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The Road (Movie Tie In Edition)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

29 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

This "Road" is closed to joyriding. Enter at your own risk.

McCarthy deliberately avoids telling you exactly what happened to the world. He gives you enough subtle clues to force you to create your own End-of-The-World scenario and by doing so, provides your entry fee into this world. Something bad happened to the planet, that's...
McCarthy deliberately avoids telling you exactly what happened to the world. He gives you enough subtle clues to force you to create your own End-of-The-World scenario and by doing so, provides your entry fee into this world. Something bad happened to the planet, that's for sure. Hope has died a quick death, replaced with enough despair to make one weep. The world here is covered with ash that continues to fall like the rain and snow that only punishes the survivors. Nature has turned as ugly and unforgiving as the scavengers that roam the roads and countryside.
The man and his son, the boy, again deliberately unnamed throughout the story, have only each other and their meager but precious belongings that they drag through their world in backpacks and a tired shopping cart. We are privy to the flashbacks of the man, who remembers the wife and mother only as "the woman" and was pregnant with the boy when the world began its decay. Thus we learn that their world has been dying for years and the survivors now live on the rare bits of its offerings; a can of soda here, some dried apples there. They are freezing and wet always; every little fire to warm them and dry their clothing is a pitiful thing, despite the flames that trail at the edges of the scenery like a beast forever stalking them. Hunger is the shadow that clings to them by day; at night the cold becomes an embrace.
A perfect antithesis of Huck Finn's river, the Road here is full of death and dangerous even to be near. Yet it is The Road that the man and boy cling to, hoping to find their way south and avoid freezing to death even as it turns colder. There are plenty of macabre and gruesome scenes along the way to reveal how bands of survivors have turned to cannibalism, torture, and murder just to feed themselves. There are no animals here anymore; Along the road, a dog's bark is as startling as a running motor.
This book is god-awful in its brilliance, full of despair and sadness. Hope is the finding of clean water or another scrap of food on which to survive yet one more day. The man's only meaningful existence is to protect and nurture the boy, yet he must live every day with the knowledge that he must end the boy's life rather than see him captured by the "bad people." His love for the boy is the only real fire that burns in this world. It is this fire that he commands the boy to carry onward.
Cormac McCarthy has offered us a glimpse at a world that will have no heroes, no brilliant plan to save mankind, no Bruce Willis to the rescue. The man is weak at times and has his share of flaws; you also cannot help but share his joy in the small victories and in the moments when he gains whatever precious morsel or scrap of warmth he can for the boy. This is a world fit only for the telling of one person's struggle to find some meaning in it.
You should not travel this road without some fire of your own.

posted by g-man67 on December 17, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

43 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

THE ROAD NOT TAKEN... IF ONLY

I know it's fashionable to love The Road. McCarthy is a high-brow writer of "literature". The gorgeous Viggo Mortensen and the stunning Charlize Theron are starring in the big-budget film. Big critics like the New York Times love The Road. But maybe he's not well read i...
I know it's fashionable to love The Road. McCarthy is a high-brow writer of "literature". The gorgeous Viggo Mortensen and the stunning Charlize Theron are starring in the big-budget film. Big critics like the New York Times love The Road. But maybe he's not well read in the Horror and Sci-Fi genre. (Fancy critics eschew genre. It's not chic.) But if they would occassionally lower themselves to read genre, they'd realize The Road is nothing new or special. The shelves are full of much better post-apocalyptic stories. The People of Sparks by DuPrau, The Postman by Brin, Lucifer's Hammer by Niven and Pournelle. Just a few off the top of my head. The lone plot point of The Road is that things are pretty darn rough after the collapse of civilization. That's it. After McCarthy establishes his one point, he's done. The rest of the novel is simply driving this one point home over and over again ad nauseum. Except for grim descriptions of just how hard it is to survive.... the reader doesn't really learn anything else. If the idea of the end of the world fascinates you, try World War Z by Max Brooks. - - Mary Tills, Barnes and Noble, Frederick, Maryland.

posted by Mary_T on March 20, 2010

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    THE ROAD NOT TAKEN... IF ONLY

    I know it's fashionable to love The Road. McCarthy is a high-brow writer of "literature". The gorgeous Viggo Mortensen and the stunning Charlize Theron are starring in the big-budget film. Big critics like the New York Times love The Road. But maybe he's not well read in the Horror and Sci-Fi genre. (Fancy critics eschew genre. It's not chic.) But if they would occassionally lower themselves to read genre, they'd realize The Road is nothing new or special. The shelves are full of much better post-apocalyptic stories. The People of Sparks by DuPrau, The Postman by Brin, Lucifer's Hammer by Niven and Pournelle. Just a few off the top of my head. The lone plot point of The Road is that things are pretty darn rough after the collapse of civilization. That's it. After McCarthy establishes his one point, he's done. The rest of the novel is simply driving this one point home over and over again ad nauseum. Except for grim descriptions of just how hard it is to survive.... the reader doesn't really learn anything else. If the idea of the end of the world fascinates you, try World War Z by Max Brooks. - - Mary Tills, Barnes and Noble, Frederick, Maryland.

    43 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This "Road" is closed to joyriding. Enter at your own risk.

    McCarthy deliberately avoids telling you exactly what happened to the world. He gives you enough subtle clues to force you to create your own End-of-The-World scenario and by doing so, provides your entry fee into this world. Something bad happened to the planet, that's for sure. Hope has died a quick death, replaced with enough despair to make one weep. The world here is covered with ash that continues to fall like the rain and snow that only punishes the survivors. Nature has turned as ugly and unforgiving as the scavengers that roam the roads and countryside.
    The man and his son, the boy, again deliberately unnamed throughout the story, have only each other and their meager but precious belongings that they drag through their world in backpacks and a tired shopping cart. We are privy to the flashbacks of the man, who remembers the wife and mother only as "the woman" and was pregnant with the boy when the world began its decay. Thus we learn that their world has been dying for years and the survivors now live on the rare bits of its offerings; a can of soda here, some dried apples there. They are freezing and wet always; every little fire to warm them and dry their clothing is a pitiful thing, despite the flames that trail at the edges of the scenery like a beast forever stalking them. Hunger is the shadow that clings to them by day; at night the cold becomes an embrace.
    A perfect antithesis of Huck Finn's river, the Road here is full of death and dangerous even to be near. Yet it is The Road that the man and boy cling to, hoping to find their way south and avoid freezing to death even as it turns colder. There are plenty of macabre and gruesome scenes along the way to reveal how bands of survivors have turned to cannibalism, torture, and murder just to feed themselves. There are no animals here anymore; Along the road, a dog's bark is as startling as a running motor.
    This book is god-awful in its brilliance, full of despair and sadness. Hope is the finding of clean water or another scrap of food on which to survive yet one more day. The man's only meaningful existence is to protect and nurture the boy, yet he must live every day with the knowledge that he must end the boy's life rather than see him captured by the "bad people." His love for the boy is the only real fire that burns in this world. It is this fire that he commands the boy to carry onward.
    Cormac McCarthy has offered us a glimpse at a world that will have no heroes, no brilliant plan to save mankind, no Bruce Willis to the rescue. The man is weak at times and has his share of flaws; you also cannot help but share his joy in the small victories and in the moments when he gains whatever precious morsel or scrap of warmth he can for the boy. This is a world fit only for the telling of one person's struggle to find some meaning in it.
    You should not travel this road without some fire of your own.

    29 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Senseless

    Im an not an avid reader, but I thought this book would offer a good Saturday night read. It started out really grasping my attention. But then, 300 pages later, I didn't seem to know any more than I did in the first 50 pages. Yes, the book built a story around a father's love and commitment to his son, but even that was played out very weak. I needed to know more; why the world was the way it was, more about the mother, more interaction with other characters. Everything the two characters experienced just seemed senseless. Not a lot of depth to the plot. I think the author could have done a lot more with this book and created a great read.

    22 out of 46 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    Haunting!!!

    This was one of those literary works that I really didn't WANT to read but did beccause it was a Pulitzer winner - so often we get in a rut of reading just the genres that appeal to us most. Boy, was I glad I "branched out" with this one. I couldn't put it down and it stayed with me for days after I finished. While it's not exactly entertaining, it was a MUST read for everyone who appreciates characters with depth and a plot that will make you look inward. WONDERFUL book that I'm certain I'll read again in a few years and appreciate it just as much.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    Amazing!!!

    Usually I am not a big reader of books and usually wait to see the movie first. I read this book as a English 12 assignment, and I could not get enough of this book. Cormac McCarthy is an amazing author; I can't wait to read his other work. McCarthy doesn't confuse you with many names, but instead uses "man" and "boy" as his main characters. While reading this book you can vividly picture what was going on with the characters. Even though this book is based on an untold tragedy, it makes the book an amazing story of a father and son. If you ever want to sit down and read a great book then "The Road" is you're best choice, guaranteed.

    13 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I wept when I read this book.....

    Cormac McCarthy's The Road speaks to the hopeful part of all humans; the part that whispers to us that we are not alone, that even in the bleakest of times, there is possibility and promise.
    Some see this book as a warning of a fast approaching post-apocalyptic time when all life as we know it will be turned topsy turvy and basic human kindness will be swept away as pockets of people strive to survive. And, I suppose, The Road could be described as such, but as the famed glass half empty or half full discussion, what you take from reading The Road surely will depend on what you bring to the reading. The boy in this poignant story is a waning ray of faith whose optimism is juxtaposed against the realistic father who has been hardened by devastation and loss. This is a story of love, loss, and life but whether you are left comforted or frustrated depends on your own belief of mankind and life after life. A litmus test of a book - you will find insight into your own beliefs.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Masterpiece

    The dark side of fiction is here in this interesting story. I really enjoyed reading it. Though I had to read this story as a reading assignment, I am glad I did. This fictional drama will stay with me forever. I highly recommend this story to anyone.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Both disturbing and touching...

    This novel was an exceptional read; both intimate and horrifying. Any book that is difficult to put down automatically get's the thumbs up. It grabbed and held my attention in the first 10 pages, something even good books fail to do in the first 100. It is the first McCarthy novel that I have read and I enjoyed it more than I expected. It is the ominous and somewhat perilous journey of a father and son clinging to the hope that there is some good left in a raped and ravaged world. The story is about their continued journey down "the road" to find some sort of salvation in what used to be the United States but is now a cannibalistic, violent, and desperate, society of outlaws, nomads, rapists, murderers, and thieves. At times, The Road's disturbing imagery is difficult to stomach, although McCarthy never goes as far as it seems he will. This probably works in his favour since at several points in the book I almost put it down because I became so afraid of what would happen next. An author who can inject a reader emotionally like that is certainly not lacking in his craft. A tool that McCarthy uses throughout the book to do this is false foreshadowing; planting seeds for things the reader assumes will happen, but never do. This adds to the suspense and fear that McCarthy creates for his audience. It also contributes to the fear of the unknown, which is a major consideration of this story. The plot doesn't really thicken, which adds to the simplicity and nothingness that the book is supposed to make the reader feel. This book conveys more emotion than any other book I have ever read. McCarthy forces the reader to experience fear, sadness, and desperation alongside the main characters. There are a few things I didn't like. The dialogue is difficult to follow at times and can be repetitive. Also, the use of proper names is nearly non-existent, but this seems to serve a purpose. For example, the father and son (as well as the few other characters that come along in the story) have descriptive terms to identify them rather than names; i.e. the man and the boy. The few proper names that are found are mostly brand names. One example of this is Coca Cola, when they find one last can of Coke inside a beaten vending machine in a long abandoned and pillaged grocery store. Much of the book is description as McCarthy isn't just telling a story of loss, but also painting a picture about what post-apocalyptic America may look like. My interpretation of this book, aside from the message that the world is consuming itself to the point of complete extermination, is the true terror in the unknown. It is about the terror of being alone. It is also about the necessary attachment to god and faith when there is nothing else left to believe in. The Road is also an interpretation of raw human nature at the most desperate and destitute of times. The Road is definitely a new addition to some old favourites in post-apocalyptic literature. I look forward to reading more of McCarthy's work down the road.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    My Favorite Book!

    An absolutely amazing tale!

    I picked up "The Road" solely based on the fact that it was written by the author who wrote "No Country for Old Men", which I havent read, but the movie was outstanding!

    I had no pre-judgement about the book, or author. I wasn't too thrilled about the "Oprah's Book Club" sticker on the front though. I figured I would crack the book open, read the 1st chapter to feel it out and toss it aside had it been a weak read.

    Wow, was I wrong. I've never read a book faster in my life. The book has no chapters, the characters have no names, it's just a straight read all the way through!

    The story is amazing, the characters are amazing, your drawn to every page, constantly cheering them on and worrying about them at the same time. I found myself unable to put the book down, constantly wondering whats next?

    The book is about hope and the love between a father & son after the apocalypse, in a savaged land where no plants and animals exist, everything is covered in black ash and cannibals roam the streets, highways and cities. Everyday they struggle with starvation, the weather and the fear that they may never see tomorrow!

    Great book, highly recommend to everyone!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

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    Lacks description, raises too many questions with no answers

    I've heard such great reviews about this book and decided to give it a shot. I was thoroughly disappointed. The author leaves many unanswered questions that left me seriously annoyed and angry by the end. Oh, I'm sure it can be analyzed up and down and in and out until my brain falls out, but honestly - why did the world end? How do we know the child is some type of god? Where is the evidence? What is the father dying from? Not to mention the general prose of the book is short and clipped, lacking description (except for the constant reiteration of ash, dark, the word "okay", night, gray, etc). While I understand the author wanted to portray a world that was bleak and hopeless, the constant uses of words like "gray" and "ash" did nothing but irritate me. I read the original book without the movie tie-in and was just disappointed and disgusted with the ending. I learned nothing at all - was only given a brief glance of two nameless wanderers who are on some sort of mission to get to the west coast, only to find nothing. This book was probably one of the worst I've ever read.

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The style of writing and the subject matter of this book made it almost impossible to read.

    This depressing and boring account of a father and son wandering a wasteland is a waste of time itself. The style of writing and the subject matter combine to make reading this almost torture. What could have been written in about one chapter, drones on and on and leaves the reader's mind wandering to anything but the book. Don't bother wasting money or time on this.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    WABB

    What A Boring Book. Don't bother with this. Somebody, somewhere said it was good so all the sheeple joined in. Bleh! yeah, McCarthy has a 'writing style' - LAZY. Halfway thru you realize that whatever the man and boy need will just happen to appear. Read "Alas Babylon" instead, it's a much better book.

    4 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2010

    The Road: Condensed Script

    ---------------
    BOOOM.
    [End of world. All life is dead except for a boy, his papa, and the bad guys.]
    Papa?
    Yes Son?
    Are we going to die?
    No son.
    Are you lying to me papa?
    Maybe a little.
    Why is everything dead papa?
    Because it's the end of the world.
    Oh.
    Keep moving and let's not forget the buggy, but most importantly stay on the road.
    But papa, what about the bad people?
    If we see them, hide. Now let's leave the buggy right here and go look for food in those abandoned houses.
    [They approach a familiar house.]
    This is my house as a child.
    This is creepy papa.
    Well, let me get some blankets and food.
    I'm going outside.
    Alright, are you ready to go?
    WAIT! I see a boy. Let me go talk to him.
    What boy?
    That boy right there.
    I don't see a boy.
    He's standing right there papa.
    Son, I still don't see a boy.
    You don't see the boy with the dog papa?
    I see the dog, not a boy though.
    Oh. Well, I guess I must be seeing things. Let's go.
    [They see the bad people and hide.]
    I should have made your mother kill you when she wanted to. I don't want this life for you anymore.
    Oh. So now you decide?
    Sorry son.
    It's okay, let's keep walking.
    [A bit later.]
    PAPA. PAPA. A TRAIN!
    A train?
    Yes a train.
    A real train?
    Yes papa, a for real train.
    WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? LET ME SEE IT!
    That's what I came to get you for.
    Hold the gun. I'll go in. You know what to do.
    No, I don't want it.
    I SAID TAKE IT!
    Okay. Okay.
    It is safe now, you can enter.
    What are those papa?
    Paper plates.
    Oh. Why don't you put them in your pocket?
    Here boy. Play mister train man.
    Okay. Let me make the sounds too. CHEWW CHEWWW. CHUGA CHUGA. CHUGGA CHUGGA. CHEWW CHEWWW.
    [a long time passes and a lot of things happen. They awake in the middle of the night.]
    PAPA! It's the little boy.
    Who?
    The little boy. Do you think he's okay? I think he was lost before.
    I think he's alright.
    But papa, he's a little boy. Who's going to find him if he's lost?
    As long as it's not me, I don't care. Just go back to sleep
    [The boy awakes in the morning.]
    Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa. Papa.
    [The boy stays there for days and then is approached by the strange man.]
    My papa died.
    I'm sorry. But come with me because you don't know me. And put the pistol away. You are worrying me.
    Okay.
    Where's your stuff.
    I don't have much.
    That's stupid. But you should come with me or you WILL die.
    How do I know you're a good guy?
    You don't.
    Are you carrying the fire?
    The what?
    The fire.
    Your weird.
    Just a little.
    Yeah.
    That's okay.
    So are you?
    Yes.
    Are there any kids?
    Ugh. Yeah.
    Any little boys?
    AND A GIRL. How about that?
    Okay. Lets go.
    What about my papa?
    What about him?
    We can't leave him uncovered.
    Oh yes you can, and you will.
    Okay. Here have my gun.
    I don't want that.
    Okay. What about my papa.
    What now? There's nothing else to be done. HE'S DEAD.
    I want to say goodbye.
    Fine.
    Bye papa.

    THE END.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Road - Cormac McCarthy

    I listened to this book on audio tape and fell in love with the narrator's voice, Tom Stechschulte. The book was so good, that about 1/2 way through, I checked out the written version from the library so I could enjoy it whenever I was able. Well, after a few pages, I missed the narrator so much that I returned the book and continued with the audio version. I could just hear him saying "It's okay, it's o-kay."<BR/>The Road tells the story of a father and son in a post-apocalyptic world. The bond between them is evident from the beginning. The hope that the father is able to instill in the son in this seemingly hopeless and dire environment is amazing.<BR/>Though place names are not mentioned, they are following a map, and it seems they are going through the mountains to the ocean - so I pictured heading west to the Pacific. Along the way they are able to stay one step ahead of the 'bad guys' and with the boy's insistence, help others whenever they are able. People are few and far between, and food and supplies are even scarcer. <BR/>With every step traveled, every tin of food found or lost, every imagined and unimagined danger, I was kept on the edge of my seat. Travel with the boy and his Papa on their search for any good that is left in the world as the continue to carry The Light.<BR/>I just discovered that this book has been made into a movie to be released this year! This will be a must see for me!

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2009

    I think it may be the worst I've tried to read

    My husband bought it for me as a Christmas gift because of the good ratings, the Oprah recommendation, etc. I'm only about a third of the way through, and I don't even know if I can finish it. Maybe I just don't know much about "real" literature, but if this is the kind of writing that warrants a Pulitzer, those that do the choosing need to find a new line of work. I feel cheated!

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The Road-- A Standing Triumph

    A dreary, obsolete world, survived only by cannibal hordes and their hapless victimes, would at first glance be the antithesis to a tale of a tender, amorous relationship between father and son. But as the unnamed man and boy trek across the barren land, the sheer love that exists between the two becomes apparent. They are "each the other world's entire." In their hostile enviroment, they bond, strengthened by the trials of starvation, terror, and the bleak outlook of the future. The two exemplify what every parent and child could ever strive to be.<BR/><BR/>McCarthy's writing is both minimal and eloquent, terse and articulate. The world is described in fractured syntax, expressing the broken thoughts that must have crossed the characters' minds. But in the abrupt narration, simply poetic writing comes forth, making this book an absolute joy to digest.<BR/><BR/>McCarthy also possesses the mastery of suspense. Interactions with the unlawful bands of survivors present the terror felt by the characters is bared in raw terms to the reader. Paired with the desolate yet intriguing imagery of the post apocalyptic world, The Road grips and seldom lets go.<BR/><BR/>Extremely worthy of its Pulitzer, The Road encompasses hope and dread, simplicity and fluency. It is a standing triumph in 21st century literature.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    Worth Reading

    This book is WONDERFUL...I didnt put it down once I started reading it until there where no more pages to read!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2009

    Excellent Book.

    This book was amazing to me. I typically stay with writers like Patterson, King, and Connelly but I took a chance on this book. Of all of the books I have read this ranks in the top 5. It is gripping, emotional, and thrilling without being too far out there. This is a modern masterpiece.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2009

    An amazing book

    This book is just wonderful, with it's dark ominous feeling of suspense. It will keep you on the edge of your seat until you finish.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2008

    The Road

    Starting out, I had really high expectations for this book, and I wasn¿t disappointed. While the destination itself is meaningless, the events and small details along the way are very revealing. For example, none of the characters are given names, as names have no significance in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Initially, however, none of this was apparent to me. I was almost aggravated by the dull, desperate monotony prevalent on each page. But as the story progressed, it hit me that the dull, desperate monotony was exactly how the man and the boy felt everyday. I can¿t recommend this book enough, but only to some people. There are a lot of grueling, cringe-inducing scenes, and a lot of death. If these things don¿t bother you, you owe it to yourself to read The Road.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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