Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I had a really hard time with this book. It is a fast read with short paragraphs and sparse description. That wasn't the problem. Instead the very idea of a nameless father and son traveling on a deteriating road through a bleak nuclear winter to a completely unknown future was difficult.

The characters show us the best and the worst of humanity. The father has to juggle impossible options - 1 bullet left in the gun and two starving travelers. Do you shoot your son to put him out of misery? Can you/could you do that? And what about saving this "good guy" from the cannibles day after day after day.

The boy is the voice of hope and kindness. It is he who reminds his father to help the old man, to give the thief back his clothes and to try to help the trapped innocents.

But, my goodness. What a world. What a future. What an ending. I read and read with my Afterschool special hopes - wanting some redemption for this struggling pair. They were constantly on the lookout for the good guys - but would they have recoginzed them if they found them. It appears they didn't. At least maybe...

I have to believe that is some sort of hope. The road doesn't end - it is all in your attitude on the journey. Each time it looked impossible - something happened to keep them going. That is what I hold on to. No matter how bleak our own future - I believe there is someone watching over the entire plan. Whether I make it to the end of the road or not - I know God is watching and I will be with him. That is what gives me the faith and the hope to begin each day again. I think the boy understood that.

So, dear reader - what do you think? Do you have the stuff to carry the flame? I have to believe that I would try.


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