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About me: Wondering if it's safe to come back.......It's been a long time.....

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Make Room in your life for this...

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24.02.2011

Advantages:
Strong, Believable characters, Compelling storyline, Price at the moment

Disadvantages:
none for me !

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Would you read it again?

Story

Characters

Readability

How does it compare to similar books?

How does it compare to other works by the same author?

44 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (30%):
  1. Timbo3107
  2. Novabug
  3. Alyson29
and 11 other members
very helpful by (70%):
  1. jonathanb
  2. noodlebutty
  3. elfbwillow
and 30 other members

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Introduction

The first review I read about the book "Room" was late last year when a fellow dooyooer wrote about it, there was something about the review which resonated in me and finding myself intrigued I made a mental note to at some point buy the book for myself. The new year came in and as I had been given a few books as Christmas presents last year I decided to read what I had and then look at buying the titles on my amazon wish list, Room was one of the titles and last week I finally got round to buying a copy. Saturday morning came and I picked up the book, read the first 3 pages and became hooked. 15 hours and many cups of coffee later I finished the story and this is what I thought of it...

The Story

Jack and his Ma live in Room, an 11ft square fortified and locked shed in Old Nick's back garden. Jack was born in Room on Rug and knows nothing about the outside world. His Ma was abducted a few years before Jacks birth and kept locked away, subjected to abuse and rape Ma soon became pregnant with Jack and as the book begins he is just about to celebrate his fifth birthday. With only a few books, a TV and the contents of Room Jack and his Ma only have each other, Jack understands that the people on TV aren't actually real and that outside of Room there is only outer space. Ma protects Jack from Old Nick the best she can and now that Jack is getting to the age where he can understand more and be told the truth about matters she is desperate for the pair of them to escape their prison. Told from the perspective of Jack and narrated by him we follow the two of them as they plot an escape from Room and how the five year old copes when his world is turned upside down after discovering what really is on the other side of Door...
The Book

You may have noticed that during my story summary there are capitalised words which are grammatically incorrect, "Rug" and "Room" for example. These are, in fact, characters in Jacks world and he sees these things as his friends, has a strong affection for them and to him they are everything. We are introduced to Jack and his Ma straight away and in the early section of the book understand the bond he has with the things around him, he has his own favourite spoon called 'Meltedey Spoon' he sometimes sleeps in 'Wardrobe' when Old Nick pays his mother a visit and is friends with 'Plant'. It does take a couple of pages to get used to the language used in the book but once you see things from Jack's perspective and understand why is he is where he is and more importantly *why* you can't help but hold a great deal of affection for the character and the situation he and his mother are in.

Cleverly, by using Jack as the narrator of the story you as the reader discover things the same time as Jack does, before Ma talks to Jack about escaping from Room there is time to get to know both of the characters and understand how Jack has been brought up without ever setting foot outside or interacting with anyone other than his mother. The bond between them is as you can imagine paramount, they have spent every single waking minute together for five years and Jack knows nothing other than his mother, she is vitally important to him and he to her and the story really reinforces the love they have for one another.

Some may argue that the language used in the book is too advanced for a five year old, not having children myself I can't compare how Jack spoke with children of the same age however I personally found him to be utterly believable; it stands to reason that Jack would be advanced for his age, he has had one-to-one tutoring for the whole of his life and constant attention from his mother without any outside distraction or interference. The book explores how Jack thinks and about what he 'knows' to be true and its compelling to read the thoughts of someone so young who has a skewed version of what reality actually is, to him it makes sense as that is what he knows but it's when he starts to realise and sees for himself that there is life and world outside of Room that things begin to change.

Split into sections the book covers a period of time in the life of Jack and his Ma and their lives in and out of Room. Social adjustments have to be made, new things learnt and discovered and it's a real joy to follow Jack on his journey. Whilst it's an overused cliché to use the term 'journey' when talking about books and films and normally I wouldn't use the word in my reviews, in the case of Jack and Room it is without doubt the best description of the book as a whole. From a sheltered and protected start to being thrust outside into the world Jack has a lot to cope with and the strength of the story is understanding how he manages to deal with everything around him, everything is new to him and he has to learn how to actually live in a brand new environment where nothing is familiar and everything is scary.

Room is one of those books that stays with you after the end and even now a few days later I can't help but think back on the story. My only word of advice with the book is to stick with it; it did take a couple of pages for me to follow the language used as some of the words don't have a natural flow. Adopting the tone of five year old must have caused some problems for the author to get right and the strange use of capitalised words do interrupt your thought process when taking the book in, however you do become accustomed to how the book reads and it goes to show how compelling it is for me to have read it in a single sitting. There are many plaudits I could throw at the book but overall I absolutely adored it, there are times when it is heartbreakingly sad, laugh-out-loud funny and then nail-bitingly exciting with a perfect balance of tension building and complete character development. It is a book which would be accessible to all, male or female, young or old (although there may be subjects a little too harrowing for the very young) and I would have no hesitation in recommending this to everyone to read.

I paid just £3.58 for my new copy of the paperback book from amazon which is an absolute steal in my opinion; the Kindle version of the book is even cheaper at only £2.51. At 336 pages it's a book that gets to the point quickly and maintains its momentum through to the very last page, it is without doubt the best book I have read for a long time and even though I am drawn to horror and thriller fiction normally I'm glad I made the decision to try something different. Other reviewers have commented on just how good Room actually is and my review adds another perfect, five star rating to the ones that are already here.

Absolutely recommended. Buy it, you won't be disappointed.

Thanks for reading my review, please note that this is also on dooyoo under my username
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Comments about this review »

jonathanb 18.04.2011 15:26

A clever premise and intriguing sounding story. May have to find room on my shelf for this one.

Timbo3107 27.02.2011 12:03

E from me!

Novabug 26.02.2011 22:35

Brill. E!

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Product details

EAN 9780330519014
ISBN 0330519018
Author Emma Donoghue

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This review of Room - Emma Donoghue has been rated:

"exceptional" by (30%):

  1. Timbo3107
  2. Novabug
  3. Alyson29

and 11 other members

"very helpful" by (70%):

  1. jonathanb
  2. noodlebutty
  3. elfbwillow

and 30 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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