To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
I bought this book on a whim sometime in 2010 or 2011, whenever it was in stores here. I bought having heard nothing at all about it before because the synopsis was interesting. From reading the synopsis, I somehow came to the conclusion that it’s about a boy who lives with his mentally ill mom who doesn’t go outside and who doesn’t let her child go outside either. It wasn’t until way later that I found out it’s inspired by horrific real life events like the one with Josef Fritzl. I was even more interested then.
I finally decided to read this book recently and I’m glad I finally picked it up because it was good. I’ve never read an adult book from a five-year-old’s perspective before and I found it very believable. Frustrating at times, yes, but what five-year-old isn’t frustrating? What five-year-old doesn’t throw tantrums for things that seem like nothing?
The thing is, the person you really feel for is Ma. Because Jack, the child, doesn’t know any better than Room, he’s happy. Ma is not and the reader can see all the subtle (and sometimes not as subtle) signs even if Jack doesn’t. His situation is horrible too, you as a reader know that, but in his head it’s not. I felt so bad for Ma and I rooted for her to make it through. And when I watched the movie after I was done reading I felt for her even more, because the movie allows more focus on her. (The movie was phenomenal, by the way. Amazing actors, both of them.)
At times the book was a bit slow for me, though it’s still a quick and easy read. The first half was very interesting and gripping, but at times it could drag just a little bit. The climax of the story happens in the middle and then it really gets good, like edge-of-your-seat kind of good. The last half is intriguing, I didn’t know before I read it that that would be a part of the book (I’m trying not to spoil anything, haha). But like the first part, the last half could also drag a little bit here and there.
This is a book that’s definitely worth reading. If you don’t feel like reading it then you should check out the movie. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing the actors are.
I’m dying to know how Ma and Jack are doing a couple years into the future.
Have you read/watched Room? What did you think?
I’ve seen the POV annoyed some people, did it annoy you?