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Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review: Room

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

Emma Donoghue's 2010 novel Room was "inspired" by the Fritzl Case.  For good reason, Room received rave reviews and was named as one of the Top 10 books of 2010.

Yes, the novel tells the tale of a travesty, but Room should not be classified as a dark novel.  Rather, the primary theme is the resilience of the human spirit as told in the voice of the speaker: five-year-old Jack.

In addition to the rescue of Jack and his mother — a rescue in which Jack is the hero — the novel relates the subsequent well-meaning medical experts' interventions and the subsequent media feeding frenzy.  Totally plausible!

The novel relates in some detail the captives' difficult adjustment to life outside Room.  For one thing, they have compromised immune systems.  Worse, Outside is filled of with many risks from which Room had served as a shelter.

The novel, clearly not dark fiction, also includes an appropriate amount of humor, particularly as Jack tries to understand Outside.  The humor, however, does not overshadow the book's thematic importance. Metaphorically speaking, all of us often isolate ourselves in Room or are otherwise confined to Room.  Coming to terms with the outside of our own Room is a struggle, a struggle which we win only by bidding farewell to our Room.

In many ways, Jack is wise beyond his years.  For example, he observes the following about people from Outside: "Sometimes when persons say 'definitely', it sounds actually less true."  About life outside Room, Jack says, "This doesn't feel like free."

I highly recommend this book for all above age twelve. Furthermore, Room is a book that many readers may want to read more than once.  The plot resolution is satisfying and uplifting.

Anyone deciding to explore this book should do so by using the audio version. The voice of the child comes through!

Room, in various formats, is available at Amazon and at most public libraries.

Resources: interactive site for Room [Excellent!] and Emma Donoghue's web site.


  1. Sounds really good, something different. A recommendation from you means something when I'm choosing books to read. I'm sure publishers are always sending your books, wanting you to review books. I can testify ... there are some really BAD books out there. I mean boring, poorly written books. I'm too old to force myself to read something like that any more.

    Right Truth

    1. Thanks, Debbie.

      I'm not sure that this blog's readers pay much attention to my book reviews. But over on Facebook my reviews are well received.


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