Customer Reviews for

The Road

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

33 out of 39 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

47 out of 87 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 July 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    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.

    6 out of 16 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.

    5 out of 13 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.

    5 out of 13 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 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Don't waste your time

    I tried to be open minded about this book because I heard such great things about it, but it was just plain terrible. The characters have no depth and the story goes nowhere. You are no futher in the story at 200 pages then you are at the very beginning. When I got to the end of the book, all I could think was "that's it?!". I didn't learn or gain anything by reading this book.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    What Can This Idiot Be Blabbering About

    Reid, May 3rd, 2009

    The Road, or the sorriest book you will ever read, was written by Cormac McCarthy. It is a depressing story, set in the future, about a father and son. It tells of them as they make their way through the barren wasteland of the earth. They are located on the eastern side of the United States, perhaps Virginia. The father and son are currently trying to migrate south to head off winter and move towards a warmer climate. The sky is full of ash, letting the bare minimum of light in. The whole country is laid to waste, desecrated and without electricity. In its place stands a country of pure evil and sickness. As food runs out, people become more and more desperate. They revert to killing others for their meager supplies. Some even revert to cannibalism, eating other humans when the lack of food comes upon them. Cormac McCarthy wrote an unanimated, life-sucking story that has no purpose but to set the reader in a foul mood. The only thing I acquired from this story was a heavy fog that seemed to entangle itself in my mind.
    Cormac McCarthy's writing style absolutely stank. He greatly needs to work on it some more. McCarthy would also be wise to accept grammar lessons from a fifth grade teacher. First, I do not like his style of writing because McCarthy holds too much stuff back. For example, he does not give the man and boy names. This is very aggravating when one of them begins a conversation. You have no idea who is talking. This makes it seem as if McCarthy does not want us to find out who the man and boy really are. Second, McCarthy leaves us hanging with the world and how it has become as it is. He keeps us in the shadows and purposefully adds to the insurmountable confusion that has already built up. Since this is the first book I have read by Cormac McCarthy, I have almost become prejudiced against his other books currently out in print. If his other books are like The Road, I do not want to read them. Now, for his atrocious sense of grammar, what little he uses is terrible and usually misplaced. Words such as can't, won't, and doesn't are subjected to error. McCarthy rarely, if ever, adds an apostrophe where it is needed. Finally, McCarthy gives the father and son no hope. Sure he may give them supplies for a little while. But then what happens? They manage to run out or get their supplies stolen shortly after they obtain the needed items. This story makes you want to scream and throw the book against a wall because of the outcomes.
    Another offset that greatly annoys me is the type of story that The Road is, or is not. McCarthy does not determine what type of story it is. Is it a Romantic story, Realistic perhaps, or is it a Modernistic novel? Or better yet, could it be an attempt at a suspense thriller. McCarthy peels off a few characteristics from each and jumbles them all together, which instead of creating something wonderful, he creates an unidentifiable mess. Sure we want suspense throughout a book. That is if the book is a suspense novel. Suspense adds up to the excitement that we get when we finish a book. Who will not like a book where it is all revealed in the end. Not very many people that I can think of. And that is exactly what is wrong with Cormac McCarthy's The Road. He has suspense, bubut he never reveals the "big secrets" at the end of the book. He leaves too many unanswered questions. A few such questions might be what are the man and boy's nam

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    Anonymous

    Really want this book but not 11.99 no way!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2011

    Would never read again.

    This book was not for me. I was saddened by the trials the characters went through and disgusted with the cannablism parts. I got nightmares from this book. I couldn't stop thinking about the end of the world. These characters had nothing to eat, no way to keep warm, a distrust of others, a fear of being eaten and really nothing to live for. I don't think it ended that great either. I'd want to shoot myself rather than live like that.Very depressing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of the worst books ..ever.

    When I heard the movie "The Road" was based on this I read the book before seeing the movie..huge mistake! After reading it I was curious as to why they would make a movie about this book..this book is only good for a door stop. So then I went to to see the movie....worse mistake...watching paint dry, grass grow or rust develop is a better use of time than reading this book or watching the movie.....

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2010

    BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Horribly boaring. I was forcing myself to keep reading expecting something to happen. The story keeps repeating itself page after page.
    I didn't like not knowing why the characters were in the situation they were. I would not recommend this to ANYONE!
    I'm thinking about tossing this in with the rest of the rummage sale items. Not happy!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Depressing

    The writing style is engaging. However, it goes downhill from there.
    Although this is a study of human character in an extreme crises, there is no plot. The characters are not truly developed. Although this may be an interesting book to discuss for a book club, I believe the appeal ends their. The story gives no sense of hope.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2009

    Oh my God! What?!?!?

    Oh my God! The Pulitzer Prize?!?!<BR/><BR/>Bar none, this is the WORST book I have ever read, and I read a lot! The main characters don't even have names! He doesn't even write in complete sentences. No kidding, my seven year-old could have written this.<BR/><BR/>This is the first time I have ever provided feedback on a book, but when I saw this on the top 10 list, I could not help myself.<BR/><BR/>DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME ON THIS BOOK UNLESS YOU ARE TERMINALLY DEPRESSED AND NEED SOMETHING TO PUSH YOU OVER THE EDGE.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2009

    utterly depressing. . . .

    First of all, this is not a "feel-good" book. Not to give away the plot (or lack thereof), there are more questions for this book than there are answers. The work is not original, by no means, and awe-inspiring. Take note that it was selected by Oprah Winfrey as part of her bookclub. Keep in mind that Oprah complained of being "depressed" last year. No wonder this book was selected by her and gives us insights on her current "state of mind."

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2014

    No

    Teachers stink at picking summer reading books.....

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2013

    You're kidding me...

    Stupid how simple and generic it is, yet people fail to see this does not make a new level of literature...greatly dissappointed...I mean how hard is it to find another book like this?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    Glad I'm not the only one...

    I found this book terrible! I dont even think I made it to second chapter. I felt zero connection to the characters and story...don't waste your time. This is in no way literature or prize winning. Leave it for the critics and birds.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    Lame Journey

    The Road is the story of a pointless, depressing journey written in a distracting rule-challenging grammar. Without a doubt, this is one of the most unsatisfying books I've ever read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    ALL HYPE AND PUBLICITY

    I read a paperback of this a few years back. It is a real yawner. I wouldnt have put my name on it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    Okay?

    Okay? Okay. Okay? Okay.

    I have just given you a synopsis of the entire dialogue of this book. This is NOT an okay read. Very disappointed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    Do NOT read this crap!

    This book was very UN interesting! Nuff said!

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