Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Monday, August 5, 2013
The Road
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Publisher: Vintage Books
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Adult
Source: Borrowed
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.
Summary from Goodreads

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started The Road. I mean, a book without quotation marks? Without apostrophes in most contractions? While I consider myself a pretty open-minded reader, I like my traditional punctuation.

That said, I loved that there isn't traditional punctuation.

The formatting of the book, where the usual chapters are tossed out for short passages and "can't" is written as "cant," provides for the perfect atmosphere. It's bleak and desolate- through something as simple as punctuation, McCarthy paints the image of the characters' ravaged world, as well as their emotional states.

The characters themselves don't have names. We simply have "the man" and "the boy." Perhaps this relative anonymity is because in this post-apocalyptic setting where the rest of their loved ones have died there is no need for names? Or maybe it's so we think, "That could be us/our father/our brother." Regardless, it adds something to the story and detracts nothing. The love the father feels for his son is palpable, and the boy's combination of wisdom and innocence is poignant.

There are other characters, road agents and ruffians, who show the worst of human nature. And other members of the cast are hopeless victims. But every single character leaves an impact on the reader, or at least it did for me. And despite everything, The Road is full of hope. It's set in a place that is essentially composed of death and yet there's hope in this father and his son.

If you are a YA fan who's worried that this book may not be for you, don't be. I'd say anyone who enjoyed Life As We Knew It will be able to appreciate this novel. Even if it's not your usual kind of book, why not give it a try, right?

The Road is a book that I know I can go back and reread in the future and discover something I didn't notice before or glean some new meaning. It's a book that I'll definitely have thoughts on for days (and possibly weeks or months) to come.
*4.5 stars*
A Quote from the Book: "Where men can't live gods fare no better."
 Have you read The Road? Do you think YA fans would enjoy this Adult novel?


  1. One of the most amazing books ever, for the way he uses language, and the absolute elegance of the descriptions. Always the perfect word and never any extras.

    That said, I think this may be too dark for much of the YA audience. I know lots of adults who couldn't read it because they found it too overwhelming and depressing. Oddly enough, I didn't feel that way, but it's a long way from The Hunger Games to The Road, I think.

    1. McCarthy is a very eloquent writer- some of the passages were absolutely haunting.

      As someone who falls into the YA audience, I don't think it would be too dark for most readers. Like any group, some would find it to be too depressing, but it depends on the teen. Most would be able to handle it, I think, as it's used in a lot of high school curriculums.

  2. i ADORED this book. the uniqueness was never ending - from form to content - i just found myself completely immersed in the world mccarthy crafted. his prose, man, i cannot get enough.

    1. "his prose, man, i cannot get enough." <-I feel the exact same way. I didn't expect to like it, but I really, really did.

  3. Unconventional writing is sometimes "the thing" that makes me indulge in a book. It really does a lot to the atmosphere! I have not heard of it, but darn, it sounds so freaking refreshing and unique. Ah. No-name I hope I enjoy it as much as you did! Definitely adding to my TBR!

    1. Yay! So glad that you're going to give The Road a try! (I hope you enjoy it, too!:)

  4. This article is written to help people developing unique writing style that will help them in their writing career as well as in their academic


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