A small room, with a single skylight and a television set. That makes up the world for Jack, along with his beloved Ma. His perception of the world is from what he sees on TV. In fact he does not even know that there is a larger world outside.
That is the life Jack has known all his young life, and has been the world for his Ma for the last seven years, since the terrible day Old Nick nabbed her when she was on her way to the college library. The entire story though, is told from the point of view of the five-year old child. The television offers him a view to the world, but to him, it is not real, it is like each channel offers a view into a different planet.
Ma and Jack are visited each night by Old Nick. For the duration of the visit, Jack shuts himself up in the wardrobe. Ma has to willingly put up with these nightly visits to ensure the continued supply of food and other needs for herself and for her son.
Ma keeps Jack’s body and mind healthy through physical workouts, telling him stories, teaching him a little about the outside world. Their daily routine consists of exercising by running around the little room and futile screaming sessions at night through the skylight for help that never arrives.
Ma realizes one day that Old Nick has lost his job. Fearing what he might do next, she decides it is time that she made an attempt at escaping her prison with Jack. She forms a plan which relies heavily on the young boy’s courage and wit.
But, if they escape, can Jack make the adjustment to the real world? The room has been his home, his safe haven, his world up to then. But Ma does not have time to worry about all that she knows she has to take him away from Old Nick soon.
Room, published in 2010, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.