The Road

The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

Have you ever gone on a date with HUGE expectations where, before you have even met the person, you've created all of these major/ romantic life fantasies about your future together? The person never meets your expectations, for one reason or another. He or she, quite bluntly, just missed the mark of what you are looking/ hoping for. You might even try to perpetuate the fantasy even after the initial disappointment because you wanted it to work out so badly- telling yourself that you simply imagined flaws that weren't actually there and if you just gave that person one more chance... you would grow to love them and have everything you ever wanted. And so you hang on to hope when what you should do is move on and keep looking. This is The Road.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted it to be an instant favorite, a book I would recommend to friends and read over and over again until the binding fell apart. But try as I might to see future between us, the truth is that I simply cannot love this book. I can't. I just can't do it.

One of the most frustrating aspects of The Road is the narrative style. Believe me, love experimental fiction and poetic style in literature. However, I draw the line at writing like this: He looked at the man and said hello. The man smiled. He said nothing. He looked at him. He began to move but the look on his face told him not to. HUH??? Who is who? Generally, no names is fine in theory but doesn't always work in practice.

The other issue is the "LOST" factor. By "LOST" I, of course, am referring to the classic literary theory comparison, the television show. The Road creates a world I am truly fascinated by- I want to know what is going on (at least to a slight degree) but I am constantly left in the dark with absolutely no resolution. Maybe some people enjoy having absolutely no explanation for MAJOR aspects of the plot, or love leaving with more questions than they began with- but I guess I am not one of them.

I'm sure some people will read this and gather that I just don't "get it"... I "get it" completely. But that doesn't make it any less frustrating or annoying. Besides, just because you love something and I don't doesn't make either of us more stupid or more dense than the other. We just have a difference of opinion- thus part of the beauty of literature- the complete subjectivity. Strike that. You're stupid.

Some McCarthy freaks will shout from the roof tops that I just failed to grasp something- thus not seeing the utter perfection of The Road. It is as simple as this: beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, definitively, this book and I are simply not meant to be, despite my romantic fantasies. This book has been hyped up beyond what it can deliver (and has gotten WAY more credit and formal recognition than it probably deserves).

Despite that, our brief romance was not a total bust. It's a unique take on an apocalyptic scenario and is definitely emotionally and intellectually compelling. It put me into a slight dooms day fix and I found myself craving apocalyptic movies and literature. But I have to ask myself if this desperate need to be satiated is a result of effective storytelling leaving me wanting more more more or, and most likely, is a sign of an unsatisfying experience.

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