Room is an extraordinary novel. The story is told by five-year-old Jack who has lived his entire life with his Ma in an 11′ x 11′ room. His Ma was abducted 7 years ago at the age of nineteen. Her captor, referred to by Jack as Old Nick, has built an impregnable room out of a garden shed. Old Nick provides the necessities of life, but little else. To Jack, Room is the world. He believes that Room is the entire world and that the images seen on their fuzzy TV are pretend.
Ma has taught Jack to read and to count, to wash his hands and to exercise, but nothing of the outside world. As Jack’s comprehension grows and his curiosity builds, Ma realizes that Room cannot contain them much longer.
Room is a stunning tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and to a mother’s love. It is also uncomfortable to read. You get the feeling of being confined for a long time with no hope of escape. Old Nick controls everything, even the power that is necessary for Jack and Ma to eat and breathe.
A number of years ago I read Slammerkin, and earlier novel by Emma Donoghue and swore I would never read another of her books. But Room has gotten so much press I felt I had to try. I highly recommend it, but not for the squeamish.
Published in hardcover-Hachette-2010
Room: A Novel