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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: Room

Room - Emma Donoghue


Unfortunately, I'm a little slow getting around to this review, so I may fail expressing the great joy I had reading Room. The feelings I experienced at the time were powerful. This is one of the most enthralling books I've read in recent times.

Told in the voice of five-year-old Jack, the novel is initially difficult to get into, but once it picks up, it's really wonderful. The voice never changes and it is hard to imagine how a book with such a strange narrative style can become so powerful. In itself, Room is not a complicated or intellectual novel, but its implementation of the child's voice is very brilliant. It's done exceptionally well and really is what makes this book stand above so many others. Jack's perspective, having spent his entire life confined to a single room, is extremely unique yet universal. At some point, we all saw the world for the first time. Once upon a time, we left a small, cramped space and entered a universe that was massive and completely foreign. Maybe our story of how we got to this new world was an intense as Jack's. And oh, wow, how intense was Jack's emergence! I cannot remember the last time I was so enthralled with a scene in a book. My heart was racing. I couldn't put the book down.

The second half of Room is certainly mild in comparison to the first half, but it's not a letdown. This is the story that needs to be told. The first half, while much more memorable, merely sets up the drama that is at the heart of this story.

And that ending: perfect. I wasn't really expecting to enjoy this novel as much as I did, but I think it was done really well. Brilliant work of literature? Maybe not. But make no mistake, Room is intelligently drawn and vitally important to a better understanding of abuse and human nature. Emma Donoghue's hit novel is a wild ride that will stick with me for years to come.