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Room by Emma Donoghue


Room book cover Room  by Emma Donoghue
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world.  It’s where he was born and where he and his Ma eat and play and learn. At night, Ma puts him safely to sleep in the wardrobe, in case Old Nick comes.  Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it’s the prison where Old Nick has kept her for seven years, since she was nineteen. Through ingenuity and determination, Ma has created a life for herself and her son, but she knows it’s not enough for either of them.  Jack’s curiosity is building alongside Ma’s desperation — and Room can’t contain either of them for much longer…Told entirely in the inventive, often funny voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of the resilient bond between parent and child, and a brilliantly executed novel about a journey from one world to another. Adapted from

Book Club Ideas

How impressed would your book club guests be if you opened the door with Room on your shoulders, like in this photo by Karin at Reading-Reviewing?   So creative!  Thanks Karin for letting me share this photo with our readers.

Room Emma Donoghue self portrait

Jack was disappointed that he didn’t get to have candles on his birthday cake when he turned 5, only 5 colored chocolates (pink, blue, green and 2 reds) that his mom saved from the few things her captor would bring her for Sunday treat. Jack deserves to have a blow out party for his 6th birthday, including a cake with candles and decorations with one of his favorite cartoon characters, Dora.  Instead of pants, he wanted a beach ball for his 5th birthday and for his sixth birthday, he wants a dog.

Cake, dora plates, presents

Book Club Menu

When the story opens, Jack is excited about his 5th birthday and chooses spaghetti for his birthday meal.  The reason he likes spaghetti best is “the song of the meatball”.   To make this dish healthier, I made Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs.   Serve it with a side salad and bread.

Spaghetti, marinara, meatballs, bread, salad, Italian food

Ma’s favorite cake is banana chocolate. I made this Bananas Foster Chocolate Cake, similar to Ma’s favorite cake, but with a unique spin that Jack could call his own.

Banana Chocolate Cake, icing

Book Club Resources


  1. Do you think Emma Donoghue did a convincing job of portraying a 5 year old’s speech and actions?  Did you find any of the prose unbelievable?
  2. Jack is able to repeat long complex sentences  in a game they call Parrot and is able to read The Shack at age 5, showing he has flourished academically in Room.  In what other ways did he thrive in Room?  What was the negative impact on him?
  3. Did having Jack while in captivity make it more difficult for Ma or did it make it easier for her to cope?
  4. Can you understand Jack’s attachment to Room? The doctor states that it will be a mercy if Jack forgets his experience in Room. Do you think his experience there was a bad one?  Do you think Ma and Jack should cherish all the time they had together while in Room or is it best forgotten?
  5. If in a similar situation as Ma, would you have been able to give Jack up, giving him a chance to have a normal life outside of Room?
  6. When Ma tells Jack to be careful with her earphones, Jack says “I didn’t know it was hers-not-mine.  In Room everything was ours.”  How difficult do you think it will be to find separation between him and Ma?
  7. Was Jack’s perception of the outside world accurate?  Jack notices that out in the world persons are nearly always stressed and have no time.  Did Jack’s view of the world for the first time cause you to reevaluate how you live your own life?
  8. Do you think the book would have had as much of an impact if it were told from Ma’s or a 3rd person’s perspective?  Do you think it would have been better told from the perspective of multiple characters?
  9. If you were only able to have a new item once a week, what would you ask for?
  10. What did you find most disturbing about the novel?  Most inspiring?

The Author

Room author Emma Donoghue

Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin, Ireland, in October 1969, the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue (the literary critic, Henry James Professor at New York University).  She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one eye-opening year in New York at the age of ten.  In 1990, she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin.  She moved to England, and in 1997 received a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of Cambridge. From the age of 23, she has earned her living as a writer, and has been lucky enough to never have an ‘honest job’ since she was sacked after a month as a chambermaid. After years of commuting between England, Ireland, and Canada, in 1998 she settled in London, Ontario, where she lives with Chris Roulston, their son Finn (8) and daughter Una (4).  Adapted from

Room, an international bestseller, was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prize, and won the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Prize (Canada & Carribbean Region), the Canadian Booksellers’ Association Libris Awards (Fiction Book and Author of the Year), the Forest of Reading Evergreen Award and the W.H. Smith Paperback of the Year Award.


Do you have any other ideas or recipes for a book club party for Room?  We would love to have you share them with us! You can leave a comment below and upload pictures as well.

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Feel free to add your ideas, comments or book review below.

  1. This looks very interesting! Would love to read it! ( I follow you on FB)

    Comment by Heather Bridenstine

  2. Woohoo…the first entry on our first giveaway. Exciting!

    Comment by Lisa

  3. I’ve only heard great things about this book; would love to read and review!

    Comment by Christina

  4. Pick me! This sounds like such a good book.

    Comment by RobinA2

  5. OH MY GOSH!! Where was this suggestion when my book club did Room? *lol* I love the room in a box “hat”!! such a great idea 🙂

    Comment by Jac @ For Love and Books

  6. I was fortunate enough to have been lent the book by a friend, so I have read Room..and I would love to have my own copy of such a lovely book!

    While I thought it was very creative (the idea of the world being a room to Jack), I felt his language a bit frustrating as it was obviously “dumbed-down” a few notches making the reading process a bit frustrating, especially when vomit became described as chunks of food…

    Comment by Lilian

  7. Oh my goodness, my friend RAVED about this book to me and I haven’t had the opportunity to read it. Quite honestly, the subject matter is SO intriguing that it scares me! I’m almost afraid to read the book because the very idea that something like this has happened before in our world makes me want to break out into hives!

    Comment by CourtneyP

  8. Love the synopsis…to think that there may be women and children in the same situation in real life! I would love to read this book…..great giveaway

    Comment by Pearl Philip

  9. I’m too late? 🙁

    Comment by techeditor

  10. I’m not too late. Thanks for being in the Central time zone. 🙂

    Comment by techeditor

  11. According to #9 is the winner. Congratulations techeditor!

    Comment by Lisa

  12. Just to let you know, Lisa, I wrote a short review of this book after I read it and posted the review to various Web sites such as and In my review, I also said that I won it at Thanks!

    Comment by techeditor

  13. Thanks techeditor!

    Comment by Lisa

  14. Here is my review.

    The first half of ROOM by Emma Donoghue is both maddening and irritating.

    The story begins with a mother and her son imprisoned in the backyard shed of a madman. The child is 5 years old and has never known anything outside that one small room. That, for me, was maddening and difficult to read.

    Irritating, though, is the constant baby talk. Constant because the story is narrated by the 5-year-old.Everything the boy says in the first half of the book made me sad as well as irritated. But in the second half of the book, I often enjoyed his view because it’s laugh-out-loud funny.

    Although I appreciated the child’s perspective, again, the constant baby talk irritated me. The book loses points for that reason.

    Comment by techeditor