Review: Room

Captivating. Fascinating. Heart-breaking.

This is one of those books that I couldn’t stop reading and didn’t want to finish. Room: A Novel by Emma Donaghue is a story told from the perspective of 5-year-old Jack. {Side note: as a linguist, I was almost really distracted for the first little while, because Donaghue does a masterful job of consistently maintaining child grammar and language. I loved it!}

Jack and Ma live in Room where their days are consistent and their routine predictable. Breakfast is always first, then Bath, at some point in the day there is always Gym, and usually a little TV, but not too much because it rots the brain. To Jack, Room is the entire world. It is all he has ever known. He has never set a foot outside. What if he did? How would reality treat him? How would he accept reality if he were to make it out? What would life look like if there were actually more doors than just Door, and more children like himself, and an overabundance of food rather than the small portions he and Ma cook up every day?

I don’t want to go on, because I don’t want to spoil anything in this story. Believe me, you don’t want me to ruin anything.


Room is a book told from a five year old perspective, but it is definitely not a children’s book. The book is a blatant look at a kind of life that people in our world truly experience, but very few of us would ever understand. There are definitely some deeper threads running through this book that would be really interesting to delve into. Even just talking through the story with Jeremy, we stumbled upon some concepts that may or may not be Donaghue’s target discussion with this book. For example:

  • Is freedom truly freedom? By having limitless choices and opportunities, are we freer than when our world is more confined?
  • Does a strict or conservative upbringing/worldview limit our ability to function in the world?

We don’t have answers, or anything, but there are definitely philosophical threads to explore in this book (and if you read it I’d be happy to do so with you!)

Regarding objectionable material, the book overall is quite clean, but there are moments of sexual content and also suicide told through the lens of a 5 year old. Again, it’s an honest look at a hard concept of life – including imprisonment and rape.

I would definitely recommend this book for adult readers. It is a story that needs to be told, especially with news stories that we are facing in our own society.

Have you read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!!


Also, just to let you know, I’ve posted my 2014 Reading List before, and I’m adding a section for recommendations. So, if you’d like to be added to my list, please send me the title of the book you think I should read!!

{finished January 10, 2014}


  1. Allison

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that you left a comment on my blog ( and it shows that you’re a No Reply Blogger and that means I cannot respond to your comment. If you need help changing this, just google it and there are tutorials all over the web 🙂

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