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Room | [Emma Donoghue]

Room

The story of a mother, her son, a locked room, and the outside world. It's Jack's birthday, and he's excited about turning five. Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real - only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside....
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Publisher's Summary

The story of a mother, her son, a locked room, and the outside world.

It's Jack's birthday, and he's excited about turning five.

Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real - only him, Ma, and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside....

Told in Jack's voice, Room is the story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible. Unsentimental and sometimes funny, devastating yet uplifting, Room is a novel like no other.

©2010 Emma Donoghue (P)2010 Hachette Audio US

What the Critics Say

"Emma Donoghue's writing is superb alchemy, changing innocence into horror and horror into tenderness. Room is a book to read in one sitting. When it's over you look up: the world looks the same but you are somehow different and that feeling lingers for days." (Audrey Niffenegger)

"Room is one of the most profoundly affecting books I've read in a long time. Jack moved me greatly. His voice, his story, his innocence, his love for Ma combine to create something very unusual and, I think, something very important.... Room deserves to reach the widest possible audience." (John Boyne)

"I loved Room. Such incredible imagination, and dazzling use of language. And with all this, an entirely credible, endearing little boy. It's unlike anything I've ever read before." (Anita Shreve)

"I've never read a more heart-burstingly, gut wrenchingly compassionate novel . . . As for sweet, bright, funny Jack, I wanted to scoop him up out of the novel and never let him go. In him, Donoghue has created 21st-century fiction's most uniquely loveable voice. She deserves to win this year's Man Booker Prize." (Daily Mail)

"extraordinary power of Donoghue's utterly gripping story which, although not essentially just hers, has never been told in such a way before." (Mirror Book of the Week)

"In filling this book with things that are both truly horrific and rather lovely, Emma Donoghue has achieved a work that is deeply unsettling on every level. It is a strange paradox that a book about imprisonment and torture should have become an arena for discussing the proper care and love of children. I think I am glad to have read it." (Financial Times)

"What saves this beautifully nuanced book from being in any way a voyeuristic reaction to true crime is less the descriptions of captivity than the inevitably changing nature of the child / parent relationship, which Donoghue explores here so minutely, recognisably and exultantly." (Sunday Telegraph)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (387 )
5 star
 (199)
4 star
 (111)
3 star
 (52)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (17)
Overall
4.2 (84 )
5 star
 (45)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (5)
Story
3.9 (84 )
5 star
 (36)
4 star
 (25)
3 star
 (12)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    amelia UK 15/02/2011
    amelia UK 15/02/2011 Listener Since 2010

    amfan

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    0
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    "Good listen"

    I wont review the book in great detail as others have done this. What I will say is that it is certainly a good story written cleverly from a child's perspective. It is however, let down by the narration. The 'childs' voice is grating to begin with, although I did get used to it as I got more into the story. The Irish and Australian accents were probably the worst I've ever heard - laughably so, which detracted from my enjoyment of the book. Don't let this put you off though - they only made brief appearances.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Gosport, United Kingdom 13/11/2010
    Michael Gosport, United Kingdom 13/11/2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    4
    4
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    "Great book but Jack's voice could have been better"

    Fantastic book. Very gripping story-line with some real tear-jerker moments.

    The only thing I didn't like about this audio version is the voice of the child. It sounded like an adult woman pretending to be a 5-year-old boy. I realize they probably couldn't get a real 5-year-old boy to narrate it but surely they could have got an older boy to narrate, rather than a woman.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Manly, Australia 17/10/2010
    Elizabeth Manly, Australia 17/10/2010 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    51
    5
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    0
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    Overall
    "Uncomfortable book, but very well executed"

    I found this book extremely uncomfortable to listen to because of the subject matter. That said, the viewpoint of Jack, an innocent, makes it slightly more palatable, while also allowing Donoghue to pile on the irony.

    Like other listeners, I found the child's voice jarring at first, but soon settled in. I thought the person reading the child's part did incredibly well at conveying subtle emotions, and also liked the input from other voices for the other characters. If you can deal with the child's voice (which isn't for everyone, going on these reviews), I think this is a book that works very well in audiobook format.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline ambleside, United Kingdom 29/01/2011
    Caroline ambleside, United Kingdom 29/01/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
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    12
    5
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    2
    0
    Overall
    "reasonable"

    It took a while to get over the irritating Ralph Wigham ( from simpsons) voice, and to get into the situation the characters were in.

    Once into it, the story was quite interesting and exciting how the characters were coping with the situation, the simplicity of existing.

    So, all in all, a reasonable listen, just that irritating voice...listen to the preview before buying

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Astrid Cheltenham, United Kingdom 15/01/2011
    Astrid Cheltenham, United Kingdom 15/01/2011 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
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    14
    9
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    1
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    Overall
    "Outstanding!"

    This is definitely my favourite book of 2010. I notice some reviewers have not liked the narrator, and am surprised to read one person deleted the book after only 10 minutes - my advice would be to give it some time, as you do get used to him, and actually I think as you warm to the character more, it becomes quite endearing. This book stayed with me for weeks after, and really got me thinking, mainly because it's been written from a child's perspective. Very clever, very touching - a real gem of a book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 27/11/2010 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    22
    1
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    0
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    "It's right up there amongst the best I've heard!"

    Quite an amazing listen that brought tears to my eyes during a long train journey. I would advise to ignore any negative reviews that have been based soley upon the narration of 5-year-old Jack's voice. For me, it is the voice of Jack that had my emotions at breaking point at several points during the book. However, although I didn't find his voice difficult to overcome, obviously some did so bear it in mind - but DO stick with it because, as the book progresses, you will fall in love with him and want to take him home! Highly recommended!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Woodward UK 17/09/2010
    Sam Woodward UK 17/09/2010 Listener Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    11
    2
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    0
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    "Narrator sounds like Ralph Wigham..."

    This is a great story which kept me hooked throughout - hence the 3 stars. However, I found this version difficult to listen to, since the narrator sounds like Ralph Wigham from The Simpsons.

    The story is told by a 5 year-old boy, who - as is often done with voiceover work - is narrated by a woman putting on a childish voice. In this case, the voice was too blatantly female, as well as difficult to understand. I found this incredibly annoying, as it ruined the atmosphere which oozes from the book by making a tense situation sound simplified & cartoonish.

    This is one of the few instances in which I would recommend reading the actual text version over the audiobook.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicky 18/09/2010
    Nicky 18/09/2010 Member Since 2008

    Tattoodevil13

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "Brilliant thought provoking"

    At first the child's voice was very grating to listen to but once I got into the story it fitted very well. Can't say much without spoiling the story but I loved it. It was sad, emotional,heartbreaking, funny, moving, amazing in just about everyway. Give it a go once you overcome the voice you will realise it fits the story brilliantly. Cant recommend it enough.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Jane Surrey, United Kingdom 03/10/2014
    Sarah Jane Surrey, United Kingdom 03/10/2014 Member Since 2014

    hashing baby

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I didn't want it to end!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it is a fabulous book. I was put off by the subject matter, but persuaded by some good reviews and the fact it is narrated by an ensemble cast. Always a good sign if the publisher is willing to commit extra funds to book narration. I was completely gripped and felt the narrators were completely stunning. They assumed fairly flat voices in contrast to the cheerful Jack, but this complemented the sheer horror of what befell the mum and her little boy.


    What other book might you compare Room to, and why?

    I think it stands out from the crowd.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The importance of being a kind, patient and committed mother


    Any additional comments?

    I want to have temporary amnesia so I can listen to this again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Arnott Scotland 09/05/2014
    A. Arnott Scotland 09/05/2014 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Outstanding"
    Would you listen to Room again? Why?

    This is different from anything I've read before, and it was lifted into the category of brilliant by the performance. Beautifully constructed book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Told from the viewpoint of a young child, this story is funny, heartbreaking and uplifting. The part of the child 'Jack' was beautifully read. I loved it from start to finish and couldn't stop listening.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    This book is completely transformed by the narration. I found it to be exceptional and much more interesting than if I'd read the hard copy.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending of the book was very moving, but the entire book is just brilliant.


    Any additional comments?

    I read widely and this book is one of the best I've ever read. It stands out as different from the rest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 49 results PREVIOUS125NEXT
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  • Marcie
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    05/03/11
    Overall
    "Like a car crash you cannot look away from"

    I have rarely heard a better production made with more care. This book is an excellent narrative told from the viewpoint of a child born into the captivity of a 12 x 12 room. It also makes us look at the superficiality of our culture and the extraordinary things that ordinary people can achieve if beset by hardship. In this case a woman who is kidnapped and forced to live in captivity for 7 years. If I get snowed into my house for 2 days I start freaking out, so I do not really want to imagine what this character has had to endure before we end up meeting her and her wonderful son Jack.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    24/02/11
    Overall
    "Fascinating and original book"

    This is a remarkable book. First of all, it is SF-like in creating an entirely different world, the one the boy constructs (with the aid of his mother???s explanations) to rationalize the very strange environment he finds himself in - which is not at all strange to him, as it is the only one he knows. But, much more than this, it is also an absorbing and thrilling adventure, and an impressive story of maternal love, full of emotion but not at all sentimental. A really great listen, though at first I found the high-pitched narration of the boy a bit jarring. But the story was so good that I soon got over that and was drawn in completely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • C. Whigham
    edinburgh uk
    16/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "absolutely loved it!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    after listening to this version i have chosen this book for my book club to read i could not put it down, it even inspired me to go running so i could keep listening!!!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    i loved jack such a stoic wee boy!


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    the narrators were great they made the story really come to life


    If you could rename Room, what would you call it?

    i woudlnt, and i love that its just 'room' and not 'the room' you need to read it to understand why


    Any additional comments?

    fab read it!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Janie
    CAIRNS, Australia
    18/07/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This book is so good it's a freak!"

    Books like these only come by once in an eon, especially when the audiobook version is read so damn well, it just couldn't be better. There are so many layers of meaning in this book it gives you pause to reflect a long time after you finish reading it. It's about freedom and love, and ultimately about the human spirit's ability to transcend and move forward from one's own worst fears, memories and experiences. This book should be read by everyone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nina
    Bratislava, Slovakia
    08/07/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Perfectly written and narrated as well"

    This was a very interesting book which I couldn't stop listening to for a minute. It gave me the creeps when I imagined someone having to spend their childhood being locked up in a tiny room but on the other hand it described the amazing courage and hope that the main character Jack and his Ma showed throughout their ordeal. I loved Ma's creativity and Jack's perspective on the world as the book is told in his voice.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dawn Macgregor
    23/11/10
    Overall
    "Thoroughly enjoyable for a different listen."

    This is one of the few books that I listened to in two days as it was entrancing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sharon
    Brisbane, Australia
    14/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great listen!"

    This is one of very few audiobooks that I have given five stars. I am so glad I listened to it. It was one of those sorts of books that you can't wait to get back to and then when it is over feel very sorry indeed, as if a friend just moved away.

    Story - A great story and very interesting. It was consistent and believable. Seriously sad but also joyous in the resilience of the characters. I liked all of the characters and they behaved in ways that were believable which is great.

    Narrators - I usually run a mile from books that are narrated by lots of people, but this one was certainly an exception. These narrators added to the story and I think that without them the story would have lacked "a certain something".

    I thoroughly enjoyed this even though it was well outside my usual genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jodie
    Pakenham, Australia
    15/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Couldn't get this book out of my head"

    Loved this story. Loved the narration and the fact the story was told from the perspective of a child. Couldn't stop thinking about it even after I'd finished the book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amanda
    Kalannie, Australia
    10/06/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "agree its like a crash you cant look away from"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Room to be better than the print version?

    The voice of the boy is to be congratulated. Very well done.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Not a 'likeable' story, but the honesty and innocent view of the world from a child's eye is endearing and hopeful.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

    Jack


    If you could rename Room, what would you call it?

    freedom


    Any additional comments?

    So glad I read this as a book-club book, needs a 'de-briefing' session. Surprisingly all 12 members read it, with initial apprehension, and all had positive appreciation for a confronting story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Steven
    Auckland, New Zealand
    03/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I reached the limits"

    I read this book. This book is about a kid and his ma. They live in a room. The room is small. The story is told by the kid. The sentences are short. The story is predictable – that is a big word for a five-year-old kid. They are trapped in the room. The kid does not know about the outside. Then one day he does. And then the rest of the book is about the outside. And then the kid discovers things like trees, and dogs, and showers, and nurses and then I simply could not control my bowels any more and stopped reading this pile of steaming ... I am not sure what happens in the second half of the book – maybe there are angels, Martians, heroes. I don’t know and I don’t care to find out. The writing became just too tedious to tolerate. Imagine reading an entire book written by a five-year-old. A wonderful experiment, maybe, but that is like having to eat the cooking experiments of a five year old – everyday, for every meal, for a long time. Sooner or later MacDonalds is going to win. The only positive thing is the narrator – the child is simply brilliant.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 14 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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