Room by Emma Donoghue

The perspective of this novel is what makes this novel particularly interesting. A five-year-old boy named Jack narrates the story and shares about his happy life with his Ma. Together they live in a 11 by 11 foot space he calls Room and go about their day cooking, playing games, singing songs, and watching TV. However, the glimpse of the outside world they have is the Skylight and TV because they are locked in Room, only a mysterious character named Old Nick knows the password to the door. He brings groceries for them and presents for Jack. But when night falls, Jack is forced to hide in Wardrobe before Old Nick comes into the room, so he never sees his face.

Donoghue uses Jack and Old Nick to juxtapose purity, innocence, and curiosity with mystery and bitterness. Jack has a deep love for his mother and a passion for learning new things within the walls of Room. Old Nick, in contrast, is grouchy and violent towards Ma. This book feels relatable because of the references to everyday things such as oatmeal, Jeep, Dora the Explorer, and singing songs. However, I have never known the feeling of being trapped physically (except during Geometry class) and the restrictions that bind Jack and Ma such as entertainment, food, technology, and freedom from Room. I can not grasp the concept of two people being locked in a small room and living a seemingly “normal” life (in the perspective of Jack) while one person controls them. It does remind me of the book The Giver, because like Jack, protagonist Jonas is blinded by his own oblivion that he leads a regular life, when really, he is trapped in a fake world. Also with the novel The Maze Runner, Thomas is shut in a fully-functioning environment of teenage boys who are working to escape the Maze without memory of their past lives.

Not only is this an interesting and intriguing novel so far, I think it would make a great book to read for class. A young boy learning new things about himself and the world around him relates to the theme of coming of age and growing up. Other themes we have explored this year are innocence and world of children versus adults, and Jack is innocent in his brief exposure to other people and ideas, and we can clearly see this from his narrating. We can also compare his life to the life of Ma and how different they really are despite them living together. I think this book has some very creative pieces to it and I can not wait to read more!

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