizen in 2004


kathy d. said...

Thanks for these points about "Room," about which I've been puzzling on whether to read it or not.

It's a very compelling story, but a tough psychological one, I'd think.

Your comments make me tilt more towards reading it.

On another note, have noticed that Tana French's "Faithful Place," is on several "Best books of 2010" fiction lists in U.S. media.

Have great holidays and new year, and can't wait for MIP "Best Books of 2010," and new reviews coming up very soon.

bermudaonion said...

It is hard to write about Room without giving away a big part of the plot. It took me a little while to get used to Jack's voice, but once I did, I was enthralled with this book.

Midi said...

Thanks a lot for this review - that's the first time I thought I could read this book with pleasure!

Eesti said...

I loved this book from beginning to end. A beautifully written book, heart breaking and joyous at the same time. I could hardly put it down and when I did I could not stop thinking about it. Even now, days after finishing it, it's still lingering in my thoughts. Jack's 'voice' as the narrator took a few pages to get used to but it did not alter my love of this book one bit


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