Wonderland Book Club Message Board › "Room" Discussion Questions for Tomorrow's Book Club

"Room" Discussion Questions for Tomorrow's Book Club

Alice Osborn, W.
Group Organizer
Raleigh, NC
Hi Everyone,

Hope to see you at tomorrow's discussion of Room by Emma Donoghue. The discussion questions are below (Spoiler Alert: Don't read the questions until after you've read the book, or you'll ruin the suspense!)

Wonderland Book Club, Co-sponsored by the NC Writers Network
Location: Center for Excellence, 3803-B Computer Dr. Suite 106, Raleigh, NC
Friday, Nov 16     Time:  10:00 – noon
Register Here: http://meetup.com/wonderlandbookclub­

Join us this month for a provocative discussion of Emma Donoghue’s Room.  It is a tale told in the first person voice of a 5-year-old that is at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating—a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.


Room Discussion Questions

1. The narrator of Room is a 5-year-old American who has spent his life imprisoned with his mother in a 121-foot square garden shed. How credible were Jack’s voice and perspective on life? Where did you find Jack’s voice most and least convincing?

2. Jack refers to a woman a “she person” and, in the same paragraph, seems to understand and know how to spell the words “impregnable” and “catatonic.” [Page 165] Did you find this credible? If so, why? If not, what you made keep reading Room, regardless?

3. How would you describe Ma? We see her only through the eyes of Jack and the people he observes interacting with her. This approach limits what the novel can tell us about an important character. Was Donoghue able to overcome any restrictions on point-of-view to portray Ma as well-developed character? Why or why not?

4. Why do you think Old Nick remains a shadowy figure, one we know little about?

5. Ma is still breastfeeding Jack when he is 5 years old. What purpose does this serve in the story?

6. Room has an unusual structure for a novel about captivity: Jack and Ma escape almost exactly halfway through it. [Page 154 of a 321-page book]. Captives or hostages typically win their freedom closer to the end to keep the suspense high. Why did Donoghue have Ma and Jack escape sooner? How well did she maintain suspense afterward?

7. Donoghue says that Room is partly a satire “of modern mores and media.” What people or groups does she tweak? How well does the satire fit into a story rooted in Ma’s tragic abduction?

8. Do you share Donoghue’s view of Room as the story of a “battle between Mary and the Devil for young Jesus”? Why do you think the Christian motifs in the novel don’t bother some readers who aren’t religious?

9. Given all that Jack has endured and how sunny he remains, you could argue that the theme of Room is the therapeutic cliché, “Kids are resilient.” But the novel also develops other ideas. What do you think is the theme or message of the book?

10. Have you read other books with child narrators? How does Room compare to them?
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