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My Book Bucket List Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

This is the fifth book from My Book Bucket List that I’ve finished! party-popper Look for next month’s poll post after this one to vote for my next book!

Screenshot 2018-06-21 at 11.59.59 AM

Pages: 342
Genre: Contemporary/Fiction
Publication Date: 
September 13, 2010
Story Perspective: First-Person
Themes: Resilience, Freedom, Hope, Parent-Child Relationship, Abduction, Sexually Abuse, Isolation, Family, Fear, Love


Five-year-old Jack has only ever known Room as his whole world. However, his Ma knows there’s more to the world and she can feel the size of this room becoming smaller and smaller each day. She is also in constant fear of Old Nick, who’s trapped them inside. Itching to escape, Ma convinces Jack it’s time to leave, but Jack’s uncertainty beyond the walls of Room makes him have some doubt.

Eventually, planning and executing their Great Escape isn’t as easy as Ma had planned.

my review

I’ve been looking forward to reading Room for quite some time. In some ways, I was very pleased with its presentation and some ways not so much. Not knowing too much about the book before diving in (I didn’t want to spoil anything for myself), I didn’t realize the entire book is in the viewpoint of five-year-old Jack. 

It was clear the relationship between Ma and Jack was extremely strong. In fact, Jack gave Ma reason to get up in the mornings. The love and affection they had for one another was sweet and pure. Though the breastfeeding aspect made me feel a bit uncomfortable due to Jack’s age, it helped keep Jack healthy and ultimately probably gave him more nourishment that a growing child needs.

The voice of Jack had its merits and had its faults. Reading this traumatic and shocking experience in the voice of a young boy kept the book light and easy to read. However, due to this, it was hard to feel the amount of emotions the story could have had. To be honest, I was somewhat annoyed with Jack’s voice toward the beginning, but I was able to get used to it, and at times, found it endearing. For most of the book, I kept expecting the voice to switch into Ma’s, Jack’s mom, voice to gain deeper feelings, but it never did.

There are essentially two different parts to the story: in the “Room” and the “Outside”. Both parts had its great moments and its not-great moments. Learning about how Ma used creativity in Room to give some kind of meaning and fun everyday for Jack did touch my heart. Also, I could empathize with Jack being exposed to all the new things and people from the outside world. However, we don’t get to know how challenging the transition was for Ma coming back into the world. Essentially, I feel the story could have been more if the story was told both in Jack’s and Ma’s perspective.

For a five-year-old who had daily, lengthy communication with his mom, read books, and even watched some educational TV programs, I expected Jack’s vocabulary to be different. Of course, without real peer interactions, Jack’s language would perhaps be hindered, but Ma seemed to always speak to him using correct grammar. Also, there were times when Ma and Jack would play a parrot game and mimic phrases from the TV (the news, real-life animal programs, etc.) that it was a bit shocking he wasn’t able to string words better together.

Overall, I didn’t find myself bored at any point, but I wanted to feel more emotions than I did.

My Rating3 stars


I might recommend this to those who would like an understanding of what it’s like to be abducted as a child, and to those who don’t mind stories lacking in heavy emotions and/or heavy scenes.

Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
27 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!


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