book report # 4: off the road
The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
One of those books that you finish reading and think, I KNEW I SHOULDN’T HAVE READ THIS.
Of course, the fact that I read the last third of it by booklight in the middle of a 12-hour blackout from a never-ending thunderstorm probably contributed to the aura of despair.
I remember the glowing reviews in the paper when this book came out. A father and son’s journey to safety through an Armegeddonic landscape. (That’s right. Armegeddonic. If Cormac can do without apostrophes, I can add a few letters to a word.)
282 pages of horror, indescribable fear, starvation, cannibalism, rape, desolation and death, death, death.
5 pages of semi-hope.
Mostly apostrophe free.
Here’s the thing. The longer the book dragged on…the more grey ash, cracklin’ dead trees and sludgy creek water there was…
THE MORE I HATED THOSE DAMN CONTRACTIONS WITHOUT THE APOSTROPHES!!!
I hated this book. I hated the fact that everyone on the road wanted to rape and eat the little boy. I hated the stupid father dragging him through all that suffering. I hated that the world was dead, with no explanation. I hated that they were always dirty, cold, hungry and afraid. A whole book’s worth.
Did I mention the cannibals?
But I fixated on the apostropheless contractions. What kind of person thinks he can just discard apostrophes willy-nilly? Who died and made him the King of Punctuation? Why, he has no respect for the laws of nature nor the laws of man!
Then I realized: the whole book has no respect for the human psyche.
People want to spend several evenings of their life on a book that gives them something to cheer for, or something to think about, or even something to disagree with.
The Road gives you nothing. 287 pages of People Ain’t No Damn Good.
I can read the newspaper for that.