Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Road by Cormac McCarthy


Wow. I have been avoiding this book like the plague. After reading many reviews, I was convinced it wasn't my thing, and I had no intention of reading it. But then I decided to read books off the 2008-2009 Tayshas List, which is a recommendation list for high school students put together by the Texas Library Association, and this was on the list. When my randomizer spat out this particular book as the first selection off the list, I cringed, and I almost resubmitted in order to get a different title. But I decided to persevere, and I checked the library catalog. I was still reading another book, but was thinking ahead in case I needed to place one on hold. When I saw that I would, indeed, need to place it on hold, I was secretly happy, because all copies were checked out, and there wasn't first in line. I decided that if, when I finished the book I was reading, if my copy wasn't already on its way, I would choose a different book. Obviously, it didn't work out that way, since I am now reviewing it.

I was so wrong about this book. Yes, it is bleak, dreary, somber, dismal, and any other synonym you can think of. But it is SO GOOD. I would give it 5 stars, except for the fact that I feel that McCarthy used too may $5 words, for no real reason. Well, he probably had a reason, but it was over my head. I lost count of how many words I didn't know, and I consider myself to have a very good vocabulary. I really feel that there is a completely different level to this story that I just didn't get. But, I quit analyzing literature after I completed my lit requirements in college, and I don't intend to pick it up again now.

For those needing a synopsis, The Road takes place years after an apocalyptic event, and there are very few survivors. "The man" (as he is referred to throughout the book) and his young son (I never gathered from the reviews I've read that the son was a young boy; I always assumed he was at least a teenager) are making their way south, presumably to find more "good guys." The going is bleak, marked with periodic fortunate events that allow them to keep going a little further. I kept trying to figure out where exactly they were. I know they were in the Virginia/North Carolina/Georgia area at the beginning, due to a reference to a "See Rock City" sign, and they were headed towards the coast. My assumption was that they were heading toward the southern coast, perhaps the Gulf of Mexico, but I think, actually, they were headed toward the Atlantic coast, as the intention was to continue heading south once reaching the coast. You can't really go any further south from the Gulf of Mexico...

If you, like me, have hesitated to read this, I urge you to give it a chance. I honestly couldn't put it down once I started.

If you've reviewed this book, leave a comment, and I'll link to your review.

This book counts as my "R" title in the A-Z challenge.

5 comments:

Debi said...

Glad to hear this one surprised you. I'm really looking forward to reading it later this summer.

Somer said...

Debi - can't wait to hear what you think!

Will Howard said...

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Thanks, Will, for stopping by. I've added both of your blogs to Google Reader and look forward to reading your posts.

Carl V. said...

This is a book that I am pretty sure I would like but something about either the author or the book's popularity or something makes me cringe as well every time I consider reading it. Very silly and borderline snobbish of me! Your surprise at liking it when you were sure you wouldn't gives me hope that if I pick it up someday I will find the experience worthwhile.