Review of Room by Emma Donoghue

3 of 5 stars

CW: sexual assault, suicide, some ablism

I’ve been wanting to read this book for years but kept putting it off because I was worried the subject matter would be too heavy for me. That being said, I’m glad I read it but I probably won’t be rereading it.

I didn’t love this book, but I also didn’t hate it. There were a few elements I really disliked, but none that stood out as something I really liked; everything else was just neutral.

I wasn’t comfortable with the way mental health was handled. Jack and his mom label a group of people as crazies, which made no sense to me. There are also some side characters with mental illnesses, and though I liked the blunt, accepting view Jack had with most of them, overall I felt like the author was portraying mental illness with the same stigma that it often and problematically carries in most media.

There were other little things that bugged me, like the timeline and the issue of money. Of course they weren’t addressed by the narrator, because those issues aren’t on the radar of a 5-year-old, but as an adult reader some things just didn’t make sense and I would have appreciated some more explanation.

Finally, I would have liked the story to be more about recovery. I expected less of the story to be spent learning about their lives in Room and more of the story to be focused on their plans to escape and, more importantly, to recover from the trauma they’ve experienced. In the end, though, that’s not what the story was about and most of the recovery happened after the book ended.

Overall, I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book often.

Author: SeeOwlRead

They/She. I’m a queer reviewer and librarian.

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