The Road by Cormac McCarthy


In a post apocalyptic world of little light, no animals, and the only people you occasionally see may be as likely to kill you for food as to shake your hand…

the future… is not looking so bright.

The man (only referred to as The Man) and his middle grade age son, take to the road in look out for food, shelter, but all is temporary in this new world as staying in one spot too long is certain death and the times of warmth and food to eat are scarce. 

As the story moves on down the road the man, who is hardened by the weariness of the world tries to give his son hope when hope is nowhere to be found as they walk the boy grows in knowledge way beyond his years in ways many of as adults could not even comprehend. 


Why did I want to read this book?

The Road is one of those books that seems to be on my invisible “must read in my lifetime” list.  Actually… as I write this, I should really make that list.

The Road was a book I listened to on audio.  Tom Stechschulte (who also narrated Dennis LeHane’s Shutter Island) did a wonderful job of portraying a weary father trying to give his son a future when no future is to be found. 

The Road… I am not going to lie, is über depressing.  As the audio went on, even the good moments are short-lived and time and again the pair return to the road going onward…. towards… what?  They and you as the reader, have no idea.

So what makes The Road so popular?  Is it our thirst for the unknown even if it scares the poo out of us?  Initially released in 2006 was it a bit ahead of the great Apocalypse/Dystopian genre era we are currently in?  I don’t have the answers to these questions.  For me, The Road was good… but not outstanding.  I wonder why?  AM I desensitized by the current dystopian reads that are way more action packed?  Again, I don’t know.

The Road for me was interesting and sad and heartbreaking and frightening.  It made me look out the window and try to picture such a world where daily instead of blogging or going to work or hanging with friends at a coffee shop – the only thing to do is try to survive.  When we think about the growing earth population and the demand demand demand for more…. more media, more food, more rights, more control…. I have to wonder….

How far off is McCarthy’s world?  Is it a possibility?  Think of the last 50 to 100 years and how the world has changed.  Now go forward 50 to 100 years.  What do you see?

Overall – obviously The Road is a thinker and I am glad to be able to say I have read it.   I look forward to seeing the movie… perhaps tonight.

46 thoughts on “The Road by Cormac McCarthy

  1. I LOVED The Road. It’s classic dystopian at its best. I’ll admit I might have loved it so much because it was one of the first dystopian novels I read, but despite its gloom, I loved it. The film is pretty good, though it’s always hard to translate Cormac McCarthy onto the screen. It’s one of those movies you appreciate a lot more when you’ve read the book, so you’ll probably enjoy it. 😀

  2. I would have to wait until I’m feeling very relaxed and cheerful, as depressing tales can only be devoured in small doses and only when I’m in the right frame of mind.

    I may not ever get to it….but that’s okay, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. We read this for book club and I think just about everyone hated it! We all felt it was long, boring, the writing style was very hard to get used to, depressing, nothing actually happened, etc. I’m glad to hear you liked it but I understand why you didn’t love it. I suppose I’m glad to have read it since it’s one of those books you hear about often. But I never recommend it to anyone.

  4. It definitely sounds intense, and I’m not sure it’s something I could stomach in my current mood! Though interested in post-apocalyptic and dystopian reads, I can only handle a few at a time (and every now and then). Anything more threatens to seriously depress me. I’ve heard so much about The Road, though — I feel compelled to pick it up at some point!

  5. I’m glad you can say you read it, Sheila 😉 I’m not drawn to post-apocalyptic novels (or movies) so I’m pretty sure I won’t be reading it.

  6. Please let me know how close the boy’s portrayal in the book is to the movie boy. I love dystopian/post apocalyptic, but i’ve been leary of this because I saw the movie first and the boy annoys the bejeebees out of me.

  7. I read the Road so long ago…even before I knew what “post-apocalyptic” was a part of my vocabulary…but it stuck with me. It’s definitely on my favorite books of all times list. The movie? Yeah, I’m too much of a wimp to watch it. Let me know what you think!

  8. I’ve heard good things about this book, but I also have heard from many that it is depressing and I just haven’t been in the mood for that. I think I may try one of his other books at some point, but we’ll see.

  9. I loved The Road. It was my introduction to Cormac McCarthy and it took me awhile to sync into his style, once I did though he grew on me. I think its a heart breaking beautiful portrayal of love/bonds/family in a world that no longer has it. I’m interested to hear if you enjoyed the movie- I haven’t seen it yet.

  10. I read The Road in 2007. I like your review a lot, you are spot on that it makes you think about what 50, 100+ years from now might look like. Anyway, I loved the book (but I’m weird like that). The movie, for me, was close but no cigar. Sometimes the ol’ “Hollywood Touch” isn’t so golden.

  11. I’ve brought The Road home a couple of times from the library and just didn’t want to read it. Maybe I should try the audiobook. I keep hearing what a wonderful writer Cormac McCarthy is, but maybe I’d like one of his other books better.

  12. So bleak and dark. Hard to read really, but I’m glad I did. I was taken by McCarthy’s lack of and use of color to make a point. Don’t want to say too much and spoil it for anyone.

  13. I read this preblogging days, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express how much I loved it. The writing style was so stark and simple, which allowed the story to speak for itself. It would not have had the same impact if it had been overly worked, same with the action. This story, above all else, is a love story between a father and a son. It’s about a father who is willing to do anything to make sure his son has a future in a world where none seems to be available. It’s not about the dystopian nature, that is a backdrop used to tell of the love between a father and a son. Everything outside of that element is window dresing used to frame those two characters.

  14. I think one of the reasons I’ve always been reluctant to read The Road is because it seems more realistic and possible than the current phase of dystopian literature. It’s a little closer to home than those big bad government type books. I dunno, maybe I’ll pick it up some day, lol.

  15. I really liked this Audio too. Yes it is depressing and scary and it makes you think. But I love the little bits of hope and the continued effort to survive. I’m glad you liked it.

  16. Ah…so I;m not the only one who found this just too depressing! As I mentioned on your Monday post, I saw the movie and haven;t read the book…my my husband and I both found the story just too dark and depressing. I like my post-apocalyptic stories with at least a glimmer of hope!!

    I, too, have a list in my head of books I really need to read – I should write mine down too! I am looking for a reading challenge along those lines – let me know if you know of one,


    Book By Book

  17. The Road was also on my “must read” list. I admit that I was underwhelmed, and I can’t even say it’s because of the number of dystopias/postapocalyptic novels I’ve read. That ending made me feel like I was taken for a ride, like McCarthy couldn’t follow up to what he established in the novel before. But yes, it definitely made me think a lot. I see you also reviewed Ashes by Ilsa J Bick, I’m going to check out your review, but I thought these two had a lot in common.

    Have a great weekend!

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