Holy Cow. Seriously. This book blew my mind. My mind is officially blown. Whoo. I don't really even have words. I have been sitting on this review for a few days so that I could digest this book and think about everything that I had just finished reading and then I went back and reread quite a bit of the book again. And after the second reading I had to redigest what I read again. Now I am exhausted and I hope that the apocalypse doesn't happen tonight because I am emotionally spent after reading The Road. On top of all the darkness that is The Road, Cormac McCarthy has written a beautiful piece of work, the imagery and depth of feeling in this book is remarkable. Seriously y'all. My mind is blown. Thank you thank you Greg (over at The New Dork Review of Books) for putting this book on my radar. I owe you a good book suggestion now!
The Road is a story of survival, dystopia, the love between a parent and their child, and also a little bit about hope. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where vegetation and animals are extinct, the sun doesn't shine through the fall out ash, and the few people that are left roaming the land are DANGEROUS. You follow the story of father and son that are headed south on The Road hoping that when they get to their undetermined destination something will be at the other end. All the while they are trying to survive and "carry the fire" (the phrase that symbolizes goodness through out the book) even though the odds aren't in their favor. Food is scarce, roving gangs of cannibals are everywhere, and the climate is HARSH. The end of this crazy story is AMAZING!!!! I was freaking the heck out when I read the last few pages, and I think that is when I can pin point when my mind became blown.
Something that I though was so appropriate was the fact that McCarthy didn't name his characters. They were simply referred to as the man and the boy. In a time where identity isn't important anymore it just fit perfectly. I don't know that another story could be told with out character names. At least not as well as The Road was. In most reviews on this book you will read about how the landscape was a character in this book and I have to agree. McCarthy painted a pretty bleak picture of what a post-apocalyptic world would look like. I don't really know if you could have anything BUT a bleak picture of a post-apocalyptic world but McCarthy executes it superbly. I devour dystopic and post-apocalyptic survival stories but The Road is by far the cream of the crop when it comes to this genera. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and it surely deserved it.
There is so much I would love to discuss about this book but I can't do that with out giving away some spoilers so I am letting you know if you are reading and don't want the book to be spoiled stop reading this next paragraph. I am going to just run through my mind blowing thought and then I am going to stop. So don't read further if you don't want to know about then end....
OK, so at the end when the man dies and the boy steps out on the road and sees the man in the yellow parka. The yellow parka man mentions that his group had been watching the man and the boy for a while. It killed me that the whole time the boy and the man had been headed south to find "the good guys" and "the good guys" were behind them the entire time. I don't know why this blew my mind, the irony in that just killed me. After all that happened why couldn't they have figured that out before. Then I was thinking that when the man and the boy were in the town where the boy saw the other little boy and he wanted to go back and make sure that the other little boy wasn't lost and scared, could that have been the same group? The yellow parka man mentions that he has a little boy and a little girl. Also something else that intrigued me was the way the boy was somewhat religious though religion was all but gone by the time he was born. "Carrying the Fire" to me was kind of an ichthys symbol of "the good" or of God. There are so many other little questions I would like a second opinion on. Geez.
BOOK vs. MOVIE: There is a movie of The Road that has fairly new and I have't had the chance to see it yet. Actually I can't find it anywhere. But I can't wait to get my hands on it because I am sure it is more intense than the book. The book was intense but if you could see the pictures unfold in front of your eyes I would believe that it would be an edge of your seat kinda movie. I'll review the movie when I finally find a copy to watch.
RATING: 5 Stars
3 More Reviews on The Road:
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
If you liked The Road you should try: The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood