Room

room

Bibliographic Information 

Audiobook $15.39
Paperback $7.19, $10.17
Hardback $18.41
Kindle $7.99
Associated ISBNs 9780316098335
9781554688326
9780316268356
9780316391344
9781443449618
9781443449625
9780316098328 — Paperback
9780316223232 — Paperback
9780316120579 — Paperback
9780330519014
9781448759729 — Glued Binding
9780316174626
9782253167303 — Paperback
9780330519922
9780606265058 — Glued Binding

9781554688319

Rating (VOYA)

5Q, 4P

This is an extremely well written book.

Because of the movie, and the buzz around it, popularity for this book may be on the rebound.

Readers Annotation

Jack has only known Room.

Summary

Jack is turning five. He lives with his mother in Room. Room has no windows, just a skylight. Room’s door only opens when the code is put in. Jack loves Room.

Jack loves Room. Jack and Mom have a routine for every day. Every night “Old Nick” comes and Jack hides in the closet and counts the squeeks.

One day Mom decides that they need to leave after Jack asks about Outside and doesn’t understand. They come up with a plan. Jack will pretend to be sick and “Old Nick” will take him to the hospital. This plan fails, so plan B is to pretend that Jack died. Mom rolls Jack up in a rug and tells him exactly what to do. “Old Nick” takes Jack and puts him in the back of his truck. Jack worms out of the rug and jumps from the truck at a stop. “Old Nick” sees him and chases him. Jack runs to a man with a dog and a baby, who eventually calls the cops.

Mom is rescued and they go to the police station.

After the police, they are transfered to a mental health institution. Jack wonders when they can go back to Room. There’s too much space in Outside.

Jack meets his grandmother, step-pa, and his uncle. When Jack goes out with his uncle he steals a book, but doesn’t understand what he’s done. When he comes back Mom isn’t breathing. He goes to stay with his grandmother and step-pa while she recovers.

When Mom is finally better, they move into a assisted living aparment.

In the end they revisit Room and Jack realizes how small his world was.

Evaluation

This was a hard book to listen to. Its not a happy book in the least and it was disturbing at times. It was so good, but I don’t want to say I enjoyed it (though I guess I did, its hard to say you enjoyed something twisted). It really provoked some dark and sad emotions in me. Its a dark subject matter, but telling it from the child’s perspective helped soften the blow a little bit. It would have been more disturbing from the mother’s perspective. Jack just doesn’t understand what he’s missing and his mother is struggling so hard just to live. It was a really real portrait.

The characters were very real. You could feel the frustration of Jack, and his mother, and later his extended family. They were all trying so hard to make it all work. The best character was the Step-pa, because he was the only one who seemed to understand what Jack was going through in the Outside.

I think people who like Literary fiction would like this one. Its dark and twisted and shows a side of life that people wouldn’t think about. Literary seems to be all about think pieces and dark subject matter after all.

Genre

Literary fiction, Psychological suspense

Readalikes

His Illegal Self by Peter Carey

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Significance

The significance is that the story is told from the POV of a child born into captivity, having known nothing else. Its a unique perspective, especially since he struggles with the views of people who knew/know the Outside.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

Discuss which treatment of Jack was better: Ma, Grandma or Step-pa.

How realistic do you think the story was?

What would you have done in Ma’s situation?

Author’s website

Emma Donoghue

Awards

ALA Notable Books – Fiction: 2011

Alex Award: 2011

CBA Libris Awards (Canadian Booksellers Association): Fiction Book of the Year

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize: Best Book: Regional Award: Caribbean & Canada

Forest of Reading Awards: Evergreen Award

Goodreads Choice Awards: 2010

Indies’ Choice Book Awards: Adult Fiction

Kentucky Bluegrass Award: Grades 9-12

Library Journal Top Ten

New York Times Notable Books – Fiction and Poetry: 2010

Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

Reviews

Kirkus

PW

Why I Chose It

This one had a lot of buzz because the movie came out last year. I had tried Emma Donoghue before and hadn’t gotten into it, but this one was supposed to be really good. I picked it because everyone was talking about it.

Other Information

Devil in Silver

Bibliographic Information 

Paperback: $9.87, 432 pages, Spiegel & Grau (2013)

Hardcover: $9, 432 pages, Spiegel & Grau (2012)

Kindle: $11.99, 434 pages, Spiegel & Grau (2012)

Audiobook: $29.99, Dreamscape Media (2012)

  • ISBN-10: 1400069866
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400069866
  • ISBN-10: 0812982258
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812982251
  • ISBN-10: 1611208564
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611208566

Rating (VOYA)

4Q, 4P

Readers Annotation

Pepper has been confined in a mental institution and must now fight the devil.

Summary

Pepper has been dragged to a mental institution after assaulting three police officers. They lock him up for a 72 hour watch. He gets questioned by a disinterested panel of doctors and nurses and then shuffled off to a room. He meets Dory, a patient who was the first person on the ward, in the hallway and she explains the situation in the ward. She tells Pepper what each hallway is, and where not to go.

In the morning Pepper is required to take meds which dull his senses. Pepper keeps questioning staff about why he is there and keeps trying to figure out a way out. One night he sees the Devil drop from the ceiling and it assaults him. He sees a chance when Loochie (a teenage inmate) is escorting her family out of the mental ward. Pepper makes a break for it when the door opens, knocking over Loochie’s family (and a nurse), but he does not escape because Loochie tackles him.

Pepper spends a few days doped up in his room and when he finally comes to he discovers that he has “admitted” himself to the ward. Pepper joins the “book club” and teams up with Dory, Loochie and Coffee (his roommate). He learns about the Devil and the group decide to read “Jaws.” The group tries to decide on a plan to take out the Devil and stop taking their meds, but each member of the crew has their own ideas. Dory wants to talk to the Devil, Coffee wants to call the president about the situation in the institution, Pepper wants to escape and Loochie wants to kill the Devil. The group stashes the night nurses in a room. Coffee makes his call and gets upset that it doesn’t work, Dory and Pepper are fighting and Loochie lets out the Devil. The Devil attacks Loochie, Pepper attacks the Devil and Dory yells at all of them. Coffee goes to stab the Devil and Dory attacks him just as the SWAT team breaks into the institution. They shoot Coffee (a lot).

After a long period of restraints and over medication, Pepper finally regains his faculties. He decides to keep his head down in an effort to get out. He avoids Loochie and Dory and starts hanging out with the night crew. There he falls for Sue (Xiu).

One night Loochie and Dory get in a fight which allows Sue to sneak into Pepper’s room. After, they see the Devil try to take the man across the hall and stop it.

Sue is taken the next day to start the deportation process.

Dory approaches Pepper the morning Sue is taken and gives him a note saying she was wrong and that he should help the Devil. When she goes out for the smoke break she climbs the fence and steps off, killing herself.

While the police are cleaning up Dory, the inmates are taken out of the hospital to a pizza place. Loochie and Pepper reconnect, and Pepper tells her to remember the path from the bus stop to the mental institution, implying they would escape.

The inmates plan an escape through the hidden doors in every room, and one night they do. As they proceed to follow the map that Dory had drawn, they turn on one another when confronted with what to do with the devil. One of the inmates swallows the key to the Devil’s room. Loochie and Pepper sneak off. Pepper helps Loochie escape and then goes back to the group. Some of the group had killed the inmate who swallowed the key as the others watched in horror. They opened the Devil’s room and he came for them. Several inmates get hurt and some die and Pepper realizes the Devil is just a man and protects him.

In the aftermath, the Devil goes to the hospital, and Pepper starts to greet new residents just like Dory did.

Evaluation

I liked this book. It kept me guessing. At one point in time I was sure that the Devil was going to be just in the minds of the inmates. It also made me appalled about mental hospitals.

This book was well written and plotted. While the narrative could be deceptive and the reader couldn’t really guess where it was going, it had a clear path and didn’t deviate.

The characters were mostly three dimensional. They were three dimensional if they needed to be. Characters that were part of Pepper’s story were fleshed out, but others like Scotch Tape were not as three dimensional because they didn’t need to be. We knew what Pepper was going through (and were horrified by it), we  eventually understood Dory and felt for poor Sue. The setting was truly horrifying and was a terrible character in itself. The action was thrilling and terrifying.

I found myself on the edge of my seat the whole ride. I found myself gasping several times and shed a tear for Sue and Pepper at the end. It wasn’t an emotional ride the whole way, but there were times when I really felt the story.

I think this is a great book for its audience (Adult horror readers). It has some really great psychological horror that digs deep in your psyche. It has a compelling monster and horrendous setting and enough action to keep the reader going.

I might replace this one with Shutter Island. They both have a psychological horror, but of different types.

Genre

Horror, Psychological Suspence

Readalikes

End of Watch by Stephen King

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

The Dark Room by Minette Walters

Significance

A one of a kind premise that seems supernatural that turns out not to be. A unique look at the patients of a mental institution whose horrors are not only monsters, but the system itself.

Book Discussion Questions and Ideas

What do you think it meant that the patients saw the Devil as a Devil but the staff did not?

What would you have done in Josephine’s situation after the first revolt?

Do you think that the support for the mentally ill is satisfactory today?

Discuss experiences with people with mental disabilities.

Author’s website

Victor LaValle

Awards

New York Times Notable Book (2012), Top 10 Book of 2012

Reviews

Kirkus

Amazon

Publishers Weekly

Why I Chose It

Book Talk book, but also what an intriguing idea! The summary really drew me in and I wanted to know if it was a literal or figurative devil.

Other Information