What is it? The blurb on this book is simple and intriguing. It reads, ‘Jack is five. He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.’, and to keep things spoiler free (trust me, you’ll love this read a hell of a lot more if you go into it spoiler free) I’ll leave it at that. It’s a bestselling novel with a fascinating premise.
Why did I pick it up? Okay, everyone’s talking about Room at the moment, which may have something to do with the fact it’s been recently made into a film starring the wonderful Brie Larson. It was also recommended to me by my friend Vicky, who I generally trust with book recommendations (alongside everything else!) For both of these reasons, when I saw this copy reduced to £3 in The Works I picked it up straight away.
What was good about it? So many things. I absolutely loved this book for its creepiness, quirkiness and how compelling it was. I took it to Tenerife – what a nice, lighthearted holiday read, right? – and was totally engrossed right up until I finished it on the plane home. The standout feature of this novel, which I think Donoghue has captured and portrayed perfectly, is Jack’s use of language and the way in which the cogs in his brain turn as he learns. He’s an intelligent, questioning, logical five year old, and following him as he finds his grasp on figurative speech is fascinating. Really. Those of you who’ve read Room will know exactly what I mean.
What wasn’t so good about it? I can’t really fault Room. Jack and Ma are endearing as leads, the story is edge-of-your-seat stuff, I even felt myself getting attached to the supporting characters (Steppa in particular. Loved him.) The one thing that did take me a little by surprise was the focus on breastfeeding, but that’s because squeamish is my middle name. It’s a great plot device in driving home the dire, awful nature of Jack and Ma’s living conditions.
But still. Ick.
Overall Rating: 5/5. Go read this book. Move it to the top of your ‘to read’ pile (don’t tell me you don’t have one.)
Until next time,