Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Donoghue, Emma. Room: A Novel. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2010.

Room is a novel about the relationship between a five year old boy and his mother. The mother was abducted when she was a college student, and her captor is the boy's father. The boy has spent his entire life hidden away in a backyard shed/prison.

This book is unique in that the entire story is told from the point of view of the boy. Since he has never experienced life outside the shed, he does not know what he has been missing. Amazingly, the mother has provided him with a structured, educational, and loving life inside their backyard cocoon. When he and his mother finally manage to escape, the boy has great difficulty learning to share his mother with other people.

In my opinion, Room is a bit overrated. I'm sorry to admit that I found it to be boring and claustrophobic. I am in the minority, though. Here's what other readers had to say:

"Room is that rarest of entities, an entirely original work of art. I mean it as the highest possible praise when I tell you that I can't compare it to any other book. Suffice to say that it's potent, darkly beautiful, and revelatory."
--Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and By Nightfall

"I loved Room. Such incredible imagination, and dazzling use of language. And with all this, an entirely credible, endearing little boy. It's unlike anything I've ever read before."
--Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife * and A Change in Altitude

"Gripping, riveting, and close to the bone, this story grabs you and doesn't let go. Donoghue skillfully builds a suspenseful narrative evoking fear and hate and hope--but most of all, the triumph of a mother's ferocious love. Highly recommended for readers of popular fiction." --Susanne Wells for Library Journal

If you liked A Child Called It, you will probably like this book, too. While I have great respect and admiration for David Pelzer, I didn't like his book, either.

Pelzer, David J. A Child Called "it": An Abused Child's Journey from Victim to Victor. Deerfield Beach, Fla: Health Communications, 1995

*I didn't like The Pilot's Wife, either.