Reader reviews and comments on Room, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


A Novel

By Emma Donoghue

  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Sep 2010,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: May 2011,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Judy Krueger

Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 1 of 2
There are currently 12 reader reviews for Room
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Jan (11/02/11)

Language of child just not right
I can't stop thinking about this story - and that is a compliment. Although I couldn't put it down, I cringed my way through the child language that just is not realistic for a 5 year old child in that situation. The author herself, in the author notes, says that Ma could give him one thing and that was "language." Then why is the child portrayed with staccato sentences and verb tense errors throughout? That is simply not realistic for a child who is engaging in language throughout the day - more than anything else he does - he simply would not be making those errors at five years old with his mother right there as a model. "Rided?" it could happen once, but mother would gently and earnestly correct it - especially when "language" is all they had to do all day. The argument that he was developmentally delayed doesn't work because of the higher level thoughts the author attributes to the child. With "insights" like he had, his language wouldn't have lagged that far behind. It just doesn't happen that way, because thoughts are language. (I am a Speech/Language Pathologist.)
jodi (10/30/11)

I don't see how people think this book was boring or a waste of time. I think it was an amazing lesson to what life could of been like if you were like that....truly amazing!
Louise J (10/27/11)

I don’t really know what to say about this book. I do know that I’m disappointed as I don’t think it lived up to all the hype and hoopla that was generated by the public, but then again, I’m only one person. Obviously this just wasn’t the book for me. I found it silly and boring to be quite honest. Enough said.
Katharine English (10/21/11)

Enough Already
Daring to go against the wildly enthusiastic critical acclaim of this novel, may I, as an English/Literature Major and teacher, offer the opinion that the book, Room (the story of a five-year-old boy and his mother held against her will by her abductor/rapist for many years and told from the boy's point of view), is a huge disappointment: poorly written (how much can we stand of a 5-year-old's narrative prose?); rhetorically unimaginative; bruisingly graphic; wholly predictible; and weakest where it should be strongest – in the complexities of the child's adjustment to a strange new world Outside, and the severance of a unique but grotesque bond between mother and child. This book has none of the usual earmarks of a Booker-Mann novel and, I suspect, is regarded highly, in part, because of the public's reluctance to criticize the use of the subject matter.
Lizz D (06/29/11)

From 9:00 pm-2:00 am, 5 hours, Room held me tightly in it's little 5 year old grasp and refused to let go.

Jack is turning 5. He's like most other 5 year old boys; he likes to play games and he loves Dora the Explorer. But Jack has grown up in the same room his whole life. All he knows is Room, his Ma and Old Nick who once a week brings food and occasionally treats.

The book is told from Jack's perspective and was so accurately child-like. He takes turn of phrase literally, and is overly inquisitive.

I quite literally couldn't put this book down. I crawled onto the couch and didn't leave till I read the last page. I highly recommend this book.

There was some swearing, but mostly just adult themes. (05/28/11)

Listen and savor a fictional story that is as real as the sun.

Jack and Ma, the main characters of “Room”, are wonderfully created by Emma Donogheu. Her skillful direction of the narrators and their audio presentation enrich the power of Donogheu’s writing.

The beginning of the book is a puzzle because the listener sees the world through the eyes of a five year old and his mother. Part of the story’s appeal is seeing life through these eyes but also wanting to know why the world seems off center, almost surreal.

As early chapters unfold, the listener is drawn into a dark labyrinth of a mother’s fear and loathing. The mother’s fear and loathing is contrasted with the joy and wonder of her young son. The listener is puzzled by how and why that contrast exists. As the cause of the difference in perception becomes clear, the listener begins to admire the strength and wisdom of Ma and the precociousness of Jack.
Cloggie Downunder (03/02/11)

Hard to put down
Emma Donoghue’s latest novel, Room, is told from the perspective of Jack, a five-year-old boy who has lived his whole life inside “Room” with his mother, Ma. Having Jack narrate is a clever device: through his innocent eyes and ears, we gradually learn how he and Ma come to be in this situation and what fills their days. We share Jack’s thoughts about daily life and his fear at the thought of escape and the attempt to carry it out. Altogether, it makes for horror, humour, hope, suspense and sadness. I really enjoyed this book. I laughed, I cried, and at one stage, the tension was so high, I did the reading equivalent of putting your hands in front of your eyes in a scary movie: I had to walk away for a break. Apart from that, I found it hard to put down and I am sure many will read it in one sitting. Heartbreaking in parts, it was ultimately a truly uplifting novel.
Nanny (02/10/11)
If I had been able to read the whole book I would have agreed with Gabrielle Renoir Large. I could not stand the voice and narration of the 5 year old for an entire book. The baby thoughts were unbearable (and I babysit for a 2 year old every day). If the story had been told in the mother's voice it may have been better. I felt claustrophobic and bored.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2

Beyond the Book:
  Emma Donoghue

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"

    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist


Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.