This book is called, ‘ ROOM ON THE ROOF’ written by Ruskin Bond. It is about an orphaned boy named Rusty who has no real family after his parents’ death. He is very lonely and sad and even though he lives with his guardian (Mr. John Harrison), he doesn’t feel at home. Rusty is going through several emotions; he is confused, obliged, helpless, lonely and sad.  He is confused because he is a young boy between the age of an adult and child and doesn’t know who to follow or what his future holds. He is obliged to follow the orders and rules of his guardian and dares not disobey him. He feels helpless because he knows that if he disobeys Mr. John, he will get caned. Rusty doesn’t have any real friends and he is so very lonely in his guardian’s house. Even though Rusty is half Indian, John doesn’t let Rusty near the bazaar for a reason : John thinks that Indians are very dirty and this story is written just after the British had ruled over India, so he must have felt more superior! One day, Rusty decides to get some fresh air and takes a walk while his guardian was away to Delhi. After walking through the forest, he stops in front of the bazaar and his mind is arguing with his instinct. His mind is saying, ‘Don’t go! You will get into trouble.’ but his instinct is saying, ‘Go! You have your own heart and mind. You don’t have to live under rules all the time.’ Rusty chooses to follow his instinct and steps into the bazaar. He has made a good choice. Up until now, Rusty doesn’t have any hope or confidence but then he meets a kind boy named Somi and makes friends with him. Somi and his friends become Rusty’s hope and confidence and Somi and Ranbir are really kind to Rusty. When Rusty returns home, he finds that his guardian has returned early and gets caned for going to the bazaar. The next day, he goes to play Holi with Ranbir and once again gets caned. Rusty now knows what he has to do. He starts to live his own life and runs away from his guardian’s house. Rusty finds Somi who supports him a lot. Slowly, from a confused boy, Rusty turns into a confident and independent young man! He gets a job teaching English to a boy named Kishen, in return for a tiny room on the roof and food. He finds a loving and fun family, his independence, and even finds his ‘first love’ in Kishen’s mother Meena. The story takes a turn, when he loses all his friends and his first love too. Now Rusty’s last source of confidence and hope has gone away and his lonely days return. Rusty spends his sad days looking out at the window and once again, plans to run away. He decides to go back to England but before doing so, he wants to say a last goodbye to his friends and finds Kishen who convinces him to change his mind about returning to the UK. Instead, the two walk away together to form their own new world and life without worrying about anything else.


What I like about the book:
  • I like this book because it was written from a teenager’s perspective. The author was seventeen when he wrote this and the story was inspired by his own experiences when he lived in Dehra. He wrote this story because he too was feeling some of the emotions that Rusty was feeling in the story. And for that reason, he decided that he would never make any revisions so readers could understand how it feels to be seventeen.  (mentioned in the Introduction by Ruskin Bond himself)
  • It was a great read because it has a lot of different emotions and I like the way Ruskin Bond has written it : a simple story made into such a touching and sad book.
  • There were a few funny descriptions like when Ruskin Bond described a situation as, ‘When a butterfly landed on the missionary’s wife’s palatial bosom….’ I laughed a lot and when my mum read it, she also laughed.  
  • After reading the Room on The Roof, I am looking forward to reading a few of Ruskin Bond’s other stories. I wonder why children of my generation don’t read more of his books. Here are some books I am interested in reading from his collection :  ‘Panther’s Moon and Other Stories’, ‘The Hidden Pool’, ‘Rusty goes to London’ etc..
  • I think the author has explained an important message in this book. Rusty’s guardian seems to be a little racist, who chooses to live in India but not mix with the people there. I think if people live in a country, they should mix with the people and appreciate their culture.
  • The lesson in this story for me is to remain open as Rusty was and to follow my instincts. If Rusty had not becomes friends with the people of the bazaar he would never have had all the wonderful experiences in the story.
  • Ruskin Bond reminds me of Roald Dahl because they both use interesting language and really funny phrases to describe their characters and their stories. They both write simple but wonderful stories. Even though, Roald Dahl is more fantastical and Ruskin Bond’s stories feel like memoirs but presented as a story.




This book report was posted on The Guardian’s site first.
Disclaimer: If you would like to read this book, I recommend that you ask your parents first.