A Novel

Book - 2010
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Narrator Jack and his mother, who was kidnapped seven years earlier when she was a 19-year-old college student, celebrate his fifth birthday. They live in a tiny, 11-foot-square soundproofed cell in a converted shed in the kidnapper's yard. The sociopath, whom Jack has dubbed Old Nick, visits at night, grudgingly doling out food and supplies. But Ma, as Jack calls her, proves to be resilient and resourceful--and attempts a nail-biting escape.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316098335
Characteristics: ix, 321 p. ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Elizabeth Fritzl explained to police in 2008 that she had been held captive for 24 years by her father. She gave birth to 7 children, half of who lived in captivity alongside her.

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Excellent book. Donoghue’s novel is a portrayal of the lives of a young woman kidnapped and held captive with her 5 year old son in a stranger’s backyard shed. This book is riveting and very real. Donoghue’s ability to inhabit her characters’ minds is evident in that the story is told from the perspective of the child. For a book that was not overly “action-packed” it is a real page-turner. (submitted by JM)

Jul 25, 2018

I read this book and did a project about it in my English reading class, which turned out great. This book was great but the beginning kind of got boring and I do believe it was for the readers to develop what is happening. It also got really confusing, overall it was great and really trilling.

Feb 15, 2018

Thank you for all your comments. I have not read the book yet, but I am exited to read it now.

Jan 03, 2018

What can I say about this book that numerous other reviewers haven't already said?
I was initially worried about it being written from the perspective of a child because I am a pretty bad reader and get confused and lost easily, but that wasn't the case at all with this book. I couldn't stop reading! It kept me wanting to know more; how is Jack and Ma doing?

I gave this book 4.5 stars because....


[ I didn't think it was very realistic after they left Room. I don't think Jack would have coped so well being torn from Ma and sent to Grandma and Steppa's when his mom stayed at the clinic. I also didn't like how the book ended so "fluffy." I don't think reentering society would have been that easy. But, I also know if it was written realistically, it would be an extremely long book. I just feel like it kind of dropped off at the end, unfortunately, a lot of good books do.

GillyGal Oct 21, 2017

This book took me by surprise. I started listening to the story and found myself intrigued. The narrator chosen for the audio was excellent. I thought the story was well written and suspenseful. I would recommend this book even though it is not an easy read.

ArapahoeSusanJ Aug 05, 2017

A powerful story highlighting the unbreakable bond between mother and son. How do you make lemons out of lemonade? Ask Jack, the courageous 5 year old who has lived in a room the size of a garage his entire life and has never been outside. This dynamic duo reminded me of what is really important to share with my children...time.

SCL_Leanne Jul 17, 2017

I don't often re-read books but I did with this one. A work of fiction that is so believable. Emma Donoghue has written a fantastic story about a horrible situation.

May 04, 2017

I read this book for the first time 5 years ago and it is still my absolute favourite!! Everything about this book is brilliant. There is such a beautiful bond between mother and son, despite the brutal circumstances that they are forced to live with. Child innocence is such a big part of this book, specifically because it is narrated by five-year-old Jack. Very very realistic. Loved it!!!!!!!

Also- the movie is nothing in comparison to this book. The movie disregards a lot of important details and drags on near the end. Would definitely recommend the book instead.

Apr 29, 2017

I have never met a book that I have loved more fully from the first word. It is a captivating novel, involving a mother's strength and perseverance, and her son's marvelous ability to make the most out of their situation. Be warned, it is a difficult read, because of the subject matter and the perspective, but well worth it. If you are a fan of different perspectives, or are really interested in how perspectives can influence characterization, this is a book for you. The mind of Jack gives the whole book an imaginative and innocent spin to the novel, balancing the other brutal aspects. And do not worry, there is a happy ending to look forward to.

Apr 06, 2017

Dreadful book and very hard to read. Not a book if you want light entertaining reading.

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Jan 03, 2018

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Crheneghan Feb 03, 2011

Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

Crheneghan Feb 03, 2011

Violence: This title contains Violence.

Crheneghan Feb 03, 2011

Coarse Language: This title contains Coarse Language.


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Jul 28, 2016

This book is heart-wrenching. A heroic mother caring for her son, whilst held captive in a tiny shed with only a sky light to view the world.

This was a very interesting, disturbing book that, while slow moving at times, kept me intrigued because of how psychologically suspenseful it was.

Jack is the narrator and, at 5 years old, has an interesting voice that varies between young/stunted and much more sophisticated. That is thanks to being raised completely confined to a Room with his mother, who was abducted at age 19 and kept locked up by her captor ever since. Jack and his mother spend every second together inventing games and exercises and such to pass the time and stay healthy. The time comes to make an escape plan, but can they survive in the outside world where Jack is unsure of his spacial surroundings and how to interact with anyone but his Ma?


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