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am 16. Juni 2011
Looking at the book I want to say it is bad, but I just cannot do that. Neither can I say it is a good book. So, what is the book about? It is not easy to talk about the story without telling too much of it.
For starters let's just say it is the story of five-year-old Jack, who lives with his Ma in Room, and the adventures following his fifth birthday. When Jack was four he thought he knew the world, but with five everything has changed.
Jack is the narrator of the book. The reader only gets his point of view in his voice, that of a five-year-old. In general I like this practice, keeping the narrative voice true to the narrator instead of just writing from his viewpoint. But reading this book I never completely felt comfortable with the language he uses, it got on my nerves pretty soon. Later I discovered why that is. Jack's character is very smart for a five-year-old, he can read and write, memorize long and complex sentences, count and calculate. However, Emma Donoghue gives him bad grammar to show it is his voice. He seems incapable of using irregular verbs for the simple past properly and most of his questions are grammatically wrong. Whereas these are probably typical steps for a five-year-old acquiring English it is just disturbing as Jack is not like other children his age.
Chosing Jack as the narrator is a smart move though, because this way Donoghue can not only show us how he sees the world and thus question the things that are natural and normal for us, but it also allows her to minimize the horror of the events that happened to him and his Ma.
Sorry, this is cryptic, so I'll give you more of the story. Stop reading if you don't want to be spoiled and see for yourself.


Jack and his Ma were held captive in Room and they managed to escape. From then on Jack is in Outside, the real world, only he never knew there was a real world outside of Room. For him Room was the World and everything in it were the only real things that existed. Now he has to adjust his world-view and deal with other people. This is not easy for him, and he doesn't understand everything.
This is one of the aspects why I cannot say the book is all bad. Our world and actions are questioned, giving the reader a lot to think about. Unfortunately the whole thing is rather boring. The story appears to be a mere backdrop to these social and philosophical observations.
Jack's Ma is another story. She was locked up and abused for seven years. Jack doesn't really understand what has happened to her and why she doesn't miss Room like he does, but he registers her behavior and thus conveys a lot of her emotional distress to the reader. As I said before, this is a clever method of showing the damage that has been done to the mother, without forcing the reader to see it from her point of view and thereby experiencing her horrors first-hand. This, I personally would not want to read.

Spoiler ends

As you can see I'm a little torn here. Looking at what the book has to say, I think it has potential to start interesting discussions and reflections of our own life. But when it comes down to reading it, I was just bored most of the time, as it was rather predictable and slow. Even though I made some wrong predictions, and there were some unexpected twists in the story, the book never really got to me.
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am 25. Januar 2011
First of all there should be some praise for the people doing the marketing of this novel. It's a good thing that they do not give away too much information about the content of the book, since it would spoil the reading experience so much. Donoghue created a very intriguing labyrinth the reader has to go through in the first two chapters of the novel; only tiny bits of information are given, which ultimately form the bigger (frightening) picture. In the following chapters the story touches on several issues that are normally so blatant to the reader, but that's the magic of the narrative. It makes the reader look at things through unexperienced eyes... I recommend this novel to different classes of readers. There are many literary allusions in the novel and even philosophical approaches to the book's content are more or less easy to find if one is familiar with theories of, for example Plato. Of corse, there is also a lot of psychological input, and it's interesting to see how Donoghue makes her characters go through emotions like despair, hope, anxiety etc. On the other hand, it's is simply a good read and appeals to a great mass of people interested in (more or less) new topics in literature and splendid narrative.
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TOP 500 REZENSENTam 1. Oktober 2012
Room ist Jacks Zuhause. Hier hat er zusammen mit Ma die ganzen fünf Jahre seines Lebens verbracht, ohne Room je verlassen zu haben. Die einzige Sicht zur Außenwelt gewähren Skylight und TV. Ab und zu bringt Old Nick etwas zu Essen vorbei. Dann muss sich Jack in Wardrobe verkriechen, bis Old Nick mit Ma fertig ist. Ma hat es bisher geschafft, Jack glauben zu machen, dass dieses Leben das Normalste von der Welt ist.

Emma Donoghue erzählt mit viel Einfühlungsvermögen die ergreifende und zur Mitte hin höchst dramatische Geschichte vollständig aus Sicht des kleinen Jack. Wunderschön die kindliche, aber nicht verniedlichte Sprache, in der Room, Table, oder Rug eher Namen als die Bezeichnungen sind und Jack gleichsam die Personen ersetzen, die ihm vorenthalten werden.

Durch Jacks Augen beobachten wir den Kampf einer Mutter, die nach Kräften versucht, in dieser abnormalen, isolierten Welt ihrem Sohn so aufwachsen zu lassen, dass er keinen allzu großen Schaden nimmt, und im Verhältnis zu ihrem Entführer so die Balance zu wahren, dass sie nicht selber den Verstand verliert. Dass ihr beides nicht gleichermaßen gut gelingt, sieht man im zweiten Teil des Romans, in dem Jack und Ma nach gelungener Flucht versuchen, in der erstmals erlebten bzw. wiedergewonnen Freiheit Fuß zu fassen.
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am 30. Dezember 2010
I'm a little torn. I would've liked to give this book 5 stars, but something is missing... I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe Donoghue could have dived in deeper, maybe the pace was set too fast, maybe it could have been even more captivating... BUT: four stars mean something. Four stars mean I really liked this book. There's a twist (that you can anticipate from the start but nevertheless it's enthralling), there's powerful and poetic language (coming from a five year old, quite convincing most of the time), there are moments when you're on the edge of your seat completely captivated and emotionally involved - you might be crying or laughing even if books usually don't make you do these things...
I wish I could say more but I'd spoil a good deal of the book. I can only say that it has the power to make you question the way you live and think about things that happen to you and in the world - if you're not already questioning all of this anyway. And if you do, then at least you'll have a good and at times even brilliant read.

"If I ran away, I'd become a chair and Ma wouldn't know which one. Or I'd make myself invisible and stick to Skylight and she'd look right through me."
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am 13. November 2012
Room ist ein wunderbares und zugleich sehr erschreckendes Buch. Man kommt in die kleine Welt des kleinen Jacks und erfährt, dass er in einem einzigen Zimmer zusammen mit seiner Mutter lebt. Für ihn ist es etwas ganz normales, schließlich ist er es nicht anders gewöhnt. Deshalb ist er auch so überrascht, als seine Mutter ihm mitteilt, dass es außerhalb von Room auch noch eine Welt gibt. Mit echten Menschen und allen drum und dran.
Obwohl ich das Buch in Englisch gelesen habe, hatte ich überhaupt keine Probleme beim Lesen. Es wird ja aus der Sicht von Jack erzählt und ein kleiner Junge hat noch eine sehr einfache Sprache. Aber gerade das hat den Charme des Buches ausgemacht. Mit den Augen eines Kindes wird man durch seine Welt geführt.
Jack ist ein sehr sympathischer Junge und man leidet mit ihm und fühlt seine Verwirrtheit, als er so viele neue Informationen über die Welt außerhalb von Room erhält. Und auch seine Mutter sollte man nicht vergessen. Sie hat trotz ihrer schwierigen Situation alles dafür getan, dass es Jack gut geht und für ihn sozusagen eine eigene Welt erschaffen.
Mir hat das Buch sehr gut gefallen und ich würde es auch empfehlen. Ich kenne sonst keine Bücher, die aus der Sicht von Kleinkindern geschrieben sind, deswegen ist es schon mal etwas Besonderes und absolut lesenswert.
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am 5. Dezember 2012
In Room, everything (every Thing) has a name. There is Bed, Skylight, Spoon, Door… They have a gender, too. That's because they are unique.

In Room, things are valued. Things such as Meltedy Spoon, the spoon with the molten plastic handle. They are cherished until they literally break, and when they do, often something else is created from them. Special things, such as a pair of jeans or a box of chocolates, are received as a Sunday Treat. It's Old Nick who brings Sunday Treats. The same Old Nick who visits little Jack's Ma at night in her bed when Jack is required to spend the night in Wardrobe. Old Nick is kind of scary, and although he brings everything they need for life, Ma doesn't seem to like him too much.

In Room, there is no one but five-year-old Jack, Ma, and Jack's Friends from TV (apart from Old Nick who doesn't really count.) Ma invents games for Jack all day long. They do Physical Education by jumping on and off the furniture, play word games and guess songs. She creates Eggsnake from a bunch of old Eggshells, a castle from boxes, and she teaches Jack math, reading and writing. Apart from the times she is Gone, though. When she is Gone, she doesn't do anything, she doesn't react, she just stays in bed. But that doesn't happen very often, and Jack is happy.

Until, one day, inexpectedly and incomprehensibly, Ma tells Jack that there is a world outside Room, a real world that is not only on TV, and that she wants to go back there. Jack is excited. He is important, he can help Ma to realize the great plan to trick Old Nick and to escape from Room. And they do.

Only the outside world is not what Jack had expected. It is loud and bright, there are zillions of people, it hurts his eyes and ears, there is food he never saw before, and Ma starts to behave strangely, too. To throw away things, for example. And of course there are all those people who want to talk to them, film them, examine them, treat them all the time.
It is a hard time for Jack, and also for Ma, and it takes them quite some effort to finally start off a new life. And to become more independent from each other, both of them. But they manage.

The book is brilliantly written, consistently from the perspective of Jack who has been born in Room and has never seen anything else. Although nobody but a five-year-old can really be inside the head of a five-year old, it is probably – as a mother of three I dare to say – as close as one could get. It is a splendid mixture of thriller, suspense, psychological portrait, mother-child love story, and study in child development. There are one or two moments that made me hesitate, which I did not find too plausible. But only one or two (and I am not going to tell them, for spoiler reasons.) You can easily get over them because the rest is so captivating. A fascinating read!
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am 10. Januar 2012
The book is written from the view of Jack, who was born and raised in a little shed in Old Nick's garden which he has never left. Some years ago, Old Nick has kidnapped and locked up his mom and he keeps raping her on a regular basis. The outcome of one of these rapes is little Jack. Jack was told that the whole world consists of everything in "Room" only. He believes that outside Room there is only outer space. So he lives in Room (which is the name for Jacks "world") with his Ma - and he can't complain! As he never saw something else, he doesn't miss e. g. other people or walks in the park. The only thing he needs in the world is his Ma. So they keep playing games, doing exercises (as far as possible) and watch TV (Jack believes TV is just TV - it is not real and the people in it aren't either). So the comparison to Plato's allegory of the cave is definitely suitable.

Some people say that the book isn't plausible as a five year old boy would never talk/ think as given in the book. But honestly: who knows? Small kids are learning so fast and they observe a lot. Yes, it is a bit weird that Jack has problems of building the past tense and a few minutes later he's suddenly able to finish long and complicated sentences in a TV show without a problem at all. But I have heard so many kids repeating phrases they heard where even adults had problems to catch up. This is just because the kids are only repeating - without really getting the meaning of the phrase sometimes. Adults are always trying to get the point or the fact behind the phrase - instead of just the sequence of the words like kids do. So it is my point of view that the Jack building wrong sentences and the Jack finishing academic phrases can be one person. But I guess everybody has to decide on its own if this is a failure of the writer or not.

But for me the writer has a very good ability to display situations from the view of this five year old (captured) boy. At the beginning it is actually a bit hard to read the book because you have to adjust to the structure. Reading the book in English helped to eliminate one further problem German readers may have: Jack is personalizing things, so Table is his friend and so is Wardrobe. If you read the book in English you directly see this as Room, Table etc. are written in capital letters. If you read the book in German you might wonder why he does not say e.g. "the table".

Once you adjusted to the structure the book gives you a bag full of emotions. When Jack is happy you are happy as well, but you are suffering hard when Old Jack is "creaking bed" with his Ma. Jack of course doesn't know what that guy is doing to his Ma but the reader does know....Even some "games" do not sound as funny for us as for Jack.... Some of them almost made me cry.

I've heard about some people missing a declaration of motives why Old Nick kidnapped Ma. Honestly: I don't care for his motives! I do not approve any motive to kidnap or rape so every motive indicated would still be non representational in my point of view. I really can not think of a motive which would serve as an excuse for this crime, so I do not miss Old Nick's point of view in this book.

But this book is really a great work of a brave writer. I respect the writer a lot for having the courage to write about such a difficult topic plus deciding to write from the view of the boy. The book gives you a deep insight into their world and it is also a story about surviving - no matter how hopeless the situation seems to be.
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am 8. Dezember 2011
Jack und Ma haben eigentlich ein ganz normales Leben. Sie tun ganz alltägliche Dinge, sie spielen, sie essen, sie schlafen, sie putzen, sie treiben Sport, sie sehen fern. Nur vor die Tür gehen sie niemals.

Jack ist fünf und erzählt uns von diesem Alltag mit seiner Mutter in ihrem Zuhause, dem Raum der für Jack die ganze Welt ist. Diese Perspektive ist wirklich außergewöhnlich, dadurch für den Leser einerseits sehr gewöhnungsbedürftig, andererseits faszinierend. Jack is in diesem kleinen Raum geboren und fünf Jahre lang aufgewachsen, dass sein Vater der Entführer seiner Mutter ist, der beide seit Jahren gefangen hält weiß er nicht. Für ihn gibt es keine Welt außerhalb des Raums. Dennoch lernt der Leser Jack als ein ziemlich normales Kind kennen.

Nachdem Jack fünf Jahre lang in diesem Gefängnis, dieser von seiner Mutter perfekt inszenierten Illusion aufgewachsen ist, fängt er an, diese Welt zu hinterfragen. Und hier setzt das Buch an, an dem Punkt an dem Jack in ein Alter kommt, in dem es für seine Mutter zunehmend schwierig wird die Illusion aufrecht zu erhalten. Denn das ist der Punkt, an dem die Mutter die Flucht der beiden plant.

Mich haben an dem Buch zwei Aspekte besonders angesprochen. Zum einen das Konzept der geschaffenen Welt, der Welt die die Eltern für Ihre Kinder erfinden. Mir hat sich hier die Frage gestellt, inwieweit das gleiche - auf weniger extreme Art - auch in der Welt hier draußen geschieht; wie die Welt eines Kindes das ist, was sein Umfeld ihm vermittelt.

Der andere Aspekt ist eine Frage, die gegen Ende des Buches aufgeworfen wird. Die Frage, ob was die Mutter getan hat, was sie ihrem Kind angetan hat, damit es in diesem Raum aufwachsen zu lassen, ob dieser pure Egoismus, das Kind als Überlebenstaktik zu nutzen moralisch vertretbar ist.

Fünf Sterne gebe ich diesem Buch dafür, dass es mich auf verschiedene Weise berührt hat und dafür, dass es völlig anders ist als jedes Buch, dass ich gelesen habe.
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TOP 1000 REZENSENTam 13. Januar 2011
Eigentlich mag ich Bücher nicht,auf den hinten nur preisende Schlagworte stehen, aber keine gescheite Inhaltsangabe stehen. Nachdem ich es nun doch gelesen habe, weiß ich, warum da nicht wie üblich eine Inhaltsangebe steht: es ist schlicht unmöglich, auch nur den Beginn der Handlung zusammenzufassen, ohen gleich wesentliche Entwicklungen preiszugeben. Genau dies werde ich jetzt trotzdem versuchen.

Jacks und Mas Welt ist "Room", gerade mal 11x11 Fuß groß, mit Mini-Küche und Mini-Bad, einem Oberlicht und keinem Fenster. Dafür gibts eine Tür mit Zahlenschloss. Jack ist hier zur Welt gekommen, Ma ist schon etwas länger da. Für Jack sind alle Dinge einzigartig, warum ihre Bezeichnung auch immer ihr Name ist: der Teppich heißt Teppich, die Decke heißt Decke usw. Gelegentlich kommt Old Nick zu Besuch, dann gibt es Essensnachschub, Sunday-Treats und eine rhythmisch quietschende Matratze.

*** Spoiler***


An Jacks fünften Geburtstag beschließt Ma, daß es nun an der Zeit ist, Jack von der Welt draußen zu erzählen. Für Jack ist Draußen allerdings ein unverständliches Konzept- bis er tatsächlich damit konfrontiert wird. Die Flucht wird geplant und gelingt tatsächlich. Doch wären Ma scheinbar mühelos in ihre alte Welt zurückfindet, ist Jack mit der Welt DRAUSSEN maßlos überfordert. Ma ist nich nur Ma, sondern hat noch einen anderen Namen. Es gibt andere Frauen, die ebenfalls Ma heißen. Es gibt Decken, die nicht DECKE sind. Selbstverständliche Verwaltensweisen sind DRAUSSEN plötzlich nicht mehr richtig.
Und dann zeigt sich auch noch, daß Ma keineswegs so gut draußen klarkommt, wie es zunächst schien...


*** Spoiler Ende ***

Was dieses Buch wohl Booker-Prize-verdächtig macht, ist Jack. Dieser kleine Junge wirkt absolut echt und als fünfjähriges Wolfskind wirklich authentisch. Das allein ist eine Glanzleistung. Die Geschichte ist auch wirklich schön geschrieben, was wiederum besonders gut in den Jack-Passagen zum Vorschein kommt. Das Handlungsgerüst wirkt allerdings doch ein bißchen konstruiert - selbst unter dem Eindruck, daß sich ähnliche Dinge tatsächlich ereignet haben.

Es bleibt für mich trotzdem bei vier Sternen. Das liegt daran, daß ich zwar durchaus die schriftstellerische Qualität erkennen kann, mich die Geschichte aber seltsam unberührt läßt.

Vielleicht habe ich zu viel Zeit damit zugebracht, über Amstetten nachzudenken - den Parallelen konnte ich mich absolut nicht entziehen.
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am 21. März 2016
I was not sure if i should read the book as it is told from the perspective of the 5-year old Jack who is captivated with his mother in a small ROOM... But after just a few sides I was disturbed, stunned by the book. I had tears in my eyes... The atmosphere the author created is oppressive. Sometimes I was shocked, sometimes I laughed, sometimes if didn't know what to think but all the time I was disturbed.

Although the book is not based on a true story, we all know that there were cases like that and there will be cases like that. I think this made me feel this bad sometimes while reading the book. You do not know how many people are out there having a life like this...

Nevertheless, the book is great! It left me with a kind a emptiness and it made me think about my life and the world. The message behind the story is terrific! It is not a book for your entertainment, it is a profound, a story for reflection and it is defintely absolutely great literature!
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