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I disliked this book. Who agrees?

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Showing 1-25 of 369 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 17, 2007 10:15:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jan 3, 2008 10:48:02 AM PST
I disliked this book so much that after I finished it, I threw it in the trash. I don't understand why so many people are raving about it. The man is amoral at best. He calls himself a "good guy," but he refuses to help anyone. The only time he gives some food away was when his little boy begs him to help.

What really enrages me is that this man leaves his small boy alone in a dead world to face starvation, the elements, and cannibals. The man doesn't have the moral fiber to kill his child when he knows he's dying. He could not have known that a family would just "happen along" to take in his son after his death ( I thought it was rather convienent of the author).

The whole book is a contrived piece of garbage.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2007 8:59:44 AM PDT
I completly agree with you!! I couldn't even bring myself to finish reading it, it was that horrible. I hated the lack of warmth and compassion that surrounded these characters. If I had to read this book agaign I think I would be sick. Its that annoying!!

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2007 6:26:23 PM PDT
W. Kelley says:
Notice that nobody's replying? It's because almost nobody who has read the book agrees with your views. The man doesn't help others because he knows that any dilution of resources will only result in his and the boy's deaths. The father knows that being "the good guys" means more than sharing a crumb with hopeless strangers. The boy is his father's heart, he is his father's compassion. The boy acts out of ignorant selflessness, which is beautiful but suicidal in this world. The boy is carrying the fire - whatever meager hope is left for humans. I have a 9 year old daughter, and I was so moved by the story - by the intensity with which CM shows what the child means to the parent - that I had to stop reading on my subway commute because tears were running down my cheeks and people were staring at me. Try it again and look deeper, maybe you'll see something else there.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2007 3:00:25 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2007 6:43:01 PM PDT
I realize that I'm in the minority here because I disliked the book. I stand by my comments. I don't feel your defense of the man makes sense. You state, "The man doesn't help others because he knows that any dilution of resources will only result in his and the boy's deaths. The father knows that being the "good guy" means more than sharing a crumb with hopeless strangers." If a person is truly a "good guy," that person will share with hopeless strangers because this is exactly what the father and boy are...hopeless like all the survivors, "good guys" and "bad guys."

You also state, "The boy is his father's heart, he is his father's compassion." I disagree with you on this point. The father should be an example. "Good guys" help others even if they resent helping. During the Holocaust, I'm sure all of the people in the death camps were hopeless; yet there were people who shared with each other even though they probably resented it, then felt guilty because they resented it. The man in The Road never even felt guilty for not sharing.

I understand that "carrying the fire" symbolizes hope for the human race. That said, any hope for the human race means that the "good guys" must join together and help each other.

At the end of the book, the father's amorality turns to immorality. He is dying, yet he selfishly leaves his son utterly alone. Since he refuses to help anyone, why should he think that anyone would help his son? He doesn't. For the father, it's every man for himself. Because he is an immoral and a coward, he fails to kill his son to save him from the "bad guys" the man knows are lurking everywhere.

I think I could at least respect the book if CM hadn't tied up it up so neatly in the end. The man has been dead three days. The boy hasn't done what his father asked. He hasn't moved on, and he has no plans to move on. He is only a little boy. However, "fate" intervenes convienently. A family of "good guys" suddenly appears to rescue the boy. If the situation were reversed, the man would not have lifted a hand.

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2007 6:43:34 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2007 7:51:48 AM PDT

The most important thing you realize is that you are in the minority. You're entitled to your opinion, and you express it well, but few will agree. I thought the book was stunningly thought- provoking. It made me emote - something few books or movies can do these days.

John M.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2007 8:16:40 AM PDT
Lillyanne_M says:
I didn't like it either, but for different reasons. I'm not sure I can adequately write why I found it so disturbing. I've read quite a bit and I'm not shy of horror fiction at all. The author is a very good writer and it wasn't that the story was uninteresting. I think it was because it was so very hopeless. There being nothing to do and nowhere to go for humanity and help. I have a son around the same age as the boy in the novel, so it was particularly wrenching for me. I think the author is sick, angry, disturbed, angst-ridden. Not a person I'd like to meet. I don't think the world needs any more despair than it already has. Anyway, I guess that's as close as I can get to describing my feelings about it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2007 4:06:25 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 24, 2007 4:09:39 PM PDT
nora, im in awe of the low level of maturity that you exhibit. you act as though i have offended you greatly. if i have, my sincerest apologies. i had no intention of doing so, but it still leaves your level of condescension completely without merit.

my point is, that if i feel strongly and you feel strongly about this book, why are you more of an authority? my suggestion is that you climb down off the high horse and give us your opinion for just that reason. that it is an opinion. not cold, hard fact.

and unilaterally, stop being so insulting.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2007 8:40:23 PM PDT
Avid Reader says:
I just now finished this book and agree completely with your assessment. The father couldn't kill his child and he explained it when he said he couldn't bear to hold his dead son in his arms. Could you? Also, he provided the boy with the means and knowledge to take his own life as a last resort. I didn't feel that the "good guy" who found the boy was a convenient ending. It made sense to me because "carrying the fire" was hope.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2007 11:42:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 27, 2007 11:43:55 AM PDT
J.W. ALSTON says:
I am with you in some sense. It was difficult, no it was iimpossible, to figure out what had happened that had had such a devestating impact on the world and humanity and why! There was this repetitive set of challenges, over and over. There was no question that the father loved his son. Then there was the ethical dilemma. What was the right thing to do with and for other people, under what was the worst of circumstances. There was the issue of common sense and/or a moral sense, and who had the most of either, the boy or the father? They hit the road, saw some dismal and horrifying things, eluded people, searched for and found food, got cold, got sick, searched for more food, eluded and abandoned more people, got robbed, issued out their own form of justice. In the final analysis, who had the most scruples. What were we left with that offered hope? Could this be a morality tale, a warning, a commentary on human nature? While interesting, I was left wanting clarity, and with many questions.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2007 12:24:02 PM PDT
A. Fine says:
I didn't like the book, but I think it was beautifully written and I think it's an important book. It was harrowing and compelling. I stayed up VERY late to read most of it, and finished it as soon as I could the very next day.

In fact, I HATED the book; where it took me, what images it conjured up, the way I held it whiteknuckled as I was reading it, the way I thought about it for days afterward.

After reading it, the world was greener and sweeter to me and made me hold my children a little longer and enjoy my food a whole lot more. It made me grateful to have the beautiful abundant life I have.

In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2007 10:52:23 PM PDT
The book is terrible. If you want to save some money, let me give you the summary. Take the following dialogue and put it on 200 pages: "Ok?" "Ok." "You have to eat". "I know." "Wow, there sure is lots of ash around."

The End.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2007 11:27:35 AM PDT
Drew says:
So the book is terrible because you see the father as morally ambiguous? He has been protecting his child from the post-apocolypse world since his birth. He understands the world and how to survive in it. The boy cannot understand this yet, he is a child. The father sees his starving, freezing son and knows they cannot afford to give their food and clothing to another person. The father is on a mission to preserve the life of his son for as long as he can. When the father is dying, he can't bring himself to take his son's life. If you are a parent, it is easy to understand that in a similar situation, you may know that maybe you should do it, but could you bring yourself to pull the trigger? I know I couldn't. I would want to at least give my child a chance. Is the ending too convenient? That's up for debate. But the one overriding theme of the book is the love the father has for his son. It can't be viewed any other way.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2007 3:10:34 PM PDT
Taylor says:
I agree with you. Everyone is writing all of this overanalytical crap and this book was just one big fat bore.Blah, blah, blah... I trudged through 280+ pages to get to an ending that was so vague and confusing I had to reread it five times. I was so looking forward to reading it too. I guess I just missed it and am not "intellectual" enough.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2007 4:00:48 PM PDT
I totally agree with your review.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2007 4:01:40 PM PDT
This book was a terrible read. A total waste of time.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2007 7:32:03 PM PDT
D. Nelson says:
Moral fiber to kill his child? I am glad I am no child of yours!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2007 8:56:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2007 9:14:24 AM PDT
Ellen Hanson says:
To W. Kelley: Why can't people like you understand that someone could read THE ROAD, understand McCarthy's symbolism, and still not like the book?!? Even though I found this book forgettable (at best), I can appreciate - and respect - your positive feelings for it. So why can't you show the same respect for those of us who simply didn't like it? That you're writing something in this section is proof of what I'm talking about. This is a section where people who didn't like the book have been invited to discuss why they didn't like it. So what are you doing here??? Go over to your own section and stop trying to convince those of us who didn't like THE ROAD that we're somehow inferior intellectually.

Your analysis of the book is interesting. But your arrogance is tiring.

To Ben W. Wright: I've read your comments on this site, and you do nothing but insult those of us who found this book lacking. I find it interesting that you haven't once said - anywhere that I can find on this entire site - why you liked this book. If you haven't got the ability to say what's right about this book, than keep quiet about everyone else's reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2007 10:34:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 2, 2007 10:43:40 AM PDT
and that is because i removed it. i find these discussions boorish and ultimately fruitless. occasionally, i indulge myself to reply to something but generally i keep myself out of it. i wont stand by everything ive said on here because some things were out of line and said off the cuff. im completely aware that it is ok for someone to not like this book or any book that i found inspiring. however, so many of the people one here that didnt like the book are equally if not more accusatory and unaccepting of those that did. others are just plain insulting, and still others will say something to the effect of "i didnt like this. i have no possible way of expressing that opinion or providing any type of logic that would support it." and you know what? thats ok too. but if youre going to review it and not provide any foundation for your opinions then it must be stated in such a way that doesnt lead someone considering buying the book to turn away, because if you have support for your opinion then any person reading that review can decide for themselves whether or not the points youve made are worthy of considering. because without that its not a review. its an opinion only. that is my main gripe.

as for my personal thoughts on the book...ill give them to you in brief: i felt the prose was beautiful and subtle as it so often is with mccarthys work. it still amazes me how much some authors can say about a relationship (in this case between the father and son) or place or thing while saying so little. its also interesting to me that he labors endlessly to describe setting and environment while letting the readers decide whats happening between the people. the book for the most part brought to mind all the horrible things that have, are, and will be going on in this world and he wont let us gloss over it. it is too real. personally and i guess unfortunately, i didnt read the ending through rose-colored glasses as most did, but there again, it is simply the way i read it. as far as i was concerned hope was gone from the novel before it began. to find any conventional definitions of hope in a world this bleak seems far-fetched.
all that being said, its not his greatest work by any stretch of the imagination. many people have said that the plot has all been done before and i think mccarthy wanted to take an idea that had already been done and redone and put his own flavor into it which, for me, did make it very interesting. but it is no blood meridian. as far as im concerned, it isnt even the crossing which was my favorite of the border trilogy.

and there you have it ellen. i hope i cleared at least some things up.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2007 6:53:45 PM PDT
Ellen Hanson says:
To Ben Wright:
Finally, a real answer from you. And it was appreciated!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 3, 2007 10:51:26 PM PDT
I just finished the book, and I too thought it was a bit dragging and somewhat boring. Although it seemed CM knew exactly when to wake the reader up be it with some gutwrenching sentimentality or an all too vivid account of some act/sight I hope never to experience. Overall, I found the writing style unique (having never read the author before), the imagery stunning but the plot somewhat lacking (or at the very least, repetitive). Just MHO.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2007 7:40:39 AM PDT
This was one of the worst books I have ever read, very bleak and disturbing and depressing and, at times, pretty boring. The evening was unbelievably tidy and convenient which was quite odd. I was shocked that the man didn't kill his son and then take his own life, after all the gun-checking and hand-wringing over this throughout the story. How incredibly selfish after all that. Also, I thought it unrealistic that the kid would resemble a halfway normal 7- or 8- year old when he never knew life (or humanity) to be any different- so it was very odd that he was so compassionate and generous and emotional. Who did he learn that from?

A big waste of time... I guess when Oprah puts her name on something, people read (no pun intended) a whole lot more into it than they should.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2007 2:00:29 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2007 10:52:58 AM PDT
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Discussion in:  The Road forum
Participants:  140
Total posts:  369
Initial post:  May 17, 2007
Latest post:  Aug 8, 2013

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The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Hardcover - September 26, 2006)
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