Publisher: Vintage Books
Age Group: Adult
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?