by Cormac McCarthy
Star Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂
This popular, post-apocalyptic novel did not quite live up to expectations, at least not at first.
The first thing you notice upon starting The Road is the writing style. To put it honestly, it’s weird. McCarthy doesn’t care about proper sentences, punctuation, or even quotation marks. They simply do not exist in his dystopian world. And, as I recently learned (shoutout to my english teacher) they don’t exist in any of his works. This makes it very difficult to get into at first, and I believe that nearly every reader will struggle to surpass the difficult style and get into the actual text, especially considering the fact that a large vocabulary (and a dictionary) is almost necessary to get a full understanding of the text.
This may seem strange to a lot of YA readers who crave a great dystopian novel. Because of that, I have one last bit of cautionary advice. This book is certainly meant for the adult, or otherwise mature, reader. It isn’t something your 13-16 year olds are going to fly through and love. There’s nobody to SHIP, no OTP, no names of characters.
Instead, The Road is a novel about a boy and his father (“the man”) on their journey south after a nuclear disaster destroys their entire country. Although the two do not talk much, they share a special bond, as as they come across countless people of varying degrees of starvation, decrepit-ness, and moral standards, their own opinions of the world change. It is a heart wrenching novel, meant to demonstrate the horrors of mankind, and the good of some among a world of disaster. It is difficult to explain without giving anything away, but don’t read at face value. Take a careful look at symbolism throughout, if you are into that.
I know I said that this book did not live up to what I thought it would, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t good. I didn’t like it as a “pleasure reading” book, but I think the message will stick with me for a long time, it was written so powerfully. And, since there are only two people in the novel, you become SO attached to them my the end. I don’t think I would advise writing a book the way McCarthy did, but the fact that I am still thinking about it so clearly (I read it a month ago) proves the fact that he got his point across really well.
This is probably the only three star review that I will ever recommend this strongly. It was given that review because that was my opinion, but after thinking about it I think that its message is something which everyone should see, even if they have to struggle and persevere through to do it. And it’s a movie, so you’ll get a nice reward at the end!
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Side Note: For those of you taking AP Literature and Composition this year, The Road does fall into the category of “comparable literary merit”, meaning you can write about it in the open answer question where you answer a question using a book as an example. So, it doesn’t hurt to widen the range of books you can choose from 🙂