Seen through the eyes of a five-year-old named Jack, Room by Emma Donoghue is a dark and personal look into the lives of a mother and her child and the horrific situation they have been forced into.
The story begins on Jack’s fifth birthday. He starts by talking to his mom and describing the room he lives in, his speech relatively advanced for a child his age but his conceptual understanding of things seems to correctly mimic that of a true child’s point of view. He addresses the items in the room with capital letters, such as Wardrobe and Bed, insinuating he is very close to them, something the reader will discover why later.
His mother is addressed only as Ma, a 27-year-old woman who is kind and gentle but lacks any excitement or sincere interest in anything that is happening. Even though Jack is the speaker, Ma is just as important as most of the information revealed in the novel comes from Ma informing Jack of their situation.
The novel begins very slow, but as the plot unwinds the story becomes exponentially more intriguing and exciting. There is a looming suspense over the first half of the novel as the reader slowly figures out the characters’ situation through Jack’s naïve observations and the stories Ma tells him.
After a major shift in the plot halfway through, the novel turns its attention heavily to Ma and her attempts to cope with what happened to her. She is a tragic figure, downtrodden and defeated by the events of her life.
Once the plot picks up the book is difficult to put down as the story moves so swiftly that the reader becomes lost; the book is divided into sections, not chapters, so the story is not as broken up, a strategy that significantly helps the reader stay focused on the story.
Overall, Room is a compelling novel which delves into the juxtaposing ideas of isolation and of the importance of human companionship.

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