Narrator Jack and his mother, who was kidnapped seven years earlier when she was a 19-year-old college student, celebrate his fifth birthday. They live in a tiny, 11-foot-square soundproofed cell in a converted shed in the kidnapper's yard. The sociopath, whom Jack has dubbed Old Nick, visits at night, grudgingly doling out food and supplies. But Ma, as Jack calls her, proves to be resilient and resourceful--and attempts a nail-biting escape.
Outstanding! Absolutely fascinating progression of events, and really interesting that it was told from the perspective of the five-year-old. There's a major event right in the middle of the book, and I love that we get to see the aftermath for the remaining half. It could have been very easy for the author to put that event at the end, but this makes for a much better story.
My mom read this book for her book club and she told me to read it... but she wouldn't tell me what it was about because "then you wouldn't want to read it." And she's right; the subject matter is kind of off-putting. But the book was wonderfully executed and I really enjoyed it.
So my advice is to skip all the reviews and certainly don't read the synopsis, and just read it!
I loved how the author was able to convey so much through the voice of the 5 year old, based on both what he knew, and on what you could tell he didn't know. It was so fascinating to try to imagine life from his perspective before leaving the room and the issues after leaving. I couldn't put it down!
Totally agree with the review on the back of the book that says Donoghue will take you as her prisoner - I read this in a day! I was intrigued by the subject matter because I followed the Fritzl case pretty closely, always shocked as more was revealed about the family trapped in a dungeon for 24 years. But you don't have to be a crime nut to enjoy this. Really, don't let the subject matter scare you away! Donaghue does a really nice job of keeping the book clean and while the story, of course, is horrific, it is truly about hope and love -- it won't depress you! Since the story is told from a 5-year-old boy's perspective, it makes it much more innocent, even though the reader knows horrible things that Jack doesn't.
This would be a great book club book because there are many themes. While most people haven't had similar life experiences, I think what Ma and Jack go through is something we can all relate to on some level. "Room" is home to Jack, he knows nothing else, but Ma knows what she's missing and she knows to hide the fact that their circumstances are so horrible from her son. It's about sometimes not knowing what is best for yourself, but needing to take a leap, even though you may be "scared," you have to be "brave" at the same time.
The unique perspective of this 5 year old boy whose world consists of an 11 by 11 foot room is both innocent and sweet. Yet, through various details he gives us, the reader becomes aware of the dangerous, painful and disturbing life his mother is leading, trapped in this room and sheltering her child from the reality of their situation. I absolutely admired the mother and her creative ways of keeping her son physically and mentally active, protecting him from Old Nick and from what he is missing Outside while enduring hell herself. Truly one of the most unusual premises and perspectives I've ever found in a book. I couldn't put it down!