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January 18, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma DonoghueRoom
by Emma Donoghue
Narrated by Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Suzanne Toren, Robert Petkoff

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: September 13, 2010
Format: Audio, 10 hours | 52 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Rating: 4 of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

My Thoughts:

I have read a lot of positive reviews about Room but still I hesitated to read or listen to it. The premise sounded like such a downer, so depressing. How could this possibly leave me feeling anything but awful. And so, although the book was getting a lot of attention, I chose to take a pass. Until now.

My book club chose Room as their January book for discussion. As usual, my print reading schedule was already a little tight so I decided, reluctantly, to go with the audio. I knew the story was told from a child’s perspective and mostly in a child’s voice. I wasn’t too sure I could listen to 10 hours of that. But, I was wrong. Not only was the book a good story, the audio production was exemplary.

The book was so well written and the story so compelling that I was able to engage with the characters of mom and Jack and not obsess over the more unsettling aspects of the plot. The decision to write this story from a child’s point of view was what made it work for me. In a few instances, like the very intuitive police officer that was able to provide assistance, the plot came together a little too easily, but not enough to spoil the story. I can accept a few happy coincidences. I was expecting more bad things at that point so it was a relief when things worked out well.

The audio production was superb. I wasn’t expecting to like it knowing that a small child was the narrator, but instead I loved it. An ensemble cast performed the adult characters and the voice of 5-year-old Jack was portrayed with just the right amount of emotion and wonder to make him believable.

A compelling, thought-provoking story that I’m glad I finally got around to reading.

Source: Borrowed from the library.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. BermudaOnion / Jan 18 2013 2:25 pm

    Once I adjusted to Jack’s voice, I really liked this book. I’m glad to know the audio’s well done.


    • Leslie / Jan 18 2013 3:09 pm

      The narrator did a perfect small child voice. I think it was easier to listen to a small child speak than to read the dialog and imagine it in my head. And it only took a half hour or so to adjust to the child voice.


  2. debbierodgers / Jan 18 2013 2:30 pm

    So glad you finally got to this, Leslie. I read it a couple of years ago but was never successful in convincing any of my friends that it really wasn’t so awful.


    • Leslie / Jan 18 2013 3:10 pm

      I didn’t want to miss a book club discussion, that was my motivator!


  3. Mary / Jan 18 2013 2:31 pm

    I agree about the audio production. It took me a while to even decide to read the book (or listen) but I’m glad I did.


  4. Marie / Jan 18 2013 3:15 pm

    Great review! I read the book sometime ago and loved it, although like you I initially had some reservations. It would be very cool to listen to the audio.


  5. laurelrainsnow / Jan 18 2013 4:10 pm

    This is still on my list of books to read, and your review makes me want to dive right in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  6. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jan 18 2013 6:09 pm

    Oh wow surprising that the child narrator worked out. I did like this one in print, but had trouble with the first 50 pages of Jack even in print.


    • Leslie / Jan 18 2013 6:21 pm

      I was prepared to be the person at book discussion that didn’t like it and then, surprise, the audio was very good.


  7. therelentlessreader / Jan 18 2013 7:08 pm

    I really, REALLY liked this book. I’m glad you did too! I wouldn’t mind listening to it at some point, I think it would be neat to hear it told in a child’s voice. I just finished the newest Emma Donoghue, another good one 🙂


  8. Suko / Jan 18 2013 8:19 pm

    I really want to read or listen to this book! Excellent review, Leslie! I have the same reservations you mention here, but I am pretty sure that I would “overcome” them as well.


  9. Leeswammes / Jan 19 2013 5:28 am

    I was like you, not at all sure I could stomach a story like that. But yes, it was really good. Glad you enjoyed it.


  10. Carol / Jan 23 2013 1:09 pm

    I read this one in print and was under-whelmed, probably because it had been so built up before I got around to reading it. Glad you thought it was worthwhile, though.


  11. stacybuckeye / Jan 26 2013 2:34 pm

    Still have the print version on my shelves and no interest to read it just yet.


    • Leslie / Jan 26 2013 3:01 pm

      If my book club hadn’t chosen it I would never have listened to it. It was much better than I was expecting.



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