The Road Review

By | February 1, 2011

The Road
By: Cormac McCarthy

Paige’s Rating: (1) of 5 Stars
Recommended for: Fiction Readers

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.

Even though this book is a 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, I found it incredibly disappointing to read.
The setting of the book is all too common, a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity is lost to carnal desires and the basic instincts for survival. In this world, there are many snow storms, rain storms and electrical storms as a son and his father move south in the grim hope of warmer weather. In addition, they also move south in hopes of finding a culture of “good guys” like themselves, as most of the remaining humans alive have formed tribes and are on a nomadic journey for sustenance, whether it be remaining tins of food or human flesh.

The plot is flat as well. Told in third person, “the man” and “the boy” travel south on roads during the day, and camp at night far off the road, risking their lives in order to have a fire and some heat. They encounter some “bad men” whom they hide from and on occasion run and escape from. Sadly, the plot really can be told with about seven verbs. They walk. They hide. They sleep. It snows. They walk more. They search old houses. They run. They hide. They sleep. It rains.

I kept reading thinking that there must be some sort of great ending to save the flat characters and plot and elevate it to Pulitzer Prize status. However, the ending was exactly what you and I would probably guess, and I threw the book down rolling my eyes and wondering why I stuck this one out. For people who love this book, I have to question their sanity.

I gave it 1 star because even though this plot and concept is neither new nor exciting, the book can be taken metaphorically. Are we not all traveling down the road of life trying our best to survive and trying to be the “good guys?” Sure. But all metaphors and allegories aside…

This is really one road I would advise you to stay off of.

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