Emma Donoghue’s Room

Room is a story told by the five-year-old Jack. He lives with his Ma in Room. Room has everything he needs. He has never heard of Outside before nor does he need to. Jack and his Ma are perfectly happy in Room, aren’t they?

Jack leads a happy life in Room. He plays with a snake made out of empty egg shells, he is racing around on Carpet and watching TV, which shows make-believe things. But for his Ma Room is prison and she comes up with a plan to escape. When one night ‘Old Nick’ visits his Ma again, they pretend Jack’s very sick and needs to go to hospital. Ma hopes that Old Nick will take him and Jack can raise the alarm. But Jack doesn’t want to leave. Room is his home.

What makes Room so remarkable is that the entire story is told by Jack. Telling such an emotional story for the perspective of a child changes the whole story. His child-like naivety makes the story more gruesome and less so at the same time. He doesn’t know what is going on exactly when Old Nick visits, which makes it more bearable for the reader as well (although you will still cringe in horror). But at the same time he doesn’t understand why his Ma wants to leave and this completely confused Jack is really heartbreaking.

Even though I thought the pacing was off sometimes, I still think it’s a very powerful and emotional story. I was moved by Jack not wanting to leave Room for who wants to leave everything he has ever known? Who wants to leave behind his toys and friends?

I’m really curious how the film adaptation has translated Jack’s voice to the screen. I will update this review as soon as I’ve watched it and let you know!

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