The Road The Road discussion


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Will this book put me in a mental hospital?

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message 1: by Jane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane OK, so if I'm already feeling anxious and distressed about the state of the world, will reading The Road push me over the edge? I have Dickens' Bleak House waiting for me as well; should I just move straight on to it and leave The Road til I'm in a better frame of mind?


message 2: by Pamela (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:32AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pamela Leave it until you're in a better place. It's pretty scary at times and always bleak in spite of the beautiful prose. The father-son dynamic can only console you so much.


message 3: by Rick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rick Muir I would heed Pamelas advice. I finished it and immediately began to read it again. I was captivated by the sparse, descriptive language. The Road is something to read slowly and mull over with friends. It could tend to make an already depressive state fall deeper and increase a sense of isolation - even though it is beautifully written. My wife had to take it away from me because I was "getting too weird".


message 4: by Jane (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane thanks guys, but it's too late! I couldn't resist it. It's awful. I mean, you know, it's brilliant, but God it's awful. When I look up from reading it, I'm shocked to see everything still here. But I do think it's making me enjoy what I have, while I still have it...


message 5: by Rick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rick Muir It does have that awesome power to change the way the world is viewed (by some readers). Some people may have such a fixed or stable personality as to not be influenced by any book. But I think a person would probably have to be a robot to not be touched by The Road. I heard it may be made into a movie...?


message 6: by Matt (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:40AM) (new)

Matt Twyman Have any of yall read any other Cormac McCarthy books? I've read the crossings trilogy and the Orchard Keeper. Always a sucker for his prose... always feel alone afterwards. definitely takes more steel in your gut to get through his books. want to pick this one up some time soon. good to know it's along the lines that I had figured.


message 7: by Sonny (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sonny You will find Blood Meridian another joyful road trip. If you suspect the US western expansion wasn't quite the cowboys & Indians stories many of us were fed mid 20th century, this will provide you the alternate reality you seek. Characteristically, though, the style and writing operate on a plane that is integral to the narrative but which is a gem in itself.


message 8: by Lara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lara I read 'The Road' during Denver's Holiday Blizzard last year, when we were snowed in for three days. Talk about atmosphere...


message 9: by Danae (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Danae I hated this book. I only made it through a few chapters and was literally nauseated by the time I gave up and threw it in the Goodwill pile. It took me the rest of the day to get out of the funk it put me in.


message 10: by Rick (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rick Muir I haven't read any of his other books, so I was thinking that "The Road" was probably an anomaly. I'll probably read "Blood Meridian" soon. It sounds like something I'd get into.


message 11: by Terri (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:53AM) (new)

Terri Get into this book whenever you feel like it. Bleak, sure. Hopeless, maybe. It's a departure, but a welcome one as far as I'm concerned. The Blood Meridian is a good book, but The Road is great. Since when does a book need to have an uplifting storyline in order to be uplifting?


message 12: by Jaye (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jaye The only other book of his I've read was All the Pretty Horses. I love his writing style, but agree that it can make you feel "alone" after reading it. Still, I'm going to read something light next and the read No Country for Old Men. I can't help it, I like the depressing stuff.


message 13: by Justin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Justin The Road is absolutely stunning. Dark, yes. Despairing, perhaps. But in my opinion an essential read, assuming your frame of mind is not too fragile. I think Blood Meridian, while less absolute in its despair, is a more difficult, lonely story than The Road. There is hope in the relationship between The Road's father and son, even in the midst of total devestation, and it remediates the horror of the setting.


message 14: by Kristen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kristen This book deals, barely, with the actual state of why the world Cormac McCarthy creates is the way it is. The story is dark, perhaps haunting, and perhaps even horrifying but it is about the story of a father and a son and the power they have together and the power and hope a father can give his son, even in the most dismal of situations.


message 15: by Dea (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dea Jaye, if you read All the Pretty Horses, please read the other 2 books in The Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses; The Crossing; Cities of the Plain). Reading only 1 is like eating one potato chip. Tempting and tasty, yet unsatisfying.


message 16: by Sean (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sean We reside in the usual world as a partner in mental hospitals. Read the book. Don't worry about your state of mind. It will always change.


message 17: by Lacey (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:19PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lacey I'm in San Diego, finished this awesome book on Sunday night. Read the ending twice that night. Woke up Monday morning and my world was on fire and covered in ash. Anyone know a good mental hospital.


message 18: by Vanessa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Vanessa This is a powerful, devastating book. I think it affected me more deeply than any other work of fiction I have ever read. It took me days to resurface from McCarthy's bleak world and I found myself needing to hold my children or watch them sleep. A profound piece of writing.


message 19: by Lori (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori I read this entire book the same day I bought it. I just could not put it down. I love the way McCarthy just drew you into the atmosphere. It was also very clever of him to use minimalist descriptions. No names for people, or places. Just existing in the here and now, surviving one moment to the next.

Sadly, devestatingly beautiful.


message 20: by Kathleen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kathleen Wiktor This is a heartbreaking and beautiful book. I certainly wouldn't recommend it if you are already in a bleak place mentally as it could put you over the edge. This book will deeply affect you on several levels. Absolutely well written in it's sparseness. However, I really wouldn't want to survive a nuclear holocast after reading this


message 21: by Kecia (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:46PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kecia As bleak as The Road may be it still has a element of hope. When the boy inquires of his father what happened to the boy he saw, the father tells him that goodness found the boy. At the end of The Road goodness finds our boy. If that is not hope for the future I don't know what is!

I recently read McCarthy's Child of God. It was a bitter pill to swallow but I think in that story McCarthy was making a point about the inherent worth and dignity of every person even the ones we may think of a monster.

McCarthy seems to take readers down dark lonely roads but there is always a light out there if you look for it.


message 22: by Karen Ann (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:46PM) (new)

Karen Ann I enjoyed the sparse writing style that somehow provided vivid images. The Road seems to end conveniently, and the author lost all credibility with me. Throughout the journey, the father and son face people so damaged by their environment that morality has almost disappeared. Then at the end, this ray of light and hope appears in the form of one of the "good guys." I was disappointed with such a clean ending.


message 23: by Beena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Beena At the end, I do not feel that "the ray of light and good guy" come conveniently. I see them come the only time on The Road that they could come: after death, and three days (symbolically). After bleakest degradation, even death: resurrection. Ultimate goodness; eternal hope.

I am not necessarily religious, but religious symbols and motifs often represent a more profound "heal the world" transformation taking place in human lives.

I found the story ultimately transcendent. I am a mother and understand and feel the unconditional love it is possible for a mother to have for a child. The father/son relationship in The Road, though, represented more of the Father-son-holy spirit thing. Again, not necessarily religious, but universally spiritual.

I also found the movie "Pay it Forward" uplifting. Some found it very sad.

I can't write like McCarthy, but I am so glad that I can feel it. His writing is poetry to me.


message 24: by Tash (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tash This book changed my life. As a mother you constantly push your children. You push them to trust you,even though there is no guarantee that you can protect them,or that you're even right. The push and pull of a parents love was so brilliantly portrayed. Couldn't put it down the first time. Couldn't put it down the second. Possibly the most powerful peace of writing I have ever encountered.


message 25: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Hey Jane, don't worry too much about the hospital anyway, the book won't be able to commit you by itself. I think it takes the confirmation of two licensed physicians in additon to the book. (kidding)


Meredith Oh god. I keep thinking I need to up my meds since I've been reading this (2 days ago). Not the best thing to read before bed either, especially when you already have anxiety-induced insomnia. This book is scaring the shit out of me. (sorry for the language.) It's a vicarious near death experience. I keep wondering how I'm going to die. Just when I was getting past my apocalypse fears... they're back!


Laura Lacey wrote: "I'm in San Diego, finished this awesome book on Sunday night. Read the ending twice that night. Woke up Monday morning and my world was on fire and covered in ash. Anyone know a good mental hospital."


Yikes! That would have put me in a bad state!


Laura Karen Ann wrote: "I enjoyed the sparse writing style that somehow provided vivid images. The Road seems to end conveniently, and the author lost all credibility with me. Throughout the journey, the father and son ..."

Wasn't quite a convenient ending. Just because he fell in with some good people doesn't mean that life just got better and food sources just got more ready. He just found more people to starve with.


message 29: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris The film version is was more mood influencing than the book for me. At the risk of sounding illiterate, I feel like seeing ceaseless grey haze is more smothering than reading about one and trying to imagine it. For me, seeing a low-contrast environment is believing.

But the father-son love was more impactful in the book. Since that's overpowering sensation of the story I wouldn't worry about depression or anxiety. Love is all you need. Or, love is a good distraction from a lack of food and security. And that's pretty inspirational, right?

Disclaimer: I am a son and I have a father. If you lack one of these qualities the atmosphere may be more empty.


Wayward Child Maybe you`ll feel a little sadish, but that`s about it. I really think you should read this book until the end, because you never know just what might happen on the next page. I know it`s a bit brutal and raw, but it`s life and I think what we have here is a real depiction of what would really happen if something like this hit the world and the human race.


message 31: by Will (new) - rated it 5 stars

Will IV In all likelihood, you will start having psychotic thoughts and possibly homicidal "adventures" as I like to call them.

Just make sure you get rid of the evidence and all should be good. Happy hunting!


Karen Jane wrote: "OK, so if I'm already feeling anxious and distressed about the state of the world, will reading The Road push me over the edge? I have Dickens' Bleak House waiting for me as well; should I just mov..."
Neither of those books is a bundle of joy, but they are two of the best writers in the English language and I say read them both! But you might want to slip something lighter in between.


Karen Matt wrote: "Have any of yall read any other Cormac McCarthy books? I've read the crossings trilogy and the Orchard Keeper. Always a sucker for his prose... always feel alone afterwards. definitely takes mor..."

I thought The Road was a masterpiece! I just started Blood Meridian, and even though the setting is pretty wrenching, the writing is once again beautiful beyond belief.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe you should read I'm OK - You're OK first. Or supplement it with The Prophet. Don't worry Calamity Jane, you'll be fine.


message 35: by Tara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tara Wowra I felt like this was an important book to read, a cautionary tale , if you will. People need to think about what they are doing and think about the ramifications of their actions. This a bleak picture of what could be our future-everyone should take a long hard look.


Jessica Don't watch the movie, I found it even more disturbing than the book...


Melissa Hmm... The book was very good. Disturbing, yes. But good just the same. The movie didn't disappoint. It will make you nauseous but no mental hospital.


Cyndi Since I found this book to be excellent...I would have to say that while not tripping you to the mental ward, you may want to have your anti-depressant of choice handy. So bleak and sad, but impossible to be anything else.


Sharon Wonderful book, but it is disturbing. It left me feeling rather hopeless for mankind!


Lukas Nisztuk leave it untill you're ready


Marc-Antoine As I read this book, I kept getting chocked up, relating with the main character as a father, and the boy was very similar to my own son. But once finished I felt better about the life I have been able to give my children so far, and the message of hope for mankind at the end of tne novel was not lost on me, good is in us.


message 42: by Feliks (new)

Feliks Try "The Necromonicon" if you want to develop mental aberration.


Sharon Jane wrote: "OK, so if I'm already feeling anxious and distressed about the state of the world, will reading The Road push me over the edge? I have Dickens' Bleak House waiting for me as well; should I just mov..."

No, but it might put you to sleep.....boring!


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

Jane wrote: "OK, so if I'm already feeling anxious and distressed about the state of the world, will reading The Road push me over the edge? I have Dickens' Bleak House waiting for me as well; should I just mov..."

I love the way that McCarthy creates disorientation by weaving internal and external dialogue into the story. His purposeful lack of punctuation and staging creates ambiguity that frustrates some readers. The Road is one of my favorite novels, however, it contains the most haunting scene that I have read in a novel.


message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Apart from being a little bleak, the key theme I found was one of persistence. And, yes, as noted above, uh, 1, 2, 3....45 times, McCarthy is a great writer. Even more remarkable, before getting distracted by other priorities, I read a bit of All the Pretty Horses. That read so very differently....anyway, I blab at length about The Road here.


Leanne certainly leave it! leave it forever! i only read it bc my son's name is cormac. such a depressing book.


message 47: by Sam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sam Jane wrote: "OK, so if I'm already feeling anxious and distressed about the state of the world, will reading The Road push me over the edge? I have Dickens' Bleak House waiting for me as well; should I just mov..."

Anyone who's read the news at any point in the last ten years should feel anxious and distressed about the world. Just read the thing and be done with it. The setting may be bleak but the central relationship between the man and the boy is quite touching i think.


message 48: by Veka (last edited Jan 28, 2013 05:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Veka Veks Book not so scary but movie really freaked me out.
I kept imagining and thinking about what I would do and how horrible would be to be there so helpless and hopeless.
Nothing good happens to people in dystopian movie or book.


message 49: by Kris (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris I would not read this book if you are at all depressed or feeling low. Watching the news is difficult, for sure -- and there is much that is depressing in what we see on a daily basis. But reading a book is much more intimate. This book in particular is much more intimate. I've never read something so almost "lyrical" and yet sad.

There is beauty in this book, though. The relationship between the son and the father is worth the sadness.

I did get somewhat low when I read the book, and had to finish it and get it over with in order to get back to my regular self. About a year or so later, I saw the movie, and wasn't nearly as touched. The movie was good, and seemed to follow the book fairly well, and I was creeped out -- but it was just a movie. The book hit me much harder.


message 50: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob Honestly, if you're worried about a book pushing you over the edge you should probably go talk to a psychologist.

It's a great book though.


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