Skip to main content

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy


A boy and his father walk the road south in post-apocalyptic America. This is the premise of Cormac McCarthy's novel, The Road. There isn't much more to tell. This is really the entire story. They search for food, hide from people who want to kill and eat them, and try to make their way to the ocean where perhaps things will be better. But it's not really as exciting as all that sounds.

The Road is a bleak look at a world where everything is gray. Hardly anything lives anymore. The people who are alive spend their days trying to find some sort of food leftover from years ago, when things were different. The world McCarthy has created is desperate and sad. Some say it's a warning of what could be. I think it's fitting that I read this book during April, the month of Earth Day. It is a bleak look at the future of our planet.

McCarthy's writing in this novel is almost poetic. The Road is the type of book I could see high school and college English students being required to read. There are no chapters, but he often writes in short paragraphs that appear to be stand-alone thoughts. Here's an example:
No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. So, he whispered to the sleeping boy. I have you.
While I can see why this won the Pulitzer Prize, and I do think it is an interesting piece of literature, I can't say that I enjoyed it completely. For one thing, the topic is not exactly enjoyable. But beyond that, it's a very monotonous story. The dialog was horrible, in my opinion, but I'm sure there's some literary reason for it. Here's a typical conversation between the boy and his father:
You're freezing, aren't you?
Yes.
If we stop we'll get really cold.
I'm really cold now.
What do you want to do?
Can we stop?
Yes. Okay. We can stop.
It's like at one moment, it's a great work of literature, and at the next, the dialog sounds like my first grader wrote it. I guess my feelings are mixed on the book overall. I am glad I read The Road. I would recommend it, especially since it's such a quick read ~ as long as you don't get bogged down in his lyrical writing style (see first quote above). And if you do enjoy reading literary classics, you'll probably like this one. But don't expect a lot of action or excitement, or an uplifting ending. Unless you use the story to remind yourself to be thankful for what you have.

My Rating: 3/5

Discussion questions for The Road

This review was written based on a copy of The Road that I received through Paperback Swap.

Comments

  1. I couldn't wait to read your review of The Road, Julie - I haven't read the book myself, but my husband and I watched the movie adaptation recently and I had written a review of it on my chronic illness blog.

    I wrote pretty much the same thing you did about the story. One word comes to mind - bleak! - and you used that word, too. We found it just full of despair - not much hope in it, was there?

    Thanks for the review -

    Sue

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…

Book Review: No Story to Tell by KJ Steele

Victoria has been put down since the day she was born. First by her parents who were disappointed that she survived while her twin brother died. Then by her verbally abusive husband and his low-life friends. But soon an intriguing artist named Elliott arrives in town and starts encouraging Victoria to follow her dream of opening her own dance studio. She also begins to receive phone calls from a mysterious someone who gets her to open up about her past and face her true feelings.

In No Story to Tell, KJ Steele has captured the small-town atmosphere and brought these characters to life. From the victimized Victoria, to her drunk and obnoxious husband Bobby and his drunk and obnoxious friends, to all the side characters who you'd expect to encounter in a town like this ~ all are so realistic in both their actions and their voices. She has written a compelling story of an abused woman who thinks she is trapped in this loveless, miserable existence. But then she finds a spark of hope…

Book Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Title: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Genre: thriller
Published: February 21, 2017
Format: ebook (NetGalley)
Source: publisher
Buy on Amazon(affiliate link)


Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? You will after reading Clare Mackintosh's latest release I See You. Told from the perspectives of two women, one who appears to be targeted by a criminal and the other who is the police officer working the case, this psychological thriller will have you looking over your own shoulder by the end.

Zoe is a typical working mother who takes the Underground through London to her office every day. Like most commuters, she has a routine that she follows every day, leaving home at the same time, sitting in the same train car, taking the same route to work from the station. It's habit. But she starts to realize this may not be a good idea after seeing her own photo in an advertisement in the newspaper. Another woman who appears in the advertisement is murdered and Zoe starts to ge…