Eleven feet wide, eleven feet long, eight foot high. No windows except a skylight that once in awhile gave a sneak- peak at the sun. It was the whole universe. Jack was born in “Room”. The smell of the cake baking engulfed the room in a warm sweet aroma. Jack was turning five years old. Watching the small 12 inch TV, Jack saw Dora the Explorer’s friend’s birthday cakes. He knew there was supposed to be five candles on his cake. But Ma did not ask for candles for Sunday Treat. She needed to ask for things that would last. So for that day, he would be mad at Ma.
Jack loved to watch Dora and the puffy haired woman that told the news. Ma told him that everything on the TV was make believe. Jack knew that “Old Nick” was real. Old Nick came to see Ma every night after Jack went to bed in “Wardrobe”. Jack could hear the Squeak of “Bed” when Jack came to visit Ma in the night. He counted the squeaks until they stopped and he heard the “beep beep” of “Door” opening and closing. After Nick was gone, Ma would get Jack from “Wardrobe” and let him sleep in “Bed” beside her the rest of the night.
Emma Donoghue is brilliant in making a five year old boy, born in captivity, be the narrator of this story. Jack did not know he was a prisoner. His life was filled with things to do every day. Oone day Ma told him the truth. She said that people and houses and trees were real, but Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob Square Pants were still make believe. It was all very hard for Jack to understand. Now that he was five, Ma needed Jack to help her make the “Great Escape” to the “Outside”.
The “Great Escape” was risky and extremely dangerous. Ma felt it was their only choice. She had been a prisoner in this room for 7 years. She had only been 19 when he abducted her. The book is riveting. Donoghue does such a fantastic job of portraying not only the characters, but the environment itself. I found myself audibly saying, “Don’t do it”; I was so afraid for their lives.
This is one book where I must be careful not to give away too much. Do yourself a favor and don’t read too many reviews on this. It is a story best read not knowing what to expect. So I leave the story here, my readers and friends, for you to pick up this book. It is an easy read. However, two hours was not enough time discussing it in my book club. I read it twice and found things the second time I had missed the first time around. My book club rated it a 4.75 out of our top 5.