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…

April Reading Review

Where exactly did April go? I swear it was just the middle of March and now it's May. Once again, I'm going to provide a quick review of each of the books I read last month. For the last two weeks of the month, I participated in the Spring Into Horror Readathon hosted by Michelle at Seasons of Reading. The only rule was that you had to read at least one book that was horror, thriller, etc. I read one book that qualified. With the exception of the first book in my list, the books I mention below were read during the readathon


My book club's May selection was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. I had started reading this nonfiction book about the author's work representing men, women and children who were on death row in March but finished the book in April. This is an eye-opening story that everyone at my book club discussion agreed should be required reading for law schools and police officers and even legislators who are making the laws related to judgements. I learned to…

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …