Courtesy of Smash Attack ReadsSmashtastic Entertainment Quickie: This is a book that will stick with you. It's compelling and haunting, and leaves you with many questions and opinions.Interest in the book:The title grabbed me, and then the synopsis really grabbed me. I was unsure of where the book would take Ma and Jack, but I knew it was going to be a difficult journey.First Impressions: I started this book in audio while packing up my condo. The voice artist who plays Jack was ridiculously annoying in only a way a 5-year-old voice can annoy you. So in essence, brilliant job, but it took some time to get used to. Honestly, I loved Jack-speak. It did not take me long at all to acclimate to his language, and personally, I found it endearing, amusing and whimsical. Once Ma informed Jack that there actually was an Outside, and not just what he sees in TV, I became very engrossed in the story. I switched to the book and could not put it down. Jack begins to question his entire existence, and seeing Outside through his eyes for the first time is terrifying yet hopeful. Children are incredibly adaptive, resilient beings!Characters & World-Building: Jack turns 5 at the beginning of the story and you learn that he was born in Room. As you get to know Jack and Ma, you learn that Jack has never been outside Room and knows of nothing outside his 11x11 environment. Everything on TV is pretend. Jack has named all of the objects and refers to them as people. In his world, they are his friends. Jack's constant questioning of everything was so realistic. He asked Ma many questions but he kept most of them to himself, and it was upsetting to experience his uncertainty and fear, at times. Seeing the world through Jack's eyes keeps the reader on their toes as you are awed and annoyed by the imagination and lack of experience of a 5-year-old. A very under-socialized but intelligent 5-year-old.Seeing Jack change and morph once exposed to Outside evokes a ton of emotions. The reader is slapped with the realization that humans need other humans to learn how to be human. Socialization comes from being social, and while Jack had Ma, he had experience with no other humans, situations or environments, except a few short interactions with Old Nick. If a child is raised in a room and knows of nothing else, he will be comfortable and content in that space. Jack was absolutely comfortable and content, so much so that he wanted to return to Room later on. That was his home, what he knew and was comfortable with.Ma was an incredible young lady. She is so very protective of Jack, who is her only friend and confidant. At times, you want to yell at Ma and encourage her to place Jack in time-out, as he can grate on your nerves with the best of them. Other times, you want to hug Ma and place her in the Patience Hall of Fame. As you learn of how she came to exist in Room, your emotions are overloaded. Once Outside, Ma is overwhelmed, much like Jack, though she is ready to move on with life. She struggles acclimatizing back into life and society, but she never falters as Jack's protector. I am so awed by this woman, you have no idea.Lasting Impressions: This book hands your emotions to you on a silver platter. You feel the whole gamut. The characters are presented with some ugly psychological issues, as expected, and you are left wondering if they will ever recover. One thing that never faltered, no matter how irritated or depressed or overwhelmed or fearful Jack or Ma became, was their undying, unconditional love for one another. I did not close this book sad or angry. I closed it with a small smile on my face and happy tears in my eyes.Favorite QuoteIt's all real in Outside, everything there is, because I saw an airplane in the blue between the clouds. Ma and me can't go there because we don't know the secret code, but it's real all the same.Before I didn't know to be mad that we can't open Door, my head was too small to have Outside in it.