“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

This book had been sitting on my shelf for over a year, as many books do. The recommendation had been sitting scribbled in a man’s handwriting for even longer than that in a notebook that I carry around with me. (Every person in the world should be forced to carry a pen and notebook everywhere. If I was president that would be my first course of action, because you honestly never know when you’ll have to jot down a thought, line, book recommendation, or anything of the sort.) Anyway, I finally pulled it off my handmade bookshelf and got to it.

And guess what? It was good, real good.

I don’t think I have to sit here and praise Cormac McCarthy, because many already have. The book which is centered around a father and son and their trek to get to the coast through a burned and desolate America is overall a story about the strength that two people can pull from a strong and loving relationship under any circumstances (I think). However, the main message that I pulled away from it was that even with no hope or future at all really, there can still be an overwhelming sense of good. I fell in love with the young son’s compassion and desire to help every passing stranger, and it’s that one thing- no matter how bleak or hopeless the whole tale seemed to be as it unwinded- that kept me going through this book. Honestly, it made it not so hopeless.

The whole world (or at least as far as they know) is burned and ashes. There are “bad guys” that will kill you for your supplies. The father and son spend their days scavenging for food, blankets, and everything we as first-world citizens take for granted. I’ll admit that for much of the book I wondered how did the world get like this. I wanted to know what happened prior to the story I was reading, what had made everything the way it was, and that is something the book never explains. However, at the very end of the book, when I turned the last page, it didn’t seem to matter at all. I’m not sure how exactly to explain this, but at the conclusion, I understood why McCarthy never told us. It made sense that we were never given an explanation of how it all came to be, because, simply put, it just didn’t matter.

The whole book reminded me of poetry. The kind of poetry that makes you cry, which I did. I actually cried towards the end and I haven’t cried over a book since the third grade when I read “A Time for Dancing” about a chick who has cancer. (I don’t remember who wrote the book or anything except the title and a line about extra-strength tylenol, but I remember it made me cry.) That’s saying something because it means in almost twenty years, this is the first story that has forced me to involuntarily show I have emotions. Thus proving that sometimes I cry… from feelings, which some of my friends think I never do. (Ever more telling, in that it takes a fictional story to make my feelings boil out.)

To be honest, I loved this book. I love how it forces the reader to sort of look at morality and the goodness of a person in a different way. The writing, as I said, flowed like a long poem, and I will no doubt probably read every book McCarthy has written. However, I would probably not recommend this book to everyone I know. Not because of the quality of the book, but because if Harry Potter, the Twilight series, or 50 Shades is your schtick, you may very well not enjoy it.

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