Book Review: The Road

Title: The Road

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Genre: Sci-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic

Publication Date: September 2006

Pages: 284 (Paperback)

Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Synopsis:

Courtesy of Goodreads

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other

Thoughts:

The Road is one of those books where I feel like I have to read for an English Literature class and have a discussion to fully comprehend the underlying meaning behind the book.

The premise of The Road was intriguing but I was kind of disappointed once I started reading it.  I was hoping for an action-packed book, however, this book is anything but. The synopsis explains it all. A father and son who remain nameless throughout the entire novel fighting for survival as they wander on a bleak, cold, dangerous America: a place where cannibalism is the only form of survival for those who are living.

The moment I read the first sentence I knew I was going to have an issue with Mr. McCarthy.  The writing style is different and I’m assuming it’s meant to be poetic, but it was irritating.  I don’t know if he was attempting to be Hemingway with his short sentences, but I was not entertained.  Quotation marks are nonexistent in the dialogue, so most of the time I didn’t have a clue who was talking.  To add to that, the conversation between the father and his son were dull and at times so repetitive to the point of annoyance. I assume that if you’re an accomplished writer like Mr. McCarthy, you don’t have to concern yourself with following the rules of grammar and punctuation.

As for the characters, I felt detached. Despite being in a depressing situation, I just didn’t feel that much of a connection with the father and son because of the lack of characterization and development.  I also had an issue with Mr. McCarthy not providing a backstory as to how and why civilization ended.  It just did. I do understand that the main focal point of this book is really about the father’s love for his son and how he’s willing to do anything to ensure his safety, but even that played out very weak. As I was reading the book was hoping that it would be addressed at some point in the book; however, it was just the same repetitive, boring conversations that the father and son had.  What they were going through, was horrible but I felt so disconnected with the plot (though I’m not sure if there was a clear plot from the beginning) and eagerly wanting to finish the book as soon as possible because it was torture.

So my interpretation of this book is that the father-son relationship can be an allegory. The father represents “survival”.  He frequently threatens, steals from and sometimes even kills other people to save his son and himself. The son on the other hand represents “kindness” and “compassion.” He keeps pestering his father to help those they encounter without the notion that they are bad people.  Though he has only known a world filled with savagery, he’s still full of kindness and innocence. Cormac McCarthy paints a picture of what a post-apocalyptic America may look like and the only thing you can probably cling on to is the faith and hope in God especially when there is nothing else to believe in.

The lack of an insightful review for this book can be blamed at the fact that the cons of this book outweighed its pros, hence giving it only 2.5 stars.  If you are looking for a post-apocalyptic novel, hoping to be entertained then refrain from reading this book.  On the other hand, if you want to be enlightened and read more about a father’s love for his son and hopefully be inspired, or is in need of a book to read in one sitting, regardless of its content, then this may be the book for you.

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25 thoughts on “Book Review: The Road

        1. Ahaha now I’m really curious. Would you mind telling me the author’s name for this particular book. I may just check it out and take into consideration if it’s something I want to read.

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            1. Oh no. I feel like this book has everything that I hate. Interesting premise but the author fails to execute a good story. Insta-love, a dumb heroine, no plot……I may not give this a try after all.haha

              Liked by 1 person

  1. I personally liked it; I thought it was bleak, yes, but also strangely moving and insightful. McCarthy’s writing style is different which is makes for an interesting read. But I understand why other people can’t stand it; my friend hates it with a passion. I suggest people give it a try if you think it sounds remotely interesting; that’s what I did and I ended up liking it.

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    1. I feel like it’s one of those books that you will like and dislike and I was the one who felt the latter. It wasn’t a bad book, but I was not impressed. I had high expectations and in the end I was disappointed. But that’s just me. I do like the message of the book (well from how I interpreted it)

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      1. yea! I get what you’re saying. I read two of his other books All the pretty horses and no country for old men as well- I was impressed with those even more so than the road

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        1. I will say though he Cormac McCarthy sure is an accomplished writer. Along with The Road the other two books you named were all made into movies. I’m definitely going to give these two books a try. Both of the book’s premise interest me.. 🙂

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          1. and they have more of your typical story development too; his writing is more detailed in them as well as more action. I’m thinking that’s more of what you were looking for in his book haha 🙂

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              1. Yea sometimes detail can get too much.. Once I read a book where for an entire page, the author described a fly on a window screen- no need for it but she did it anyways lol

                Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who disliked The Road!

    All my friends hail it as one of the best post-apocalyptic novels that they have read, which astounds me. I found it nauseatingly repetitive and devoid of any sort of sensitivity – while reading I kept getting this feeling that McCarthy wanted me to be sad for the characters, but I really couldn’t. :/

    (Sorry if my comment went through twice – when I posted the first time, my internet died!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I believe he was trying to make us readers feel, but when there is literally no character development and lackluster dialogues between the father and son it’s hard to feel connected in any way.

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  3. Oh no, this doesn’t seem like a good read at all. The worst books are the ones where you feel like it’s a chore to read. Connection to characters, even if they’re not relatable, is a big part of why I like a book, so that’s too bad. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t for me, but I guess it will depend on a person’s taste. I’ve read reviews for this book and there are those who absolutely loved it while others did not (including me).

      I share similar sentiments. I don’t want to read a book where I feel apathetic towards a character, especially if they are the main ones, too. I want to be invested and be able to empathize with them. This book just didn’t do it for me, but then again it’s only my own opinion. I can’t speak for everyone else.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Awhile back I recall people praising this book and how great it was so I decided to buy it. I’ve had this book for two years and finally read it and unfortunately I didn’t expect to be so disappointed. It was not as great as everyone made it to be, but then that’s just my opinion. I was not impressed either.

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    1. Curiosity and the rave about this book was what got me to read it in the first place. There is also a film adaptation so that also played an influence on why I read the book. I know my review is more focused on the negative aspects of the book, but I guess it has its redeeming qualities as well. I know that others enjoyed it so maybe that will change your mind. However, I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t give it a chance either. ahaha

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