Customer Reviews for

The Road

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 31 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

42 out of 76 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.

    42 out of 76 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 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2008

    Papa I'm Scared. I Know.

    If I cared more about this book, I might go back and count how many times the boy and the man have this exchange: Papa I'm scared. I know. How many times? Two dozen? Three? A hundred? By the time I made it to the end, I wanted to kill myself, so I couldn't understand why they didn't just put themselves out of our collective misery. In between the LAME dialogue, McCarthy throws in a few $10 words just to prove he's a 'great' writer. Honestly, this nebulous nonsense gets the Pulitzer? It's like Mad Max, only less interesting.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    lost on the road

    I may have missed the gist of this story, but I found it dull and lifeless. The point could have been made in a short story. I felt dragged to the end of the story which was neither heartwarming or expressive.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pass it by - unless monotonous is your thing

    I was very interested in reading this because of the high praise some readers have been giving this book. However, I just don't see the appeal of main characters that don't have names, a revolving door plot of find food, starving, walking, finding more food, starving etc. These things happen too frequently and rather uninspired, because we know this is a post-apocalypse setting so survival is key at all costs, but the theme of the story drags along like a broken shopping cart. The father-son relationship feels too awkward from start to finish to invoke a sense of loss and caring. It feels too mechanical, almost forced, that these two have to interact with one another in the same world. Maybe that was the point, but then the end result is the reader too feeling disconnected with the characters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2010

    sad...

    i had to read this for a writing class and it was torture to read. Where is the climax of the book? Where is the turning point? Its just too bland...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

    A Depressing Waste of Good Reading Energy

    What a waste of time! While I did manage to glean two or three quotes or snippets of enlightenment from this book, it was far too painful to slog through. Life is too short to spend any time being this depressed!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2009

    Calling All Haters

    This book took excruciatingly long to start off and and actually have the characters on an actual journey. It is in fact a duller version of the Hero's journey in some ways. When you actually reach a part where something could happen all it is is dust in the wind. When you reach the ending of the book it is nothing but a disappointment when it doesn't make sense or go with any type of writing used before. I would suggest this to a person who is willing to let themselves fall deeper into depression for the two weeks they read it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Oddly Written

    I bought this on the Nook App for Android... and it just seems to be written in an odd fashion. I found myself rereading sentences to make make sure I read them correctly the first time. However the story is decent if you're a fan of apocalyptic situations

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    Boring

    Bo ring

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  • Posted June 5, 2013

    Long winded, but worth the trip

    This only took me a few days to read, but it was so long winded it felt like weeks. McCormac does an excellent job to visually put his readers in the book, however character development seemed a bit tacky. I felt like I never really got to 'know' the boy and the man. Their personalities were very dull and after a while way too predictable. I also still have no idea why the two of them were put in the predicament they were in. I know what McCormac was shooting for with the end of civilization, but my preference is to know what took everybody out. It left me feeling like I missed an entire chapter. The ending was dreadful. It felt like the author ran out of ideas and needed a page to end it. Overall, not worth reading again, but once is good food for thought. Oh, and the writing/presentation of the book? You get over it eventually, but I couldn't help but feel like I was reading a journal of some sort.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Yes, the critics rave about this book, but I think the emporer h

    Yes, the critics rave about this book, but I think the emporer has no clothes.  Exceedingly tedious.  i didn't count, but I think he used the word "gray" to describe conditions about 100 times.  Also, if you write a post-apocalyptic story, go through the trouble of thinking up and describing the circumstances that caused said apocalypse.  

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    The book The road was really bad. The style in which the author

    The book The road was really bad. The style in which the author used to
    explain things was extremely confusing and difficult to follow there are
    multiple instances in the book where it will go straight from dialogue
    to a memory. this could be considered good because it mimics the way
    humans function, but most people have a hard enough time understanding
    themselves yet alone trying to understand the mind set of a fictional
    character. The good side to this novel is that it accurately portrays a
    plausible post apocalyptic era that could happen to any one of us at any
    time. IF you are able to pull enough information out of the world's most
    confusing style of writing making a personal connection to the book is
    not difficult. The novel is also not one of those books you just cant
    put down. Its lack of any real heart racing or action scenes make the
    whole novel all around boring and an uninteresting read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    I agree with Mary_T. It's "fashionable" to like this

    I agree with Mary_T. It's "fashionable" to like this book. However, the plot is grim, dry, and dark for the sake of darkness. Nothing is a surprise, and the book closes with a dull note. Also, the format (non punctuation) of the book is kitschy and tiring.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    not really good

    After finishing The Passage I was in search of another awesome story (what was I thinking) The Road was one of my recommendations and I was very excited to jump right in. As I do feel very disappointed with the story it was not the worst book I have ever read however, it was most certainly not the best book I have ever read either!! I am not sure what I was expecting but the lack of excitement is what I received.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Kind of plagarized and done much better by the originals

    Basically a boring book with almost no dialogue this is about a man wandering around a post apocolyptic wasteland lookin for his kid. Rips off stephen kings "the stand" and robert mcammons "swan song" which in itself was a ripoff of kings book as well.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Boring...

    Too repetitive. Also, why would make the climax the end of your book? This book is definitely not in the same league as "No Country For Old Men".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    The Road ... to nowhere

    Very disappointing read. After having great expectations about the movie and then being completely disappointed with what I was presented with I had hoped that the book would be a far better offering, this was not to be.
    As in the movie it left me wanting more.
    Situations and confrontations would present to the father and son, tension would build, what will happen, then nothing.
    A great opportunity lost.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    Danielle

    I heard really good things about this book and was thoroughly confused by it. It was just another dark, post apocalypse, i am legend type book and rrally was nothing special.

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