ROOM by Emma Donohue

Jul 12, 2011

How would you learn to use stairs if you lived every day of your first five years in an 11' x11' room? What it would it be like to see a bird flying, or know what a blade of grass looks like? That's life for Jack. His Ma has been held captive in the room for seven years. She bore and raised Jack there, living off the frugal "generosity" of their captor. Told entirely by Jack, this poignant and often oddly funny narrative begs the question "what kind of ROOM are you living in?" Jack is not a victim. He knows nothing else. Room, chair, rug, duvet and other items are his world and his family. I postponed reading this book for months because the story of a five-year-old and his ma in a small room did not sound at all appealing. Finally giving it a try I thought 50 pages would be the max because a story told by a little kid was not my idea of intelligent reading. Although sometimes difficult to read, long before the 50 pages was up I was hooked and rarely put the book down before reaching the end. This is a story of limitless curiosity and wonder about our world. Most of us would be much more content if we shared more of those qualities. Readers particularly sensitive to injustice to women and children may find this a challenging read. But for a good story and a sense of triumph and hope, this book can't be beat.

Reviewed by Library Staff