Paula Nevins
Paula Nevins asked:

Would you say this book is appropriate for a 15 year old boy? He needs something for an English essay that he can read independently and compare to its movie version. Thoughts or recommendations on something better would be appreciated.

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Rylee Well I'm 13 and I didn't kill myself after reading it so yeah
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Daniel It's perfect for a fifteen-year-old boy. The post-apocalyptical topic will appeal to him. It's also one of McCarthy's more accessible books with fairly straight-forward language. And, while it's bleak and relentlessly gruesome as most McCarthy novels are, it's also one of the most beautiful portrayals of the love between father and son that I have read. So, he'll stay for the action, and be inspired by the underlying message :)

"No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. So, he whispered to the sleeping boy. I have you." (I just teared up...)
Eric Stone Difficult question. I would say the greatest underlying current of the story is about the fears of parents in caring for their children. A 15-year old child likely won't experience the story that way.

That said, it depends on the child. If they are emotionally sound and mature for their age, then the book is not so graphic that they couldn't or shouldn't read it...but if they have any form of anxiety or insecurity or emotional distress, are not so grown up or in touch with the realities of life not necessarily being a happy magical place (a lot of the time), I would not recommend it.
Sarah This book isnt' appropriate for anyone. Its' godawful, repetitious and uninspiring. It's awful. Really. Don't get this as a present for anyone. It was the worst book I have ever read in my life
Ritu It is NOT a depressing book. It is a book about the undying human spirit, faith in magic and the human power to manifest the magic. I loved it. I've read parts of it to my 8 and 10 year old. There's rampant violence in the world, and our politicians' divisive and emotionally violent rhetoric is pervasive- why coddle the kids in an already protected and cushioned society. A good book to evoke the hero in us, all our journeys pass through depressive dark phases, how to win over it and ride is what I'd like to teach my boys.
Keybo Taheri If you want to give the kid teenage depression then go for it. Probably will put him off reading for life.
Luka Mullen Yes. I just read it and I am 17. A 15 year old can handle it. Jay's answer is really exaggerated.
Irina Yes, it is appropriate. There is no foul language or sexual content or anything like that. However there is disturbing human behavior of the cruelty type when it comes to survival that might need some addressing especially if the young adult is sensitive and easily impressionable. There is also a deep love connection that stresses upon what a parent will do to ensure the survival of a child even if includes the killing of another human being. There is respect towards the feelings and kindness from a parent toward his child even when if said child's desire may put both in danger. The story is very profound while the language remains a times very simple and sometime repetive like in a verse. I personally loved even when it broke my heart.
Barbara Smith My oldest grandson read this in high school. It was recommended by his English teacher. He and his friend loved it. I loved it. The relationship between father and son was so powerful and the goodness of the boy was the hope of the future.
Judy Lindow Sure, a 15 year old could read this for "the first time" at 15. There are far more gruesome images in social media and in the news. However, reading the points Jay brought back to mind - I would agree with him and suggest other great books. I'd say college or maybe Jr., Sr. high school at the earliest. I don't have kids but I was a teacher, so I'd have a hard time 'forbidding a book'. When they reread it when they're older they will have a better understanding and appreciation of the vocabulary, the lyricism, the analogies, the prescience, imagery, and the irony that much of this is already a current reality. As a 15 year old they will probably be caught up in the survival aspects and quick rough images, like the head under the bell jar in the cafe.
Barbara LeMere I would say he could read it but I would think having a discussion about it afterward to see how he felt about it would be interesting to make sure that he understood what the book is really about.
Rita I know it's way overdue but I'm going to answer this anyway and say it really depends on the personality of the 15 year old boy. Instead of The Road I would suggest Blade Runner for great insightful sci-fi or The Virgin Suicides to understand teenage girls a bit better =)
Joey B. I Am Legend would be more appropriate.
David Bennett It's probably too late, but please, please don't force this kind of depression fest on a teenager. There are already plenty of other depressing books out there on suggested reading lists for teenagers. If you want something where you can contrast the movie to the book. The Postman is a much better bet. The books is much better than the movie and both do a better job of showing something more like a feasible post-apocalyptic scenario.
Leila Bathke I read it when I was 12 and I understood it well, though it was slightly graphic and morbid in one scene which I thought was too much. But it would be perfect for a 15 year old boy.
Mandy I read this book when I was 11 and I was able to enjoy it while not falling into a depressive state afterwards. So I suppose its suitable for a 15 year old boy.
Langston Yes, it's perfectly fine for a 15 year old. There are a few scenes of graphic violence, but as with other McCarthy books there's literally no other mature content. The scenes of violence are very disturbing, and include the following: cellar full of naked people (not too detailed) that are being saved to be eaten later, infant that is eaten (extremely disturbing), man shot in the head with a pistol at close range, man hit with an arrow, guy shot with a flare gun, decapitated heads found lying around randomly, people that have melted into the road are graphically described, man teaches his son how to commit suicide if the need shall ever arise, etc. This is irrelevant because your son is now 21.
Josh Roth I'm 18 and i had to read this book in my Contemporary Lit class my senior year. This book has many struggles and in depth details the movie doesn't cover.
Luis Alberto Yes, is a perfect book for a boy.
Lisa Dickinson My daughter is reading this book as assigned reading for high school. So I'm going to assume that it would be okay for a 15 year old. I'm trusting my school district here!
Susheel Is "I'm not her" book appropriate for 11 year olds?
Bob Bretz You might have him watch the movie first, and see how he responds to it. The movie is very true to the book, but leaves out a little bit of the gore and violence.
Emma Sloan A pet peeve of mine is when people say a kid's age but not what their general reading level is.

My answer to the question is that it would be perfectly fine for a 15-year-old boy to read, but someone in high school won't get everything out of the book that it has to offer. McCarthy's symbolism, detail and imagery are extremely sophisticated.

My suggestion? The Shining. Stephen King HATED Kubrick's interpretation, and in my opinion neither is actually telling the same story, but both are masterpieces in their own right, so he'd have a lot to work with. If I had to do that project, that's what I'd choose!

Oooh, or Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now!
Boy Blue Depends on the kid but I'd say don't choose this. Go with Philip Pullman's The Northern Lights (Golden Compass in the US). The book is great and the movie is quite different and controversially there were no movie sequels largely because of church protestation and a little bit of the movie being a flop etc. Themes are more varied and complex than the road.
Megan Polozzo I am a fifteen year old high school sophomore, and my honors English class read The Road as a unit, it was one of the first things we did this year. I enjoyed it for the most part. When I told my mom about what we were reading she demanded that she also read it and was completely disgusted by some of the scenes. I believe its about perspective. I was only about halfway through the book when my mom read it, so I had to finish it for school. Would I have picked it up off the shelf on my own? Probably not. But, reading it the way I did with discussion in class, I did like the book.
B Quast While I completely loved this book and the experience it gave me, I am not sure I would recommend it for a 15 year old. The beauty of the book for me personally was the viewpoint of the father. It would be an incredibly empathetic 15 year old who would be able to feel the magic of the book from that viewpoint.

I read that McCarthy wrote the book as a sort of "love letter" to his young son, even fashioning some of the book's conversations from his own interactions with his son at a similar age. McCarthy was surprised how many fathers had the same reaction to his book. They read the book in a sitting, then held their children and cried, and then for the first time in their lives, wrote to an author. However, I'm not sure how powerful the book would be for a 15 year old who might experience the journey only from the son's point of view, and that would be a shame if he never got to experience the book from the other side.

I am very curious whether there are any people who have read the book as a child and then read the book again as a parent. Is the powerful emotional effect muted on a second reading later in life from the other perspective? I don't know if it is enough of a masterpiece that it would be equally rewarding.
Sam It depends on the readers and what his interests are. I work with young adults and one of my most hated questions from parents/caregivers is 'What's a good book for a ** year old?'. Gah. That being said from a literary perspective and for the particular task you mentioned, yes The road, would be a good selection. It would provide a great amount of discussion points to be examined in an essay.
Personally I thought the writing was excellent and the reader can see the literary techniques McCarthy has used well. Also the depravity of human nature was well captured (also a good essay topic). Though I had issues with some of the practical actions of the characters eg leaving a lamp burning when oil is a valuable commodity, but those type of plot points always bug me.
Jim I think it would have been too much me at 15.
That is not to say I would have not gotten anything out of it, but a lot of it would have been beyond me at that time.

Though that is probably fair to say about most thing one reads in high school.
Patrick Ngo The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, is a famous, award winning book that is loved by many of its readers. Although there are still many people who do not favor the book. I on the other hand urge others to read it. This book contains many attributes that appeal to many readers’ interests.

This book contains a story of a father and his son who travel down a road through a post-apocalyptic America. Their chances of survival are slim. The world is full of many dangers. Every day of survival is a questionable accomplishment, and the more you read, the more rattled you will be. As you continue through the book, you begin to question if they will continue to survive or be extinguished. This book also reveals the son’s survival without his father. The devastation of the separation of the might duo impacted the momentum of the book. However, the son surprisingly continues to survive and tries to accomplish what his father could not witness. Find the pure souls left in the treacherous world. The storyline, however, is not the only remarkable attribute contribution that appeals the readers’ interests.

Cormac McCarthy also filled this book with many literary qualities to keep this book interesting from start to finish. He uses a variety of sentence types to control the tone of the story and to keep readers hooked on and want to read more. McCarthy also fills this book with many emotions and events that leaves readers stunned and full of mixed emotions. His writing techniques will leave you so amazed that you will want to spread the greatness of this book to everyone you know.

This book has many qualities that leave its readers stunned and satisfied. Its many satisfied readers urge others to read this book and I am one of the satisfied readers. I recommend this book to you. So put down all other books. Delete every single suggestions you have. Because this book must be read by you. And I guarantee that you will enjoy it as much as I did.
Denis Nothing better for a 15 year old boy to read.
Russell A. Yes. Most kids of that age are mature enough to understand the significance of a life altering event could have upon this world.
Paul Ten Post apocalyptic novel with scenes and situations typical to the novels of this genre, including scenes of canibalism. I would say it depends on the level of emotional maturity of a 15-year old.
Sam B I read this book (for an assignment) when I was 17 years old and I absolutely loved it. As of today it's sill one of my favorite books.
So yes I'd say it's an appropriate read and I would recommend this book.
I haven't seen the movie though.
Hope it helps :)
Ela The language and style are very simplistic and easy to follow whilst the novel contains some disturbing themes. However I believe the shock value would well to keep a 15 year old interested and the text seems interesting to analyse.
Nancy Avila Hi Paula .. hope all is well with you. Although there is no language in this book it is indeed has a very deep storyline. It is about survival that of which I hope we never have to experience. The main characters are a father and son and the profound struggles of what a parent would do to save his son. This book is also a major motion picture.
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