The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Summary: 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.
This book has been floating around in my periphery for a while and became even more talked about once it was adapted into a movie. I hadn’t seen the movie or read the book but one of my friends did and although she said it was good, she also mentioned that it was really bleak and depressing. I tend to shy away from reading things that are disturbing or gory and I thought this book was going to be like that.
But then my boyfriend got it from the library and read it and I decided to keep an open mind and try it for myself. It wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it would be and while the writing is excellent I can’t say it’s a book I enjoyed reading. Some books are enjoyable and entertaining, others aren’t but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile.
After I finished it my boyfriend and I got to talking about it and the value of reading books that make us uncomfortable. I said it was scary because it seemed like something that could really happen. After all, we have the technology to make bombs and destroy the earth. My reasoning was that there are enough struggles and hardships in life and I didn’t want to be reminded of them in my down time, which was why I’d avoided the book until now.
However, after reading the book, I’m glad I picked it up and I definitely learned things about myself from reading it. I doubt I’ll pick up another book like it for a while because that would be too depressing. But I’ll definitely be more open to reading books that are sad. Reading The Road inspired me to try and make the world a better place, if only in some small way, so that the things in the book never happen. It also made me appreciate all the things I’m fortunate enough to have, including the fact that I don’t live in a world like that. And, oddly enough, it was somewhat inspiring that people could survive something terrible and still hold out hope and faith in humanity.
So I’d recommend this book to everyone to read, even if they are initially hesitant like I was. It really pulled me out of my reading comfort zone and made me think. If you’ve read it, what did you think of it? Were you hesitant to read it? What realizations did you come to after reading it? Has reading it changed you in any way? If you haven’t read it, are you tempted to pick it up now? Have you seen the movie? How does it compare? Should I watch it?
My Rating: ★★★☆☆