Friday, April 29, 2011

The Road Not Watched

Wow.  I finished reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road a couple of nights ago.  The novel was awarded the Pulitzer prize, and was extremely well written and readable.  It was also an undoubtedly haunting read, perhaps made even more so to me by the fact that I am the father of a boy who is not too much younger than the boy in the book.  One of the 'good guys'.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, it follows the journey of a father and his young son through a post apocalyptic landscape as they travel towards the coast in desperate hopes of finding some sort of salvation there.  It is winter, they are under clothed, under sheltered, and have to scavenge mightily for the precious little they find to eat.

The lack of available food throughout this dark landscape leads to bodily dangers beyond simple starvation, and adds notable suspense to the storyline.

But it's the choices which had to be made by the father and his young son which will stick with me for a long, long time to come.  Especially the Father's final choice as the story came to a close.  It was a gut-wrenching ending and one which has left me speculating on how exactly I would handle such a situation myself.

Thankfully, I will never have to.

Throughout it all, it was the boy who stood out as the brightest spot in an otherwise dark tale.  That really resonated with me because during my journey through fatherhood, Lukas has always been such a bright spot in each and every day.

Mrs. LIAYF preceded me in reading the book, and before I had carved out time read it too, I put the movie in our Netflix Queue.  The movie has sat on top of our television for a few weeks now.  She has maintained that, although she felt the book was a good read, she had no desire to watch the movie.  I haven't yet sent the movie back, because I didn't really understand.

I do now. 

I'll be putting the disc back into it's envelope tonight and mailing it back to Netflix.  Although I'm sure it's a great film adaptation of the novel, I really don't need to watch it too.  The book was enough.

What about you readers?  Have you read the book, and what did you think?  Did you also watch the movie, and which came first?  And finally, what type of event do you think caused the destruction?


B said...

This is a great book review, very thorough and well thought out.

I will definitely be adding this to my Nook tonight and be reading it asap.

Just from your review I would say the movie might be hard to watch, especially if you are a parent of a young boy. I am the mother of 3 young boys and it has definitely changed the way I look at the world and the emotional attahcment that I feel towards books, movies etc...that feature children in vulnerable situations.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I read the book and thought it was VERY good. It is very rare that I find a book that I can't put down and this was one of them. We started watching the movie and within 5 minutes turned it off.

Portland Dad said...

Hugely moving book that effected me deeply. I loved this book and call it one of if not the most powerful books I have read but recommend it to no one. Enjoyed your review and was with you on watching the movie. In a moment of boredom I watched the movie and it was a mistake. It wasn't bad it was just all the bleakness without the emotional payoff that the book had. I think you are wise to pass. Why put your self through that again!

Adam said...

I have not read the book, only seen the movie. As I said on twitter, it was the most depressing movie I've ever watched. More so than Schindler's List, or even Biodome. Even reading this review brings up some of the terror-filled emotions I felt watching the movie. While I'm sure the book was a very well written one, I won't be reading it. Getting through that tale once (even by film) was enough for me.

Maria said...

I saw the movie. It was tough for me to watch and my husband, who I joke has clogged tear ducts, struggled throughout the movie. It was a movie that was well done but because it is so heart wrenching, it is hard to say it is "good". I must admit that I was unaware it was a book but after seeing the movie, probably for the same reason as you, I don't think I'll be reading the book.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@B - The book was hard enough to read, I can't imagine watching the movie too. One or the other. Not too many people saying they watched both.

@Rookie - Thanks for stopping by. I think that is what would happen with me too if I tried to watch.

@PortlandDad - Without the emotional payoff of the book? Sounds like I am making the right call.

@Adam - Yeah, depressing can only be consumed in small increments here. Thanks for stopping by.

@Maria - Yeah, it seems to be one or the other but a consistent opinion that one is enough. Thanks for stopping by.

triles said...

The Road is one of my all-time favorite books. I've written about it myself. It's certainly bleak, but there is also beauty under the surface. McCarthy is a master.

I did watch the movie. It's not nearly as powerful as the book, but Viggo Mortensen's performance was quite moving.

The Other Amy M. said...

Found you through Poop & Boogies.

This book captured me from word one, and being a mom who now only reads 2-3 books per year, that's saying something. I agree, I can hardly recommend it to people, it's too emotional, and being a parent, found it heart-wrenching. Beautiful writing, awe-inspiring really. Would never ever ever see the movie - I love Viggo Mortensen's acting & I bet it's dead-on, which would be just too much.

You write a good blog. I love your latest about your son (the compassionate sharer), that is awesome and sooooo sweet, you must be proud.