When I first read the premise of Room (narrated by a little boy who has only ever lived in a single room) it immediately sounded like one of those dull, clever books that more charitable people might label “high wire acts.”
But, Aimee Bender’s review in the New York Times actually makes it sound quite worthwhile:
Although I hate to reveal plot points, some are necessary to discuss the book, and early on, the story reveals that Room is actually a prison, with a villain holding the key, and that Ma (as Jack calls his mother) is being kept against her will. Fierce claustrophobia sets in — what had seemed an odd mother-child monastery is now Rapunzel’s tower or Anne Frank’s annex or a story from the news about a stolen child living in a hidden compound. Jack, interestingly, does not feel trapped; that the two live in Room against his mother’s will is not something the son knows right away, and this contrast creates the major fissures and complexities in the book: Room is both a jail and a haven.