Book Review: The Road

This book was written by Cormac McCarthy, who also authored No Country for Old Men. Both books have been made into movies since, and No Country did really well. I haven’t seen The Road yet, which I think was to my benefit when reading. I find that seeing a movie before reading the book usually ruins the book. It’s not the story that gets ruined, but the characters and settings. When you see the movie, you see the interpretation of the book by the director, not necessarily what the author wanted to portray, and also, you see the characters as the actors. Movies steal away your ability to create the character in your head, to give them subtle tweaks and trims to bring that character alive. When I see a movie first, I can’t UNlearn the way the character already looks. Anyway, enough of that..

The Road was great! At first, I found it really hard to start reading. The interesting thing about this book is that it has no chapters. It’s one entire book. It’s short too, almost like a novella, but longer. McCarthy also doesn’t utilize quotations when the characters are talking, he simply puts in what they say as part of a sentence. I found this hard to read at first, but then the genius of it started to dawn on me…

The story follows a man and his son who are trying to survive a post-apocalyptic america. Whatever events lead to the destruction of the world are left out, the story focuses on the bond and love between the son and the father. McCarthy’s dives into the feelings and thoughts of the man as he tries to provide for his son. The dangers are many. The weather is almost unbearable, they have little supplies, little food, barely have clothes, and the cold of winter is coming fast. The worst however is other people. Not only will random survivors steal your stuff at knife/gun point, there are also large groups of people who kidnap and eat people to survive. The man desperately protects his son from the dangers of the road, as they slowly walk their way south and to the coast, looking for warmth and food.

The book was a bit depressing, I felt sad for the two of them and the many hardships. Worst of all, I felt sorry for the boy and all he had to go through at such a young age. The emotion that is brought forward through these characters was amazing. McCarthy’s depiction of their struggle was real and touching. But depressing though it was, I think there is a beauty to the connection the boy and the man have.

I definitely recommend this book, it’s a quick read and one you won’t forget!