ROOM By Emma Donoghue

I resisted reading Room since it was published in 2010. Diane, Katie, and Patrick all read it and encouraged me to read Room so it could be a “Family Book” (a book all of us have read). But, I held out. The story of a woman kept as a sex slave and her 5-year-old son didn’t appeal to me. Then the movie version of Room showed up and garnered rave reviews. Then Patti Abbott put Room at the top of her Best Movies of 2015. And Patti encouraged me to read the book.

I’ve read Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin so I had some idea of what Room would be like. The story is narrated by a small boy who only knows the world from the inside of a shed. His mother allows a bit of TV but that further complicates the boy’s version of the world. Donoghue creates a unique world inside the shed that is the woman and boy’s prison. Other complications make both the book and the movie challenging. I admire both works, but be prepared to cry. I sure did. GRADE: B+ (for both the book and movie)

10 thoughts on “ROOM By Emma Donoghue

  1. Wolf Böhrendt

    Well (or rather not so good …), I have to confess that I don’t want to read the book after finding out that it is based on a real case that happened in Austria some years ago – everybody was shocked then, me of course included, nobody could really believe it.
    An even more unbelievable and horrible story!
    “… she had been held captive for 24 years in a concealed corridor part of the basement area of the large family house by her father, Josef Fritzl (born April 9, 1935), and that Fritzl had physically assaulted, sexually abused, and raped her numerous times during her imprisonment. ”

    Makes one throw up!
    Btw there was at least one similar case in Germany – though there it didn’t take the authorities so long to react. And I’ve heard about other cases in the USA.

    1. george Post author

      Wolf, I resisted ROOM for five years. My wife, son, and daughter (with Patti Abbott’s indirect influence) finally motivated me to read the novel and watch the movie. It’s a heart-breaking story.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Pass, pass, pass.

    I don’t care how good it is, it isn’t for me. I’m too old to read stuff I don’t want to read because it is popular, no matter how well written.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, I shared your attitude toward ROOM for five years. But Diane, Patrick, and Katie wore me down. It’s a gut-wrenching story. Brie Larson and Jeremy Trembley’s performances are terrific. As I mentioned, I cried during ROOM. Life can be cruel sometimes and it was for these characters.

    2. maggie mason

      I agree, Jeff. As I get older, I tend to relish what time I have left. I don’t want to read (or watch) things that are depressing. There may be a happy ending, but I don’t want to go thru the heartache to get there. For that reason, I’ll never watch the movie Phar Lap again. If you want an inspirational movie about horse racing, or more acurately, a horse who is a race horse, this is it.

      I find my mystery reading is also getting “lighter” and the humorous ones appeal to me more and more. Donna Andrews and David Rosenfelt top that list.

      Right now I’m reading David McCallum’s mystery and really enjoy it. Not sure if “Ilya and Ducky” actually wrote it, but it is holding my interest.

      I do still read Lee Child, Louise Penny, etc. but veer more towards funny. I’m going to start interweaving Wodehouse in the reading, not just on audio books

      1. george Post author

        Maggie, I totally agree. I like lighter fare, too. But ROOM–both the book and the movie–are powerful works of Art. But very disturbing.

  3. Deb

    I read SLAMMERKIN, a beautifully written but relentlessly downbeat account of a prostitute in 18th-century England. I felt then (and continue to feel now) that Emma Donague is simply not a writer for me. The subject matter of this book/movie is so overpoweringly grim, I just don’t feel like reading (or watching) it.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, I share your opinion of Emma Donoghue. She writes about very grim things. Her novel, ROOM, is cleverly written from the viewpoint of the child. The movie uses this perspective in part, but the action is too much for a 5-year-old’s consciousness so other elements are introduced to tell the story. For those who chose to read ROOM and/or see the movie version, be warned that it’s an intense experience.


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