Room - Emma Donoghue To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world. It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, Ma shuts him safely in his wardrobe, where Jack is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But Jack's curiosity is building alongside Ma's own desperation--and she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.


I prefer reading super hyped novels after the dust settles and this was the case with Room by Emma Donoghue plus I had initially been put off by the subject matter – a novel inspired by the Josef Fritzel case. But I adore Emma Donogue…

Jack and Ma’s tale is compelling and touching, filled with hope, joy, love and an tremendous sadness - it is especially sad to see that once Jack has escaped, he cannot adapt to our world.

Ma (the reader never learns her name) has kept herself sane by devoting all her energy to Jack. A average day in “Room” is filled with activities both phyiscal and mental and standing under their skylight screaming for help.

Although they use the television for education and distraction, Jack has no idea that anything at all exists outside “Room” and Jack is always safe asleep in “Wardrobe” when “Old Nick” comes in through “Door”.

The pace and plot of the story are both pitch perfect, though the author takes a risk placing the climax midway through the book and you do wonder what more is there to say.... lots actually

"Ma" has clearly spent his five years devoting every scrap of mental energy to teaching, nurturing and entertaining her boy, preserving her own sanity in the process. To read this book is to stumble on a completely private world. Every family unit has its own language of codes and in-jokes, and Donoghue captures this exquisitely. Ma has created characters out of all aspects of their room – Wardrobe, Rug, Plant, Meltedy Spoon. They have a TV and Jack loves Dora the Explorer, but Ma limits the time they are allowed to watch it for fear of turning their brains to mush. They do "phys ed" every morning, keep to strict mealtimes, make up poems, sing Lady Gaga and Kylie, and most importantly, Ma has a seemingly endless supply of stories – from the Berlin Wall and Princess Di ("Should have worn her seatbelt," says Jack) to fairytales like Hansel and Gretel to hybrids in which Jack becomes Prince Jackerjack, Gullijack in Lilliput: his mother's own fairytale hero. And really, what is a story of a kidnapped girl locked in a shed with her long-haired innocently precocious boy if not the realisation of the most macabre fairytale?

It's a book that stayed with me for a long time afterwards.