Thoughts   Room by Emma Donoghue / Little,Brown and Company ebook download to iPad, 2010, pages 832

Another rambling post since this is reviewed everywhere.    I don’t think I’ve seen any that hated it.   (Except on   I read this because it is our October Book Club* Choice.    Knowing I would have to buy it, I decided it was perfect as my official inaugural iPad bookread and I must say that the ebook reading experience is awesome.   I am very pleased.

However, this novel…   This is one of those times that I wonder about how I think about things and how wavering my critical eye is (or is not).    Did hype and overexposure have something to do with it?

I give this book 3 slices of pie.      Before anyone comments ‘sorry this one didn’t work out for you’, just know that 3 stars means that I liked it just fine, but it won’t be a favorite at the end of the year.

I keep writing and erasing and writing and highlighting and deleting all sorts of analysis attempts but it all comes down is that the book was fine, I found it thankfully not gutwrenchingly horrible but fresh in its presentation.   But I didn’t love it.

In fact, I almost gave up on it at one point** when I thought it was going to veer off into disaster and it didn’t quite, so I went ahead and finished it.    The ending was good.

I guess what I liked best is that it wasn’t overly sentimental or pushy.    I’ll shut up now.

I do want to read Slammerkin someday.

OH wait!  I do have one more thing to add.     While reading, I assumed (or maybe it WAS in the book – too lazy to check) that the setting was California – but upon finishing and realizing that Donoghue is not American and doh- the book is up for the Booker so that means non-American or ‘other side of the pond’ or something, right?  so I thought that WELL-DONE that it really could have been set almost anywhere.    Am I assuming right or wrong?   Maybe I should do some research.   nah…




* My October Book Club meeting is not until 10/21.    I usually don’t read them this far in advance.

** When they let him go to the mall?! Are you freakin’ kidding me?   Too much.


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30 thoughts on “Room

  1. Emma Donoghue is Canadian, but the book is set in America – not sure if location is mentioned exactly. I read somewhere about her wanting it to be set in a country dominated by TV media.

    Sorry to hear that the hype ruined it a bit for you. Room is my favourite book of the year so far, but I did read it before all the hype 🙂

  2. I’m glad to see someone who wasn’t totally I LOVE IT because that gives me more realistic expectations for when I get to it at some point 🙂 I’m interested to try for myself and see what I think!

    1. From what I’ve heard from other bookclubbers, I’m not the only one who wasn’t blown away.
      Don’t get me wrong, it is well done and well-written and quite moving. 🙂

    1. Yes, you caught me when I was questioning the plotline in a big way! But it turned out OK.

      I did go and test the audio preview of this and can tell you that I’m GLAD I did NOT listen to this book. I would have been driven crazy by the kid’s voice.

  3. My opinion is the same. Good but not great. I just couldn’t get an emotional response to the mother and the boy, myself. It had something to do with the narrative of the boy, it just didn’t work for me. But overall, good book, just not great or anything.

  4. It is nice to see someone have a different opinion! As it happens, not every book works for every person 🙂 I want to read this but am intrigued because the subject is so vastly different from what I normally go for.

    1. Amused, how true. I was thinking that my 3 stars is when I recognize the book probably is very good but it just didn’t quite grab me. Four stars can be a mixed bag; I love it dearly even while recognizing flaws (minor flaws) and 5 stars is wow,wow,wow!!! Ratings-schmatings — it’s all subjective and changes with mood, too.

  5. I don’t think I will read this. I know everyone tells me that it is not horrible, but I fully expected it to be too much to deal with. I wanted to read it badly, but having read an awful lot of reviews of the book by now, I am not so sure anymore. It was refreshing to read your “I liked it just fine” review, because at times it is easy to feel there is too much love around for a book. Of course, that does not mean the book doesn’t deserve it, it is just.. good to hear other opinions as well.

    1. Iris, it’s OK not to want to read every book! My friends harass me with how many books I have in goodreads as TO-READ when I will have to live to the age 273 to ever attempt and that’s without adding to it!
      I don’t know enough about your reading experience in this ‘genre’ if it is classifiable here, but you get to decide your own reading choices. “Book blogging peer pressure” be damned! hee hee

  6. Ruthiella

    Hi Care,
    The Booker Prize is for UK and Commenwealth authors (so Canada, Australia, India etc.). I haven’t read “The Room” yet. Like Iris, I worry it will be too much. Funny, when I was younger, books and movies that were dark, depressing and/or sad didn’t bother me as much as now.

    1. Thank you Ruthiella, you are too kind to provide me the information I lack. I do appreciate it!
      and I don’t mind at all if you don’t choose to read it. There’s plenty of books out there to entertain and enthrall and/or educate/amuse/etc.

  7. It can be so hard to review a book that so many people have already read and gushed about. Even if you enjoyed it, if you don’t wax ecstatic about it, people think you didn’t like it.

        1. Cool, I am intrigued abt Slammerkin – if not the title alone which is fun to say. When the description to this novel says ‘her lust for a shiny red ribbon…’ hey! I like ribbons! so, I’m already thinking I’ll like it (without the hype that I *should* like it?)

          Don’t be confused, my wonderful readers have explained here that Ms. Donoghue was born in Ireland and now lives in Canada. She wanted to set this book in a country with high TV exposure kind of culture so thus, US (or at least now Australia since some charactrer flies to/fro) and … and that the Booker is open to all English speaking countries except America. I think because of that revolution thing in the 1700s?

  8. I’ve pretty much decided to read this if it wins the Booker and probably skip if it doesn’t. I think Donoghue was born in Ireland and lives in Canada now.

  9. I’ve had the same problem, where I’ve said I liked a book but just didn’t love it and most of the comments were about being sorry that I was disappointed. I must say, though, that I tend to read more books that are just okay or pretty good than must-add-this-to-my-all-time-favorite-reads-list. That’s just the way it goes.

    1. Lisa, it IS interesting to me that so many loveLOVElove it and I am really getting into the reviews for why. Book club is this week and so far NO ONE I’ve talked to (4 of the 7 in club) liked it at all. I’m actually one of the more positive! Should be a heck of a conversation – I think I will end up defending it for some reason. I feel like I have to defend these glowing reviews I’ve read! (why I do not know.)

  10. KB


    As we’ll discuss on Thursday, this was just “ok” for me. I was the first to look to grab it at Borders, looked at the pages, thought “Are you KIDDING me?!” and refused to buy it. D handed if off to me, I read it and handed it off to one of my juniors who say it on my desk and wanted to read it.

    Did I finish it? Yes. Did I like it? Meh. But I didn’t love it enough to rave about it, nor did I hate it enough to quit reading about it.

    Lots for The Bookies to discuss.

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