Monday, July 26, 2010

BR: The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

I borrowed this book from my friend ages ago and finally got around to reading it! It’s won like… every award out there so I just had to try it. Check out my Friday’s Finest quote as well.

Set in a tragic Post-Apocalyptic world, a father and his son travel towards the south along the road, fighting with every last breath to survive in the harsh and unforgiving conditions.

My Expectations: I thought it wasn’t that appealing to me, the concept wasn’t very magnificent, but since it won everything (Pulitzer Prize, tons of Magazines/Newspapers’ best book of the year… etc) I knew it must be something special.

Delivery: Something special indeed, I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. It left me with mixed feelings (is that good or bad? I don’t know)

Put-down-ability: so-so, I guess. 5/10

My Thoughts

So this is the type of book that really doesn’t have the most cross-over appeal for YA readers so I am going to try to keep this review short and sweet (I'm sorry I failed), that way you can quickly decide whether or not this book is for you.

There are so many different layers in this novel, but it was without a doubt a novel written very well. A warning though, this type of prose is not for everyone, the absence of commas and apostrophes, and the abundance of sentence fragments can be a hit-or-miss. I thought the (occasionally overused) style of language added a whole level of power behind the words, add emotion and mood to the reader.

An expansive vocabulary and impressive diction made the writing at times lyrical and poetic. Let’s just say it’s dark, haunting, and heartwrenching. Loved the setting created though, a world of gray rain, gray snow and ashes.

As a reader, I experienced so many different feelings, from desperation, grief, horror, fear, and depression to probably most importantly, hope. It’s unique that any novel can have such an effect on me so brownie points! There were also a few parts where I was a tad confused about the POV, the sudden usage of “you” was jarring and out of place for a paragraph or two.

The plot is also a hit-or-miss, it is very tedious and slow-moving, each action spelled out for you with a tinge of weariness and despair, this can obviously work for or against the book (again, according to you). There were certainly a few moments that I was honestly reeling in horror just staring wide-eyed at the gruesome and disturbing scenes described (so not suitable for younger readers unless you’ve got a strong stomach).

Lastly, the characters of the man and the boy were developed in their own right, however little character growth is exhibited because of mundane, continuous routines and little opportunity for development. However, that aside, each individual was characterized flawlessly, the father and son relationship is extremely strong. The boy’s constant state of fear and the father’s love and strength were really realistic.

Also, dialogue is… you’ll see. We’ll leave it at “lacking quotation marks”.

Parting Thoughts: It left me with a bunch of feelings, but I do think the theme of determination and hope left a big impact with me.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations

8.4/10 – because I thought the incredible writing is enough to overtake some of its shortcomings. Unique language and excellent uses of figurative language (some of those similes are exceptional!) made the book worthwhile and was honestly a bit reminiscent of The Book Thief (minus the somewhat amiable narrator). Plot was quite (very) slow and tedious but it was the author’s intention so I don’t think I can fault it. Overall? A really good read, recommended for older audiences, book clubs, people wanting to experience superb and odd prose without much plot. B+

PS- my "Rating in HP Terms" is not directly correlated with my rating, it is a personal opinion on what the book felt for me. So a 8.6/10 can get "acceptable" while a 8.4/10 can get "exceeds expectations". I know, my ratings are really messed up xD


  1. Dialogue without quotation marks?!? That's something! Bestsellers are really hit-or-miss - either I end up loving it, or hating it. Somewhere in the middle is nice. :)

  2. It sounds like I book I'd really like! I love reading books that aren't written the usual way. :P

  3. I freaking love Cormac McCarthy. His prose is so poetic & beautiful.

    I also love you for writing this awesome review :)

  4. I have this book on my to-read list, but I'd never read a review. Thanks so much!

  5. Elle- Yeah, because sometimes books are hyped up and they end up just "good", not amazing or bad for me.

    The Golden Eagle- Me too! It's a nice change, and most of them are done really well :D

    in which a girl reads- I'm defintiely going to read some of his other works, this books was incredibly uniquely written :p haha, thankss

    Madeleine- I hope you give it a try :) I'm interested to see what you think of it


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