Book Review: ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue

Every once in a while, a novel comes along that truly captivates you. For me, 2010 Man Booker Prize finalist Room was such a novel, accomplishing this by being both simple and complex; simple in terms of  the language used, yet complex in the sheer breadth of emotional material covered.

The story is told from the point of view of Jack, a five year old boy who lives in a single, locked room with his ‘Ma’. Jack has never known the outside world, and believes that Ma and he are the only two people in the universe. He passes the time of day through a number of routines that have become the very fabric of his short life – routines that are in equal parts wonderfully innocent and heart-wrenchingly naive.

To say any more on the plot would be to spoil the journey for anyone that has not yet had the fortune of reading this yet (and if that’s you – don’t Google it to find out more about that plot; pick up a copy and let the surprises reveal themselves to you). All I will say is that Room is an incredibly moving depiction of maternal love, and the lengths to which the human spirit can be pushed in order to survive.

Whilst the tone is initially hard to adjust to (Jack refers to all of the inanimate objects around him as entities unto themselves, frequently referring to Table, Skylight, Bed, Rug etc as if they are individual personalities), once you make the adjustment this becomes every bit as compelling as Mark Haddon’s ‘The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time‘.

Irish-born playwright Emma Donoghue‘s Room is an absolute triumph – a harrowing yet heart-warming tale that will stay with you long after you have finished that last page.

What did you think of ‘Room’? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Article by Ben Veal

November 19, 2011

Ben Veal is a Public Relations and Digital Marketing professional based in Wiltshire, UK. A big fan of film and literature, Ben also writes for the Daily Mirror about the rather unusual sport that is professional wrestling. Find out more about Ben at

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue”

  1. Excellent. Without giving too much away leaves you questioning our privileged lives today and how we take so much for granted.

    It has to be read to be appreciated. Only Jack the central characteer has the right to tell this story and you stay with him every step of the way.

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