Governor X's Book Report: The Road

February 03, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Governor X

After subjecting myself to the horror that was Twilight, I decided my next book was going to be The Road by noted curmudgeon Cormac McCarthy. Being a fan of bleak post-apocalyptic tales of woe and dread, the idea of the book had intrigued me since I first heard of it, but I held off for a long time for a couple reasons.

First, no one I know who has read it liked it. I'm not going to dismiss something simply because my friends are opposed, but when everyone says it's terrible, I take note.

Second, I couldn't find a copy that didn't have Oprah's seal of approval on it. I'm not contributing to that woman in any way. I had to bite the bullet and vote Obama in spite of her support, but that's where it begins and ends. Fuck Oprah.

Finally, and most importantly, Cormac McCarthy has an unpleasant writing style. He can tell one hell of a story (No Country for Old Men, All the Pretty Horses), but for some reason none of his editors ever insisted he use proper punctuation and avoid sentence fragments. I had previously slogged through Blood Meridian and it was brutal.

Now it's available in the movie tie-in edition at Walmart for $6. I can handle that. Instead of Oprah's seal for her bleating army of sheep, it has Viggo Mortensen on the cover. He was Aragorn so its OK. History of Violence was a real disaster though... I would just have to deal with his awkward writing style.

The Road is, in fact, quite good. When you think of it, its truly amazing to tell the story of a father and son wandering through a dead world with no hope searching for food and hiding from the odd human they see and still have it be so completely gripping. I have read comments online from people who said they started to read it but simply couldn't finish it because they grew too depressed. Saying this book is bleak is the understatement of the year and some of the more shocking imagery will stick with you for awhile (no spoilers, but check out pages 110 and 198 if you want a gut punch), but I couldn't imagine stopping once I had started.

I can't imagine the upcoming movie is going to be worth a damn. No one in Hollywood is going to stick with the absolutely hopeless tone of the book and they've already tinkered with it including more flashbacks with The Man's wife. Weak.

So go pick up The Road and please don't hold this blog responsible for the prozac prescription your doctor will be writing when you're done.

Much of The Road was filmed in Pennsylvania without any CGI. Its just that horrible there.