The Road – Cormac McCarthy

I bought this book sometime over the summer, probably because I had it confused somehow with On The Road by Jack Kerouac (which is on The List). Oops. I do things like that a lot. Oh well.

Anyway, the book’s premise is pretty simple: a father and son (always referred to as “the man” and “the boy,” never named) are wandering through a post-apocalyptic, burned out America. That’s about the best I can do without stealing from the blurb on the back: “Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there…It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, ‘each the other’s world entire,’ are sustained by love.”

I’m going to be honest here. I finished this book before the New Year and have been avoiding writing about it because I didn’t like it and frankly couldn’t think of anything to write about. The other night, I was talking to a friend about it and told her how I thought it was boring and totally not engaging, and she explained to me that it’s not about the plot—it’s about the love between the man and his son.

Okay, fine, I get that. Except that’s not why I read books. I read books because I like stories. I don’t want to read an exposé of the love between a father and a son. I’m not really into touchy-feely books like this. It’s just not my thing at all.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the writing style…no quotation marks, run-on sentences, really just not a lot of punctuation in general. I am a big fan of punctuation. As a linguistics major, a grammar nerd, a constant reader, and an amateur writer, punctuation is my friend. I may not always use it correctly (I find I’m particularly fond of dashes where they don’t necessarily belong), but at least when I write, it’s usually decently readable. (Readers, tell me if I’m wrong.) Now, The Road was not nearly as bad as some of Faulkner’s “stream of consciousness” BS, but it was still kind of off-putting to me. Rules exist for a reason. Throwing them out the window doesn’t make you “cool,” at least in my eyes. I suppose that was my frustration with e. e. cummings, thinking he was so awesome and special for not using punctuation. But anyway, I digress.

I didn’t really like this book. Like I said, I guess I just didn’t appreciate it for what it was. I’m more of a plot person, not a “let me read almost 300 pages about how much this guy and his son love each other” kind of person. This book was definitely not for me.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

7 thoughts on “The Road – Cormac McCarthy

  1. I read this book last winter and fell in love with it! I can see how the simplicity of the plot can get old after a while, but like your friend, found the love of the father and son to be what drew me into the story. Since reading it, it’s become one of my favorite books ever for the simple fact of beautiful it is. I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy it more 🙁 I hope something else draws your interest though!

    Happy Reading!

    • Yeah, I didn’t realize how many people loved this book so much until I said I didn’t like it and everyone was like “WHAT? I thought it was the best book EVER!” (and some other similar responses). I just found it to be too self-consciously “literary,” if you know what I mean–as if he was trying to be this generation’s Faulkner. Which is fine, if you like Faulkner, but…I don’t.

      (On that note, thanks for writing a lovely response and not jumping all over me because I didn’t like it! I think this is a book where I’ll just have to “agree to disagree” with some people.)

      Have you read anything else by Cormac McCarthy? I’ve heard of at least two others, No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses but don’t know anything about either of them except that the first one is also a movie.

      • I could never jump at someone for not liking a book (unless it was an Austen novel – LOL). I can completely see the “literary” argument 100%. I’m surprised I’m not a huge fan of Faulkner having liked this. It’s been a while since I’ve read his stuff – maybe I’m older and can appreciate it better now? Who knows.

        I haven’t read anything else by Cormac yet. They’re all on my to-read list which **sigh** keeps growing and growing and growing and growing.

      • I liked The Road …the father-son relationship was really touching, but I am a mom, and if I had read this book earlier in my life, I might not have liked it as much.

        I have read No Country…but I didn’t like that at all. I just found it way too violent and disturbing. In fact, after reading that book, I swore off McCarthy for ever.

  2. I read this book in high school and remember not liking it at all. I definitely like a good plot line and it’s just not there. I think I’m going to try to read it again though now that I’m older (and wiser maybe?) It might be interesting to see if my view changes. I’m glad that you felt the same way though, Bridget. I’ve always felt weird saying that I didn’t enjoy this book when so many other people love it!

    • Thanks, Gretchen!

      On a different note: I know you liked The Hunger Games, have you read Divergent yet? I’ve heard it’s very similar in both subject matter and awesomeness so I ordered a copy on Amazon a few days ago!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *