I'm reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy and frankly, it's starting to freak me out a bit. It took me a little while to get past McCarthy's writing style which, if my blog was written that way, would look something like this:
Book is creepy. Terrifying scenes. Horror-inducing. Does it give you nightmares? she asked. Kinda. Oh. Deafening silence as ghastly images swarm in my brain. Blackened landscapes. Deserted cities. Corpses. Slumped in bedrooms, cars, even freezers. More corpses.
See? That can take a little while to get used to, huh? Apparently, McCarthy missed that day in school when they discussed sentence fragments. But, that's all well and good now because this is Cormac McCarthy! When you reach a certain level, you get to toss out all conventional rules under the guise of artistic license.
That being said, I DID get used to the writing and I AM enjoying the book. Well, if by 'enjoying' I mean having creepy nightmares that make me wake up in a cold sweat. Last night, the dreams involved trying to hide under the leaves in a park so we wouldn't be discovered as a murder took place, followed by running for our lives and eventually watching that girl from The Ring (yeah, I'm not sure where she fit into all this either) disembowel people I knew. However, luckily I discovered that if we had a good play practice (um...yeah...we were rehearsing for a play - look, I have no control over this...), she would actually like you and not remove your innards. Sweet little girl.
Anyway, this is what happens when you read the story of a young boy and his father walking south in a post-apocalyptic America, in hopes of escaping the harsh winter weather of the north. I will try not to reveal too much, but if you're interested in reading the book, some spoilers may follow. The father and the boy begin their journey with little to eat, a shopping cart full of supplies, and two backpacks filled with essentials in case they need to run. Along the way, we learn that the boy's mother, for fear of being captured, enslaved and repeatedly raped, walked away from her husband and son one night and killed herself. We also know the father has to deal with the very real possibility that should it look like some roving band of thieves, murderers, racists is about to take them, he may need to put a bullet in his boy's head to save him. He's only got two bullets, so he has to ask himself what happens if it comes to the point where he's out of ammo or the gun doesn't fire. Can he smash his little boy's head in with a rock to save him? The country is burned to a crisp and all the homes and stores they pass have been looted already. There is little food. There is no safety. Some people even keep their basements full of live captives that they slowly dismember and cook for food. The story is horrific, but so captivating that the pages fly by. It's a quick, easy read, though by no means light.
In the end, this turns out to be a terrifying look into what a man is capable of doing for survival and for the love of his child. I'm only halfway through but look forward to finishing it.
Just maybe not before bed.