Emma Donoghue's 2010 novel Room may possibly be the most perplexing novel I have read this year. It follows the life of Jack, a typical Dora-the-Explorer-loving child, starting on the morning of his fifth birthday. However, there is one hitch in his upbringing that makes him far from typical: Jack has spent his entire life confined with his mother in one very small room.
Narrated by Jack himself, Donoghue's novel raises questions about perception and allows you to examine the world through the honest eyes of a child. However, while the novel itself is based on a very interesting concept and provides an exciting storyline from start to finish, a five-year-old can sometimes be a confusing and egocentric storyteller. For example, Jack rarely lets you explore his mother's feelings and emotional connection to the room, choosing instead to quickly change the subject or ignore her backstory altogether.
While a five-year-old's narration may leave much to be desired, this flaw is easily overlooked, as the reader is drawn in by the compelling themes of sacrifice and love illustrated through Ma's relationship with Jack. Room truly is an emotional story, guaranteed to place you within those four walls and leave you contemplating life long after the final page is turned.
--by Brooke Hadder