To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
What I Thought
I want to start off by saying that Room is the best book I’ve read this year so far. It may only be May, but I know with certainty that this book is definitely going to be in my top ten favorite reads of 2016. Room was intense, cruel, complex, and beautiful. It is one of those books that, once you start, you do not want to come back up for air until it is over. I absolutely devoured this book.
When I first heard Room was narrated by 5-year-old Jack, I was a bit weary. I was uncertain about whether it would become tiresome to have him tell the entire story, and it was a little weird in the beginning. I had to get used to how he talked and described things, but once I did, I really liked him as the narrator. This story is very intense and mature, and to have someone who is so young and innocent to tell this story was a really interesting choice. I got to read from a different perspective, and I loved that. Jack had never been outside before; he only knew about what was in Room and what his mother told him. His innocence and even contentedness over the situation of his life would not have been visible if this story had be narrated any other way.
I found Ma’s character to be interesting as well. It was interesting to see the life she had to create for and with Jack in that room. To see her growing pains, frustrations, and despair through Jack’s eyes honestly made me glad he was the narrator as opposed to her. Because of how intense this book is, it would have been absolutely brutal to have to experience this life through Ma’s eyes, knowing what she has lost in her life. The strength and the love she had for Jack was so beautiful as well.
Honestly, there was nothing I didn’t love about this book. It is so well-written, and it is never written in a way that feels out of character.
I don’t want to spoil anything, so all I’ll say is: go read Room! You’ll get sucked into the story so fast, and it is so gripping and intense that you won’t want to stop until you’ve read the last page.