9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 10¾ hrs. Hachette Audio from AudioGO. 2011. ISBN 9781609419400. $74.99; 9 CDs. retail ed. Hachette Audio; Playaway digital; digital download. F
Five-year-old Jack lives with his mother ("Ma") in a small room ("Room"), where they've been imprisoned since her abduction by a stranger ("Old Nick") seven years earlier. Within Room, Ma creates for Jack a loving universe to help him thrive and shield him from the reality of their situation. As Jack describes the rhythm of his and Ma's days, the listener is drawn with terrible dread into that tiny space—e.g., Wardrobe, where Jack sleeps, and Skylight, their only source of natural light. Michael Friedman, voicing Jack, perfectly renders a five-year-old in expression and pace, and Ellen Archer's portrayal of Ma, too, adds depth and immediacy. Robert Petkoff sinisterly renders Old Nick, while Suzanne Toren chimes in to narrate the other characters the pair encounter along their way to a different life. Rife fodder for writing classes and book clubs, Donoghue's ( disturbing but powerful tale is especially compelling in its depiction of the extraordinary courage and love of its two central characters. Highly recommended. [A 2011 Audie Award nominee; the Alex Award-winning Little, Brown hc was a 2010 LJ Best Book and also received a starred review, LJ 8/10.—Ed.]—Barbara Valle, El Paso P.L., TX
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