Book Review Wednesday: The Road (3.5 stars)

Posted: March 12, 2014 in Book Reviews
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m feeling a little ‘eh’ about this book. I’m not sure if that makes me a bad person because so many people loved it.

Let’s peek at the summary for those not in the know:

A searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.

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.

I watched the film first and loved it, so of course I went looking for the book. There are some things I loved about the book. There’s an overwhelming feeling of despair through the pages. A man and a boy wander through a gray world, and it seems like Cormac McCarthy really wanted to put the reader in that world, so he made the writing simple to the point of bland.

This is good because you do get the sense of this being an empty world with little hope, but on the other hand it’s also, well, bland. It feels like a shopping list at times. He did that. He did this. Then this happened.

This bland feeling carries over to the plot. There are a few big moments, but most of the time it’s just the man and the boy walking, looking for food, and not doing much else. This is not an action packed novel. Again, this is good, and this is bad. The novel might have been more enjoyable to read if it had more direction instead of their mostly aimless wanderings, but it would have taken from the atmosphere of the story.

Overall I did like the book. It was a quick read and did leave a lasting impression. I’m just left a little lost about what exactly to think about it. I suppose it’s like looking at impressionist art. Is it art? Or is it just scribbles? On the one hand I could talk about the great message it gave about hope, and about sticking to your morals no matter what. On the other the lack of cohesion makes me wonder whether those messages are intentional or happenstance.

I read the book, and I enjoyed it, but I was left not knowing if I saw it as ‘good’ or not. I think it was. I think it was just different enough that my mind’s a little confused. I’d say, if you like trying things a little different, then try this one.

Take a look at more reviews on this book. Some of them are just as confused as me: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6288.The_Road

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