Book review: The Road

Book cover for The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I’ve read a few Ryan Holiday books including Stillness Is the Key, Ego Is the Enemy, and Trust Me I’m Lying, which is one of my personal favorites. I also read The Daily Stoic, which inspired me to sign-up to both of his daily newsletters – Daily Stoic and Daily Dad.

It was through Daily Dad that I learned about The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Holiday has made numerous references to the book in the newsletter, so I figured it would be worth adding to my reading list.

The Road is a story of a man and his boy’s struggle for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. Without knowing exactly what has happened, it’s clear that the landscape of the United States, and possibly the world, has been reduced to ash with virtually nothing surviving. In an attempt to escape the onset of winter in the mountains, the pair embark on a journey toward the coast in search of a warmer climate with hopes of finding some semblance of society and order along the way.

To put it mildly, the trip is brutal. Along the way, they must scavenge for food, water, and clothing to survive, all the way evading bands of remaining people who are either out to rob them (thieves) or want to eat them (cannibals). It means they only have each other. They cannot rely on any outside assistance.

In addition to being a book about survival, The Road is about the unconditional love a man has for his son. It’s a stirring story of how the father does everything possible to provide for his boy, to keep him alive, and to give him a shot at life. Other than the exploration of the relationship between a father and his son, which can be both strong and fragile at the same time, there isn’t much plot.

I wouldn’t consider The Road one of my Must Reads or Fun Reads as it lacks the entertainment value that I like in my recreational reading. However, I would consider it a literary classic similar to a book like The Old Man and The Sea, A Tale of Two Cities, or 1984. So if you’re looking for something that is of higher literary quality and more introspective in nature, then The Road is a good fit. If you’re looking for something faster-paced and more entertaining, then I’d suggest passing.