Review: Room by Emma Donoghue


Title: Room

Author: Emma Donoghue

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

My rating: 2.75/5

Goodreads rating: 3.98/5

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary

Summary (Goodreads):

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.



After Brie Larson won the Best Actress BAFTA last Sunday, I’ve been dying to read Room. The movie Room has gotten so much praise that I in turn thought that the book must be brilliant, extraordinary and life changing. How wrong I was. Though I appreciate everybody having their own opinion on this book, I can’t see how people can view this book as magnificent.


So this book is based around Jack and his Ma who are trapped in one room. The room is everything Jack has ever known and he loves it the Room. But his Ma knows different, his Ma knows the Outside and she will do anything to make Jack see the beauty of freedom.

When I read the summary on Goodreads I was bought and I ordered the book straight away. I was excited to start digging into such an interesting premise , one which I’ve never really explored before. What I encountered was pages and pages of childish talk about mundane things. What I mean is that I read pages of stuff that Jack did every day. I get that you show a bit of the daily schedule of Jack’s life before the big escape to show comparison against the crazy world that he is freed in and also to make is get to know Jack but I swear it felt like I a was reading page after page of daily nonsense.

I though the story was going to be a bit more…suspenseful I guess or captivating but the story was basically a straight line with the only spike being the big escape. So for at least half of the book it was very repetitive and most of the information given to us was unnecessary. There were nice moments in the story which actually added to the story, but most of the time it was endless jabbering of a five year old. After the great escape, the story picks up a lot which helped bring me rating of this book up.


My real problem of this book. Jack was an annoying narrator. I know that he was suppose to show the world through innocent eyes and all of the rubbish, but I just did not like his narrating! It probably doesn’t help that I feel that children five year olds are annoying but the book doesn’t show him any different light. It doesn’t help that Donoghue either makes him highly intelligent for his age or highly childish for his age. It’s annoyingly inconsistent and it ruins the narrative.

Because the story is being told from a five year old perspective everything is simplistic and that isn’t to the detriment of the story surprisingly. I think though Jack’s description of the outside would should of been more vivid and in awe. That aspect should of been broad and explored more.

β€œScared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”


I already talked about Jack’s narrative up above, but now lets talk about his character. As I said, he is annoying, but I guess there is a little charm to him which all children have. His naive, curious but gosh he is SO clingy to his Ma it gets annoying.

Ma was the more interesting characters out of the two and I wish we got more of her, even though she was in the entire book. Room should of been told be her narrative I feel, I think we could of gotten more dynamics from her.

What I liked:

  • Some nice parts of the narrative between Jack and Ma
  • The character Ma
  • It was simplistic

What I disliked:

  • Most of the narrative was annoying
  • Endless pages of mundane things
  • Jack was annoying

Verdict: I didn’t hate this book, but it was a huge disappointed. I was looking forward to a detailed, uplifting almost novel and all I got was an annoying five year old, pages full of boring prose and just a flat plot. I don’t get the hype.







15 thoughts on “Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

  1. Word Wonders says:

    I watched the movie and Loooved Jack in it, the little boy’s acting is brilliant, and I really enjoyed seeing him evolve from a veig scared of everything to opening up. But I don’t intend on reading the book because the 5 year old perspective will just ruin it for me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annaingall says:

    I can’t imagine enjoying the book being from a five-year old’s perspective. From what I’ve heard, you’re not alone in seeing a repetitiveness and that definitely puts me off since I’ll take action over something monotone any day. That makes me thing that the book wouldn’t be for me either which is a shame but I do want to watch the film because the premise is so intriguing πŸ™‚ great review!
    Enchanted by YA

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Stranger's Guide to Novels says:

      Yeah, I’ve seen some people saying the same thing as well, but I think I am the minority. You might still like it as the majority do. That’s the word- it was very monotone and just boring really. I want to watch the film too, fortunately the book hasn’t disinterested me from the movie.
      Thank you πŸ™‚


  3. BOOKCEPTION21 says:

    While I haven’t actually finished this book, I have picked it up but had to put it back down again because I couldn’t stand the boy’s narration. Great review!πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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