Room was one of those books that I actually resisted reading for quite some time. I did not think that I wanted to read a book about a child who was locked up in a 11 x 11 room. The thought was just too troublesome. When I saw the audio book sitting on the shelf in the library I decided to give it a try.This was an amazing audio book and I question whether I would have felt the same had I been reading it.
Room is told from 5-year-old Jack’s perspective. The story is read by four different people who did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life. Jack’s mother had been kidnapped by “old Nick” at the age of 19 and locked in the windowless room for the past 7 years. Jack was born in the 11 x 11 Room and it was all that he knew. Old Nick was the “bringer”. He brought food and took away the trash. At night, Ma would put Jack to sleep inside ‘wardrobe” so he could not see or be seen by Old Nick. Here he would lie awake waiting for the beep beep which would signal that Old Nick had arrived. Each night he would listen to Old Nick climb into his mother’s bed and count the squeaks of the bed as well as the teeth in his mouth as he tried to fall asleep or as Jack would say “turn off”. The next morning Jack would wake up in Ma’s bed and Old Nick would be gone.
During the day Ma would keep Jack busy making toys out of toilet paper rolls or snakes out of egg shells. They would read the same books over and over again. Everyday they would climb on top of the table, beneath the sky light and scream as loud as they could. To Jack this was a game and he had no idea that they were being held captive and that his mother had never given up hope that someday they would be heard and rescued.
Room was Jack’s whole world and he had no idea that there was anyone or anything outside of his world. Everything he saw on tv was pretend. Ice cream was pretend, after all he saw it on tv but had never tasted it. Ma was an amazing mother and tried her best to make a life for the two of them under these horrific circumstances until she realized that she was running out of time.
Once I started listening to this story, I did not want to stop. I did not find it upsetting as I had expected, instead I found it to be an intriguing read. Imagine never having seen the outside. never having seen the sun or the grass. Never having seen another child or tasted an ice cream cone. Room was a thought-provoking story and would be an excellent selection for any book club. I recommend giving the audio book a try!