Friday, May 6, 2011

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I just finished reading this book.  I first heard about it when Oprah had the author Cormac McCarthy on her show.  I'm always wary of books that Oprah recommends.  I have tried to read Oprah's book recommendations on a few occasions and have really wondered how it could be that we had read the same book.  This one is different though.  I really enjoyed it.  

The Road takes place in post-apocalyptic America.  Everything is burned down. There's ash everywhere. Nothing grows.  Pretty much all hope is lost. A father and his son try to make their way down South where the weather will be milder and where they might find a way to survive. The story basically chronicles their dangerous journey.  

I think what I liked most about the book is that the story is focused on the relationship between father and son in this desperate situation.  You can feel the strength of the love between the two of them despite the constant threat of death.  It's that love that keeps them going even though they are starving and cold.  

I was touched by the father's resourcefulness and bravery. Impressed by his will.  I was moved by the boy's innocence (despite seeing and experiencing a lot of horror) and how he has broken the world down into bad and good and how he struggles with having to cross the line into "bad" territory in order to preserve their lives.  

The book caused me to ponder human nature and what happens when it seems like all hope is lost.  What do human beings do when faced with the seeming necessity to devolve (in the name of survival)?  Turns out that some refuse to give in to their more base instincts of survival.  And some do so readily.  Turns out that it's not so different when times are dire than when times are good.  

Anyway, I really liked this book. It's not for those with a weak stomach:  there are a few disturbing scenes and references. The writing is choppy and punctuation is scant but I liked it.  It really lent to the overall mood of the book and the characters' states of mind.  
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