Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
A story that is similar in ways to the true story of Jaycee Dugard as my mom pointed out while I was telling her about this book!
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.
This seriously disturbing story is narrated by Jack and starts on his fifth birthday. Jack and his Ma share Room. He thinks of every object in Room like Rug or Plant or Meltdy Spoon as a friend to be treasured, and he and Ma spend every day doing their chores and playing games like Scream where they yell as loudly as they can. Jack loves his Ma and Room, but he’s scared of Old Nick who comes some nights and stays with Ma in Bed while Jack sleeps in Wardrobe.
Jack’s Ma blows his mind by telling him that she used to live Outside, and that Old Nick stole her and brought her to Room seven years ago. She has a plan for them to get out of Room, but Jack can’t believe that the things he’s seen on the fuzzy TV screen for years are real. How can there be anything but him and Ma and Room?
The premise for this book sounds like something that a Stephen King or Dean Koontz would have come up with, and it certainly works as a kind of horror novel as Jack’s innocent depiction of life inside Room shows Ma to be the victim of a horrible crime that she is trying to shield her son from. What makes this so chilling and heartbreaking is Jack’s view of the Room as the entire world, and he has so adapted to it that the very idea of real people existing outside of it is something akin to blasphemy to him.
The writing here is exceptional, and Emma Donoghue makes what could be an over-the-top plot into a character based and all too plausible story. It’s creepy and chilling and terrible and intriguing and kind of sweet.