Room by Emma Donoghue has been on my list for some time. I almost mandated it for my turn at book club in December, but then remembered I never mandate, always preferring to offer my fellow clubbers with a choice.

Thankfully, my BFF is in book club and loves to mandate. And that’s how this debut novel got promoted from the proverbial nightstand and into my hands via my beloved Kindle.

So an interesting thing happened when I started reading ROOM. I wasn’t loving it and I wasn’t immediately sure why. It’s narrated by 5 year old Jack, in the innocent, rambling, run-on sentence babbling, precocious ways of many kiddos. Donoghue had nailed the voice of her narrator and it was completely authentic.

Maybe too authentic.

After a full day of work and a few hours with my own innocent, rambling, run-on sentence babbling, precocious six year old, I sat down to read looking for escape and found myself a bit as trapped as Jack and his Ma, in a tiny little room. Confused?

If you don’t know about Room, that’s the deal. Jack and his Ma live in a single room. It’s the only life Jack has ever known. There is no outside, no parks or schools, friends or family. The only other person Jack knows of is Old Nick, the man that comes by from time to time to deliver food and highly anticipated Sunday treats. As Ma passes the time reading Jack the same 5 books, creating opportunities for physical education, math and creative time, I was wondering how she didn’t go completely insane.

But I had to forge on. If not for the fact that I had heard so many good things about Room, I had to finish it for book club.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I am not going to cover any other plot points… I will say, however, that I ended up enjoying Room. The second half was the clincher for me (even though I have heard several people say they liked the first half better, go figure). Donoghue has created extremely likable protagonists in Jack and Ma in a confining and harrowing environment. I also like that the outcome was a bit of what I expected and a fair amount of what I didn’t. Donoghue’s storytelling is compelling, engaging and different. She’s definitely someone I will keep an eye on in the future.

Rating: 3 stars
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction