Room Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Room

Five-year-old Jack has been born and raised in a small room with his mother, where ‘Old Nick' holds them captive. Jack and his Ma live in Room, with just a small kitchen, bathtub, wardrobe, bed and television. Jack believes that life on TV is make belief, and that life in Room is the only real world.
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Old Nick comes into Room through an electric locked door, to bring food and to spend the night with Ma. Whenever Old Nick comes, Jack hides inside the wardrobe. One night, he comes out and startles Old Nick, who punishes Ma and turns off the power in Room.

Ma decides that they must try to escape Room, explaining that Old Nick abducted her as a teenager. She tells Jack of the big wide world outside Room, and that all the things on TV are real.

They fake that Jack is severely sick, and Ma demands that Old Nick must take him to the hospital. When he refuses, Ma devises a plan to pretend that Jack has died. They rehearse the plan, which is for Jack to be wrapped inside the rug, wait for Old Nick to load him onto the truck, and when the truck stops to unroll from the rug and escape, telling the nearest person about Room.

The escape is successful, and Jack is rescued by a man called Ajeet, who is walking his dog nearby. Ajeet calls the police and gives them part of the license plate which he remembers from Old Nick's truck. With help from Jack, they rescue Ma from Room and arrest Old Nick.

Jack and Ma are taken to a mental hospital, where they are cared for and prepared for rehabilitation into the real world. Jack finds it difficult to cope, and misses the only life he knew existed - Room. They are reunited with Ma's family, but the media attention and difficulties leading a normal life lead Ma to attempt suicide.

Jack goes to live with his grandmother, and struggles with the separation from his mother. As the confusion wears off, and he learns more about the real world, he slowly begins to adapt.

After Ma is released, Jack asks to go back to Room. With his new perspective of the world, he sees the restrictive space which held him captive, and can finally say goodbye. They are able to live in their own home, free from Old Nick, and begin a new life together.
Best part of story, including ending: Remarkable and unique story, absorbing and impossible to put down.

Best scene in story: When Jack escapes and begins to find out about the real world, you are caught up in trying to imagine his life and how different ordinary things must seem.

Opinion about the main character: Five-year-old Jack was an interesting narrator, with the true voice of an innocent child.

The review of this Book prepared by Kealie Mardell a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Five-year-old Jack was born in a room where his mother's kidnapper keeps them and eventually discovers there is a real world beyond those four walls. This novel is told from the perspective of a five-year old and “Room” refers to the only world in which he is familiar. His mother had been kidnapped and placed in a secure “box” where no one can hear her screams. Her kidnapper rapes her whenever he wishes and she eventually gets pregnant and gives birth to Jack. Jack has no idea that the world he sees on their television actually exists. His mother does everything she can to entertain him, but as he gets older, it is apparent that she is desperate to get their freedom, especially when he gets ill and she has no means of getting him medical care.

Over time, Jack's mother plans their escape and practices it repeatedly with Jack. They know that every week “Old Nick,” which is how the kidnapper is referred to, will be making a delivery of items they need for survival. In addition, Jack has to hide every night in the closet, as his mother instructs him, when Old Nick has his way with Jack's mother. Jack's mother also gave birth to a girl, but she did not survive.

Finally, after much preparation, Jack is able to hide in a rolled up rug that Old Nick puts in the back of his truck to throw out. It is the first time Jack discovers the outside world, but fortunately, before the kidnapper can catch him, Jack is saved and manages to get help to his mother.

The remainder of the story shows the damage done to this family by their ordeal. Their captor is imprisoned while their discovery and details of their story causes media frenzy. Jack's mother's family is unsure just how to respond, as if they'd already accepted the mother's death and now had to switch mental gears. The book ends with Jack and his mother in their own home that has more than just one room, but the reader is left wondering just how much mental damage occurred to both mother and son and how it will show itself in the years to follow.
Best part of story, including ending: I didn't care for the way the author had the boy talk. He didn't sound like a normal five year old; but then again, he wasn't raised as a normal five year old.

Best scene in story: Practicing their escape with the rolled up rug.

Opinion about the main character: Jack was somewhat annoying in how he expressed himself. I wanted to see more emotion, but it wasn't there. (I apparently in the minority with my thinking, since this book went on to be NY Times Best Book of the Year. Go figure.

The review of this Book prepared by Carol Hoenig a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Room

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   kidnapping Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   7 () United States    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   rape/molest Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Emma Donoghue Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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