Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room is the story of Jack, and his Ma. Ma was kidnapped at the age of 19, and was held prisoner by "Old Nick" for seven years, during which, she gave birth to Jack. The story is told by Jack, who is five, and who has never been outside of Room in his life.

For a complete plot description, here's the Goodreads page for the novel.

My opinion of Room flip-flopped numerous times by the time I'd finished reading it. And I think that's apparent in the rating I gave it - right smack in the middle of the rating choices. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that stellar either. Here's a break down of Room's good points, and it's not-so-good points.

What I liked:

  • The writing itself, is incredible. Donoghue paints wonderfully vivid pictures, never leaving the reader to "guess" about the scene. When I was interested, I was fully immersed in the story. 
  • The POV was pleasantly surprising. I'm not typically into kid POV's, and, prior to reading, I wasn't sure if I'd like the book based on this reason. But I, quite enjoyed this unique perspective. Actually, every time I hear the word "melted", I can't help but say in my head "meltedy spoon", as that's one thing you Jack talks about a lot. 
  • The chapter called "Dying" was just incredible. Fantastic pacing, enormous suspense, and it was the chapter responsible for me choosing to finish the book. 

What I disliked:

  • The majority of the book was a boring, almost minute-to-minute break down of every thing Jack and Ma did in Room. The first two chapters were so dreadfully lacking in suspense, that I nearly gave up on it. I understand that the author needs to introduce us to Room, to the confinement of Jack's and Ma's life. I know that we need to see their situation, their struggles, the effects that their captivity has caused in them. But to go on for 98 pages of this? I would have loved to see more suspense, more interaction with "Old Nick" more urgency, more.... danger in the situation. I just wanted more.
  • The escape is too easy. Most books these days follow an implied pattern: do something, suspense, fail, do something, suspense, fail, do something, lots of suspense, succeed. And once in a while, it's nice when a book strays from this pattern. But in Room... it just all seemed too easy, too neat. 
Room is like a mountain: a long climb up, a great big peak in the middle, and a slow climb down.


 Don't get me wrong, Room was a good book. It was an enjoyable story, but it had some fairly big flaws, that in my opinion, I couldn't look past when choosing a rating.

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