What if you only knew the outside world through a skylight? If you could ask for one “treat” every Sunday from your captor, what would it be? What if you only thought other people existed in television?
Jack is a five-year-old who has celebrated every birthday in Room, including his actual birth. His mother was kidnapped by a man known as Old Nick, who has since held Jack’s mother, and now Jack, captive. Jack, nor his mother, is allowed to leave Room, so it is up to Jack’s mother to keep him entertained. They run “track,” which consists of running around the bed, watch only an hour or two of television each day, read picture books regularly, and create activities with their imaginations and limited material scraps. Most days Jack and his mother are upbeat, but some days his mother is in Jack’s words “gone” and he must take care of his meals and play quietly. Jack’s mother was forced into Room as an innocent, young woman, but has to come to terms with her new world of motherhood, but also rape.
The book is told from Jack’s perspective. All he has ever known is his life in Room, so one may think that Jack would get antsy or stir crazy, but really, he enjoys the routine and comfort of the small space he and his mother inhabit. The story takes a turn when Jack’s mother begins to crack under the pressure of the small space. Jack is almost confused as to why one would want to leave Room, but his mother is persistent about an escape, remembering the pre-Room times when she was growing up.
Room is a story of persistence and perseverance told through the eyes of a child. The story gives the reader a new appreciation for what one has and to seek out the beauty in simple things, such as Bed and Wardrobe and Rug. What may be a simple object to one person, could be almost a friend to another.