Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:
Book: Room by Emma Donoghue (2010) | Movie: Room (2015)
Which did I read/see first? the BOOK
Book Cover | Movie Poster
Author: Emma Donoghue
Genre: Adult, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Crime, Contemporary
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: Borrowed–Paperback
Room was everywhere when it first came out. I saw it every time I passed a book store or browsed online. At the time, I didn’t understand the premise. I honestly thought it was some abstract book about a boy and his mom who live within a single room. I blame the simple back-cover description for giving me that impression because when I read the synopsis now, it makes a LOT more sense.
I’m a huge Criminal Minds fan so I was intrigued by this premise when a friend mentioned this book to me again around the time its movie was premiering at TIFF.
This book took me a long time to read. Mostly because I’m a busy student and had lots of library books I had to read and return; but also because it is a very tough book to get through.
Jack, the 5 year old boy, is your primary narrator and it’s hard to get used to his narration style. He is the very definition of an unreliable narrator but I don’t know how else you would tell this story. It offers a unique view of the situation Ma and Jack find themselves in. I think most people would assume that it would be Ma who tells the story but I liked the fresh perspective Jack offers instead. His curious innocence gives this story a more positive vibe than if we were stuck in the darker, fully aware place of Ma’s mind. Still, it doesn’t make it any easier to understand what is happening at times.
The other reason this book is hard to get through is the subject matter. Though Jack isn’t aware of the situation, you as the reader totally are and that makes it hard to read. This book tugs on your heartstrings in every way possible. It will also make you frustrated and cause you to cringe. But just a few pages later, you will get a big grin on your face because it is so hard not to like Jack and his attitude towards life.
When a book evokes every emotion in you, it’s hard not to give it 5 stars. This book is simply well done. Jack’s narration is brilliant and I think the book is super realistic, even if the topic is one we don’t want to think about often.
- Stolen by Lucy Christopher
- Still Alice by Alice Genova
Were My Expectations Met?
Yes and they were even surpassed if I am going to be honest. My friend who saw the premiere at TIFF (where it won the People’s Choice Award) said everyone was in tears at the end. And while I didn’t come close to crying in the the book, the movie definitely evoked some high emotions in me and I will admit that I nearly cried.
How Close is it to the Book?
It’s pretty close actually and the main things from the book are present in the movie. I was also really worried from the trailers that they would cast Ma in a more “self-sacrificing” light than the slightly “selfish” tone she gives in the book. But I feel like the movie captured her character perfectly. You were still sympathetic to her situation and her, but it kept the very realistic tone of a bratty 5-year old Jack and an isolated mom who has her patience tested that is present throughout the book.
Did I Like the Cast?
Brie Larson was fantastic in the movie and definitely deserves all the award nominations and praise she has been getting for this role. She was flawless and made even more so by her young co-star.
Jacob Tremblay (Jack) really stole the show for me. It still feels very much like Jack’s story despite the fact that you aren’t seeing into his mind specifically like you are in the book because Jacob is so real and a natural actor. He really makes you feel everything and it was a joy to watch him in this role. I really think he has a great career ahead of him–even though he was totally snubbed of a Oscar nomination in my humble opinion!
Congrats TEAM ROOM!!! We did it!!! @brielarson @lennyabrahamson @EdGuiney @EDonoghueWriter @A24 @RoomTheMovie pic.twitter.com/feQTmqsXsi
— Jacob Tremblay (@JacobTremblay) January 14, 2016
I feel like both compliment each other so well. Bringing a book like Room to life takes a lot of skill and class and this movie has it in buckets. I think the book provides readers with a unique experience but the movie just wraps everything up together in a way that is so approachable and real.
Do you agree? Leave a comment below!
Synopsis for Room (from Goodreads):
To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.
Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.
I didn’t know about this book or the movie until I went to watch The 5th Wave where I saw the trailer. I really didn’t know what to feel about it but now that I read your review I’m definitely going to read the book and the watch the movie as well. Great review! 🙂
Thanks! I honestly had no idea what it was about either when I first saw the book. It wasn’t until my friend explained it that I considered reading it. It’s a tough book to read but definitely worth it in the end! I hope you get a chance to read and watch it soon!
I wanted to see this movie so bad! I guess I’ll have to rent it when it comes out.
I should read the book. I hardly ever read the adult books that everybody goes on about. I didn’t realise that Jack was the narrator. That sounds like a really interesting approach. I love unreliable narrator stories too.
Also – omg, my friends and I were OBSESSED with Stolen when we were in school. We were basically the Lucy Christopher fan club. It’s such an emotionally exhausting book though.
Definitely worth a watch!
I also didn’t know that Jack was the narrator when I first saw it. It’s a very cool approach though it definitely takes some getting use to! It’s been along time since I had to think like a five year old!
Stolen is one of my all time favourite books! Yes, very exhausting but I loved every minute of it! Such a unique book!
It is so unique! I’ve never read any of Lucy Christopher’s other work though. You have inspired me to search her on Goodreads and see what she’s been up to.
You know, neither have I! I’ve always kept an eye out but never did any serious searching…
I was really impressed by the book — I had kids and I thought she nailed a five year old voice so well and told a tough story with a lot of skill and heart. But I also felt that after that main event about half-way through the book, the plot sort of lost steam… I saw the same critique in reviews for the movie (which I haven’t seen yet) so I was wondering if I should see it, but I think that I will!
I know what you mean about the last half or so of the book. Once the main event passed, I found it hard to read for lots of reasons but one was the slowing down of the plot. That’s why I liked the movie, because it captured that last half very well and I found it to be more engaging for me personally. There is something about seeing those scenes acted in front of you vs simply reading them–I definitely was more emotional watching it all than I was reading it.
I hope you get a chance to watch the movie!