Warning: You will not be able to focus on anything else while you’re reading this book.

Room by Emma Donoghue completely blew me away. I’m, like, three states over I’m so blown away. I’m taking the train back home tomorrow.

This book will transport you to a whole other dimension of existence. You will view the world with new appreciation. You will interact with objects differently for a few days, including your toothbrush. You will be challenged to rip your eyeballs away from this book long enough to do things like work and take a shower. And trust me, you will majorly appreciate that shower.

I can’t tell you what this book is about. My friend Sharyn told me what it was about, and while that made me dart right into Three Lives & Company and buy the book while she was still talking, it’s an even better reading experience if you don’t know in advance.

After you realize what’s happening, this map will help you. I wasn’t picturing Wardrobe right next to Bed. I thought he was on Dresser Wall.

The day I bought Room was one of those sweltering days during the hottest heat wave. I believe it was 103 degrees when Sharyn and I left the bookstore. We walked slowly and stopped at the corner to talk. We put our bags down on the sidewalk. Mine was a canvas bag that says Let the Sun Shine. Room was in my bag – I avoid taking extra plastic bags. Someone who worked at the restaurant we were standing in front of came out to water the plants that were sitting against the wall. Sharyn and I kept talking. She’s so interesting to talk to that I didn’t notice the water that was running out of the plant pots and flooding the sidewalk.

And soaking my bag.

Room was a soggy mess. Naturally, I was devastated. I already knew I’d fall in love with this book and now it was ruined. But here’s the thing. My bag got soaked for a reason.  I mean, hello, we just happened to be standing on the sidewalk talking without walking (I’m all about the walk and talk) and someone happened to come out to water the plants right then and I just happened to put my bag down on the sidewalk, which I never do?

I don’t think so.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that this is a classic non-coincidence. I developed the concept of non-coincidences from a quote I used in Something Like Fate by David Life: “If you believe in coincidence, then you aren’t paying attention.” Given what Room is about, a destroyed book and whatever other stuff got wet was just not a big deal. Sometimes I take a little annoyance and blow it up to epic proportions. Not cool. Room is a reality check. It puts things in perspective. After reading it, I was even thankful for the line at the post office because it meant I had the freedom to actually go to the post office.

Of course I went back to the bookstore to buy another copy of Room. The first one never dried out. And P.S.? The only copy they had left was the one I avoided getting the first time because there was a little ink smudge on the back.

Now that ink smudge makes me smile.


13 thoughts on “room

  1. wow this makes me want to run to Borders (my second home and stress reliever) to bad they went out of business…i love books and I will miss Borders greatly there is a barns and noble semi close to me but i haven’t been there in years because for whatever reason i didn’t get a good vibe from the place…I don’t know where i’m going to buy my books from anymore but i really want to read this book because i haven’t read a book that blows my mind in a really long time…Sorry about my rant but Borders being gone really makes me sad and i know you would understand this delma because you are a fellow book lover…

      • Yeah i do…i go there to study because i go to a community college…they know me by name because i give the teen librarian suggestions for the latest books that they don’t have yet lol…most of the time i end up buying books myself because they take forever to get them…

  2. Wow…I’m glad I favorited your tweet about this post. I also pictured Wardrobe on the same wall as Dresser…I had no idea there was a website for the book, as I hadn’t looked. Reading it made it difficult to do anything else until I was completely finished with it.

    mel 🙂

  3. You are the third cool author (Judy Blume and Sarah Dessen being the other two) who’s raved about Room. I admit that I’m kind of scared to read it. I usually read books that make me feel happy. It’s just my personal reading preference. As a person who enjoys spoilers, of course I already know what Room is about. Don’t judge, but I’d already skimmed the summary on Wikipedia not too long ago. I’ll most likely give this book a try even though it’s not the usual happy stuff that I like to read. It’s probably one of those books that after reading it, I’ll be glad that I did.

    • Too funny – it’s because of Judy and Sarah that I first wanted to read Room!

      You can try my method: Read a happy book first, then Room, then another happy book. The sandwich effect works pretty well. And you already know what’s it’s about (like most people, I’m sure), so you’re not walking into a total minefield. Highly recommended!

  4. I always take your book recommendations (just finished Summer and the City and have Divergent on my desk as of this afternoon), and this was a particularly well-written review… it really got you excited to go out and get it. I’ve seen it come through the library in several forms already, so I do know what it’s about. The way you describe how it makes you feel about your own life reminds me of when I was reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. All of a sudden, you’re grateful, even ecstatic to have what you already have. And it’s not cliche or trite. You actually *feel* it, actively. Is Room depressing all the way through or are there moments that it’s a pageturner/dark humor/something else? I think seeing the world through those eyes would be really interesting. I also love how you related your own experience buying it to the book itself.

    Finally made it over here. Heh. I was at my local library today (not the one I work at) and saw all your books on the shelves in the teen area. Always makes me smile. 🙂

    • Interesting thing about Room – even though it’s super depressing, it was an absolute page-turner for me. Things do improve for Ma and Jack. By the end, I felt a surge of hope. It’s a ride you will never forget!


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