Monday, May 28, 2007

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy is not the feel good book of the century. But then again it could be. It seems like the continuous desolation, and destruction created in this book will never end. However, someone is always "carrying the light," which means that if you let this book absorb you as you absorb it you will learn that it is not always futile and that life has a meaning.

Yes all that was what I got out of a book where a man and his son are walking a long a road in constant survival mode in a post-apocalyptic United States. Cormac McCarthy paints a great prosaic picture of what it means to be one of "the good guys." The man and son are just trying to head south to warmer weather. The land is covered with ashes from some apocalyptic destruction that is never explained other than it was all burned. The "how the land got that way" is not important. This story revolves around the man and son surviving and avoiding roving bands of murderers, cannibals and "bad guys." They will succeed because they are the "good guys" and they are "carrying the light."

Normally in my reviews I will warn you that there will be spoilers in the review. This book really has nothing to spoil (that may be a spoiler in itself), also the reading of this book is the true reward. Not only is the story great but the words used to tell the story are so beautifully composed that at times it feels as if reading or hearing music. The flow is perfect as if you are there with the man and boy.

The man spends a lot of time in the story apologizing to the boy. Most of the apologies are for things the boy has seen or events they have to endure. Although deep down inside you get a real feeling of the older generation having to apologize to the younger generation. There are times in the book where I felt I would read this book to my 6 year-old son, but there were times where I felt it was too much. I have always felt strongly about making sure my son gets the most out of life, after reading this book, I am influenced to make sure that happens even more so.

This is a book you have to read. If for no other reason than Oprah says so and put it in her book club. Okay, really this is a great book and I'm glad to see she brought this to the attention of many that would have passed it by, it will give you a different view on life. I think it also helps you decide if you are a good guy or bad guy.

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