Yes, it is that time again for YET ANOTHER review of a Post-Apocalyptic book *I won't tell you I'm sorry because I'm not* I did say that I was on an apocalyptic genre binge right now, and that's definitely where we'll be heading today.
Here's the Blurby-Blurb!
"A searing, post apocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.
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."
Just so there are no disappointments or broken expectations (Like mine for this book) This book was all of what I was not hoping for. But let's jump into it before spoilers are spoiled in just the few opening paragraphs!
- Warning! Do not go beyond this point if you are prone to become aggressive when in contact with SPOILERS. Stop, turn around and walk away until you find a copy of The Road, read it, THEN come back and the spoilers will magically no more!-
Then, it took even longer to actually FINISH because I kept getting distracted, agitated (Yes, agitated. I'll get to that in a minute), and even bored. To say that I came into this book with high expectations for a brilliantly written apocalyptic novel about the human struggles of living in a desolate world and having everything that you know to be flipped on its head would be to slightly play it down. I had ENORMOUS expectations. Mount Everest level expectations. And so in I went to read.
It's an interesting cover, and one that actually feels really peculiar when you pick it up. Each bullet hole or rusting on the letters are bumpy and indents on the page. The colours are nicely contrasted by each other, but what I cannot fathom is the fact that they make the review on the cover have more space than the author's name or the title of the book. I can't fathom why you'd even put a review on the front page where the title and author's name should be!
When I showed a friend of mine the book that I just bought, he said it was cool and then hesitated before asking, 'So...what's it called? Whose the author? I can't tell...'
If your books make people double look for a name or the actual title, then you really need to reconsider what you're putting on the cover and how to make it more easily seen and cleaner. This isn't Preschool anymore, you can't just sloppily write your name across your work and expect other people to be able to read it.
It's probably one of those covers that aren't in my favourites list, but just narrowly scrapped by from getting into the Greatly Dislike list.
The blurb is what REALLY pulled me in and caught my attention, and it make me make a decision about reading it. Who doesn't like the idea of two main characters that you'll probably fall in love with, trying to survive in a world where groups band together to scavenge and probably kill/eat other people? IT'S GENIUS!
[4 out of 10 for me on the cover]
An unnamed Father and son journey across a wasteland after an apocalyptic even left the world covered in ash, killing all animals and destroying all plant life.
Other survivors in the dire circumstances thrown upon them have resorted to cannibalism and of banding into groups, hoping to take provisions wherever found or off lone people. The Father and son travel alone, looking for shelter in the oncoming winter and carry their only possessions filled in a trolley, as they walk towards their goal of reaching the sea. Slowly over the course of the novel, it is revealed that the Father is suffering from sickness and is dying, but continues to press on.
The Father's wife is revealed to have committed suicide after giving birth to the son at the time of the oncoming disaster. After they reach the sea, the Father is shot by an arrow from another survivor, and dies. After three days, the boy encounters a man who has a wife and two children who tell him that they are the 'Good Guys', and takes him under their protection.
It's so hard to put my finger on why I can't stand this novel. Is it because it's written in third person and there is little to no punctuation? And yes, perhaps that's because it's meant to symbolise the fact that society has crumbled and literally everything has gone awol, but the fact that I got confused with who was talking, what something meant, or what the heck was happening is the reason why punctuation was created. To help clarify language.
But the real thought is why? In all honesty, this has been praised as possibly the best Post-Apocalyptic novel in the past 25 years by some. I'm a huge enthusiast when it comes to this genre, so why did The Road not crack it for me when to other people it was like a holy grail amidst the wasteland of boring and cliche written novels in this genre.
It didn't leave a lasting impact on me, it didn't make me think about it the rest of the week or however long it's been now. For me, it was just there. Like the ash underneath their feet.
Father - The book is written in third person through the father's perspective, which gives us the better view of how things are actually going instead of the view that his son has. The father knows he is dying, he knows that they won't last the winter without shelter, and he knows he can't leave his son by himself in a world where people are eating their own children. I liked the father as much as I could with how I already felt about this book. He was determined, hopeful for his son, but he had flaws (Like when he'd snap at his son. It's natural, we all break differently) which made him seem a lot more human. Despite what he went through, he really persevered as a character in a world threatening to break him, and that's what I liked. His death at the end didn't seem rushed, or sudden, or even bad, it was just there.
Son - He reminds me a lot of Carl from The Walking Dead (Pretty much everything reminds me of TWD) but younger, and not able to change as much as Carl did throughout. He was a driving force for the Father, and it's understandable. I didn't really feel for the boy, but nor did I hate him or want him gone. He was a neutral character for me.
The Old Man - I thought he was hilariously sad.
- The details of the post-apocalyptic world. It was very vivid and really helped imaginary what kind of things they were going through.
- The relationship between the father and son. It was better than most novels that contain siblings or family members together.
- The blurb! <3
- The length. It wasn't too long that it got stale quick, but it wasn't a short read that felt over because it was really over.
- The scene about the cannibals. It honestly sent shivers down my spine at the very thought and the way Cormac McCarthy described it.
Things I didn't like:
- The grammar! THE PUNCTATION! It didn't help put me into the story, it took me out of it.
- Some of the dialogue between the father and son. It felt kind of...I'm not sure what the right word for it is, but it felt basic. Not too much, not too little, and not enough to make an impact.
- The cover. Ugh.
- Talking so much about scavenging. Yes, it is a very large part of the post-apocalyptic genre and that's because it's a necessity, but you have to break it up and dilute it sometimes because when it keeps recurring, you become numb to it and it becomes boring.
- Sometimes the third person aspect really confused me, and I was left trying to figure out who was talking and what about.
I'm rating The Road a 4.5 out of 10, and giving it a pat on the back for trying with me.
“You have to carry the fire.
I don't know how to.
Yes, you do.
Is the fire real? The fire?
Yes it is.
Where is it? I don't know where it is.
Yes you do. It's inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”
― Cormac McCarthy, The Road