Monday, May 21, 2012

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

My student Emily who is going to West Virginia in the Fall.
Today is her last day of high school!

If a high school English teacher gets the opportunity to teach just a few students who really love literature in her career, than I would say she is a lucky person. This year, I felt like one of the luckiest teachers in the entire world, because my student, Emily, really loves to read and loves to share what she reads with the teacher, me.

Emily is the student whom I saw reading The Hunger Games, and I knew that if Emily was reading it, then I must give it a try, and you know how I feel about The Hunger Games; I absolutely loved it. I trust Emily's recommendations.

One of the assignments this year was for the seniors to do a thirty minute presentation on a novel, and I wanted them to own the novel just like I own Their Eyes Were Watching God, Sula, Song of Solomon, Lord of the Flies, books that I teach often and really, really know. Emily chose to read and do her presentation on The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Her presentation was so impressive, and it made me really want to read The Road. The next day, Emily gave me her copy of The Road to borrow. (Boy, was I excited.)

The Road is a futuristic book about a father and his son living in a world where no one will be able to survive long term, because the earth has experienced some type of catastrophe and all vegetation and all almost all animals, including humans, have been completely destroyed.

This book made me think about the theme of "Humans desire to survive is very strong." Even though it is inevitable that there will no longer be life on the planet, because there will soon no longer be a food source once all of the people die, yes, people are eating other people in this novel.  The few people who are left are still trying to live as long as possible. I wonder if this implies that people love life or people are afraid of dying!

I really loved this book, because even though it is written with no chapters and in fairly simple language, it is still a page turner because McCarthy does a great job of creating suspense by helping the reader to identify with the characters and want to see people, whom we feel that we know, survive.

However, you do not have take my word that this is an excellent, here is what the critics have to say:

"His tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful. It might very well be the best book of the year, period." —San Francisco Chronicle

"Vivid, eloquent . . . The Road is the most readable of [McCarthy's] works, and consistently brilliant in its imagining of the posthumous condition of nature and civilization." —The New York Times Book Review

"One of McCarthy's best novels, probably his most moving and perhaps his most personal." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

"No American writer since Faulkner has wandered so willingly into the swamp waters of deviltry and redemption. . . . [McCarthy] has written this last waltz with enough elegant reserve to capture what matters most." —The Boston Globe

"There is an urgency to each page, and a raw emotional pull . . . making [The Road] easily one of the most harrowing books you'll ever encounter. . . . Once opened, [it is] nearly impossible to put down; it is as if you must keep reading in order for the characters to stay alive. . . . The Road is a deeply imagined work and harrowing no matter what your politics." —Bookforum

If you are really busy and do not have a lot of time right now to devote to reading, but you want to read something that is a quick, page turner, then read The Road!

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