Book Review: The Road | Teen Ink

Book Review: The Road

May 12, 2023
By rkloth505 GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
rkloth505 GOLD, Hartland, Wisconsin
15 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The Road by Cormac McCarthy caught my eye because of the dark, desolate feeling of the book; My favorite kinds of books to read are the more tragic/gritty books. I also really love dystopian novels and shows because they always take place in settings of areas in which living becomes so difficult for the characters, and they are all normally so unique from each other. 

The Road follows a Man and his young son who need to keep traveling South in order to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. They follow the roads and continue on their journey all the while scavenging for food and supplies on their way. The father and son duo encountered many obstacles along their way, whether it be the cannibalistic survivors to the harsh conditions of the weather that kept changing. Along their way, they find many areas of interest that hold really important items for their survival, such as the abandoned boat or the farmhouse. 

As they continue on the road, the many survivors that they meet and the experiences that they endured tend to build their characters and strengthen their qualities. At the beginning of the novel, the man is described as having respiratory issues which make the continuation of the journey ahead of them very difficult, and the son starts off very cowardly and he relied a lot on his father to show him the ways of survival in this world. Towards the end of the novel, the father becomes strong and prepared for trouble in order to protect his son from whatever could be out there, whereas the son becomes more sympathetic to the horrors of what he saw along their journey. 

Some of the things that I noticed right away with this novel is the very unique writing style. McCarthy uses all kinds of exotic vocabulary but does it very effectively, with great words  such as rubberized, sumptuous, granitic, etc. Sometimes the descriptions would paint a beautiful scene in your head, “Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow,” (McCarthy 286). 

The setting of this novel is also really interesting to me. Any post-apocalyptic/dystopian settings, to me, are super interesting and this one is different from most others that I’ve seen. The barren wasteland which almost nobody populates creates issues for the characters other than just people that they have to worry about. Food and shelter are the big issues for them.

There wasn’t a whole lot about this novel that I didn’t enjoy because I ended up actually liking it a lot, but the few things I didn’t enjoy were all structuring from the author. For example, not a single time is the name of the boy or the father revealed. This makes it hard to understand a lot of parts because the father is referred to as the father, and the son is referred to as the son. There are also a lot of mix-ups with which person the perspective is centering because the pronouns used for the father and son are both he or him.

Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read dystopian or even just darker-toned novels. There are so many unique things about this book that don’t pertain to other dystopian novels that it is a must-read.

The author's comments:

This book was thrilling and an overall adventure, I highly recommend it.

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