I’ve Spent My Whole Life Surrounded, And I’ve Spent My Whole Life Alone

I’m going to recycle an old LiveJournal book review again this week.  I know, I know.  But here’s the thing … I haven’t completed the book I’m currently reading.  (I’ve actually been neglecting it quite a bit, so it might be a while before I write any book reviews that aren’t from last year.)

If you missed my first Saturday Book Club post, I’ll review my rating system.  I have rated all of the books I’ve previously reviewed (and will be rating any books I review in the future) based on the Netflix rating system.  For those unfamiliar with this system: 

One star = Hated it

Two stars = Didn’t like it

Three stars = Liked it

Four stars = Really liked it

Five stars = Loved it

My first Saturday Book Club review was written about one of the better books I read in 2012.  Today’s review will be written about one of the few books I read in 2012 that was a real disappointment.


Image courtesy of http://www.barnesandnoble.com.

Room by Emma Donoghue

321 pages

Room is both interesting and incredibly frustrating due to the fact that the novel is narrated by a 5 year old boy named Jack.  This was a fresh idea, particularly since Donoghue does an excellent job capturing the innocence and inquisitiveness of such a young child.  However, it was also difficult at times to muddle through the baby talk and weird descriptions.

Jack in an interesting character, though, because he was born and raised in captivity … So in many ways he’s more innocent than your average 5 year old kid.  His mother, known as “Ma” throughout the book, was kidnapped 7 years ago by a man simply known as “Old Nick.”  Old Nick created an 11×11 foot world for Ma using an old shed he updated with every security feature imaginable to ensure she couldn’t escape.  After repeatedly raping her, she has a stillborn baby girl.  Later, she gives birth to a healthy baby boy she names Jack.

She does her best to create a world for her son within the constraints of Room, but as time goes on, she begins to realize they cannot go on like this much longer and devises a plan of escape.

Room follows their lives both in captivity and out.  And when we see the outside world through young Jack’s eyes, we realize the world we live in is a pretty frightening place.

As I mentioned earlier, Room was at times very difficult to get through because of the language/point of view.  I liked that it didn’t simply focus on their captivity (trust me, that part of the book got old pretty fast!), but there were plenty of times that I had to reread sentences multiple times in order to figure out what the hell Jack was talking about.

I might recommend this, but there are definitely books I’d recommend before this one.  I might read it again in the future as well, but it could potentially sit on my shelf for quite a while.  I liked it, but I didn’t … I think I was just expecting something different from the descriptions I’d read.  

I also disliked most of the characters.  They were just … Blah.  Even Jack was annoying a lot of the time, and I’m pretty sure the author wanted readers to really feel for this little boy.  Sometimes I just wanted to smack him.  Yes, I’m sure young kids act like that from time to time … But ugh.

I would give Room TWO STARS only because I’m so on the fence about my feelings about it as a whole.  Some parts were great and some parts were terrible … Eh, I don’t know.  Like I said, I’ll probably end up reading it again at some point, but I’m certainly in no rush to do so.


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