Today I will be reviewing a “light read” (I hope you know I’m joking). The Road by Cormac Mccarthy is one of the most critically acclaimed novels of our time. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, was selected for Oprah’s book club in 2007, and the Quill Award for General fiction in 2007.
I had heard a lot about this book before I read it. My dad claims that this is the one book that has made him cry. My mom didn’t like it as much, for it was too gory and depressing for her. I think my brother felt more neutral about this book, except for the cannibalism. I didn’t think I would ever read this book until this year. It never really appealed to me, but I found that it was actually a much easier read than I anticipated.
The Road is set in a post apocalyptic dystopian world. It follows the journey of a father and his son and their methods of survival through the desolation. The book contains flashbacks, unique description of setting, and the most influential part of the book: dialogue.
The dialogue in The Road is unlike any other book I have read. Mccarthy does not use quotation marks, and the characters rarely speak more than one sentence at a time. For me, this was the most jarring part of the book. I remembered the interactions between the father and the son better than anything else I read. Although little is said between the two, the combination of setting and internal dialogue makes up for it.
One thing that I noticed about this book was how little it impacted me. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book, because I did. I just noticed that the way my dad and my teacher spoke about it was different from how I would speak about it. I think the reason why this book maybe didn’t impact me as much is because I didn’t relate to the characters. I don’t think I will ever be a parent, so if the apocalypse were to happen and we were all left behind with this dystopia, I wouldn’t be in the same position the father was. I often think about how different the book would be if it was just the father and not the son, or vice versa. I think that this book will impact fathers (or soon-to-be) fathers the most, unless they don’t value their children much. I mean hey, I don’t even know for sure because like I said, I have no plans to be a parent.
Another thing that was discussed in my English class was how one of the reasons this book is so powerful is the fact that this could very well be the setting of our post apocalyptic world. Many students said that they could see this scenario playing out in real time, and I agree. While I would like to think that supernatural beings and forces would come into play post-apocalypse, if you’re going with what you know about the world today this is what is most likely to happen. I see cannibalism as a definite possibility in our future. It’s something I’m squeamish about, so I don’t talk about it often.
Overall, I would give this book a 3/5 and recommend it to those who are not faint of heart.