Jack is five years old and lives in Room with his ma. Room is all Jack has ever known because Ma was kidnapped when she was 19, taken to Room, and has been molested for seven years. Jack thinks Room is all there is and everything outside is the Universe. They do have a TV, so anything on TV that isn't in Room, is imaginary to Jack and he calls it "TV". Ice cream, for example, is TV.
Ma has tried to keep Jack sheltered from the disturbing part of their existence, but when he turns five, she tells Jack about how they come to be in Room. After he gets over the shock, they hatch a plan to escape from Room.
It takes a while to get used to the way Jack talks. Any item in Room is described as a name, such as Bed and Wardrobe, rather than as a item, which is odd. What I don't understand is why Jack talks like this when his mother doesn't. Since she's the only influence he has, wouldn't he copy her speech pattern?
Once you get past the odd speech, this novel is such a page turner! At first I was wondering how the heck Donoghue was going to make (part of) a novel interesting about two people living in a room. How much can they do differently every day to make things interesting? However, Ma gives her story on how she was kidnapped and slowly tells more about what has happened to her. Then there's the thrilling story of their escape, which has you wondering if they are really going to make it.
The book is uncomfortable, but good uncomfortable. The subject at times pushes boundaries and then questions you as to why you are uncomfortable. Room is my best read so far this year.
First Line: "Today I'm five."