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The Road by Cormac McCarthy




I've long resisted reading The Road. I read The Stand, read Swan Song, and On The Beach, been there done that post-apocalyptically. Saw all the Mad Max movies too, and Planet Of The Apes, Damnation Alley, and The Day After. So why read The Road?

I could leave it at that and skate by free. But then you'd never know the deeper, darker, more troubling reasons for my avoidance of The Road. So maybe it's time I stopped running and face the muzak.  

See, my name is EnriqueFreeque, and I'm a snobaholic.

"Hi, EnriqueFreeque!" 

I refused reading The Road because... Because... Just say it, Dude, this is the first step in your recovery by admitting your powerlessness over snobbishness... Because Oprah Winfrey read it and loved it. Loved it so much, in fact, she somehow persuaded its hermitic, up-until-then-monosyllabic responding author to actually talk about it, The Road -- on TV of all places! -- and did so, as far as I can tell, without holding a gun to his head.

'Great!' went my elitist, condescending line of arrogant (and what in hindsight was, erroneous) reasoning, 'Cormac McCarthy's a bestseller now (he's on Oprah! you can buy his books at Costco and Sams Club! woo hoo! housewives everywhere love him! yippee!') -- ergo, the way I saw it, he'd become a sellout, and seeing that damn "Book Oprah Club" circular sticker tackily pasted on the cover of his book every time I stocked up on something like several years worth of toilet paper and bottled water made me wanna puke! Where were all these Oprah-ites and housewives, after all, supporting Cormac back in '85 when Blood Meridian -- a better book -- came out; back in those dirt poor good 'ol days when McCarthy routinely refused $1,500 university speaking engagements even though he was broke and could barely afford living in a motel room? Never mind I'd never heard of Cormac back in '85 (I was sixteen and obsessing over Dune), I was still pissed! I was indignant!  

Was I a numbskull? Hell yes.

Because The Road (don't know how else to put it) rocks! You already know what it's about. Let me just add The Road's so gorgeously grim the Grim Reaper seems like a stand-up comic in comparison. It's got enough dried out corpses and roving bands of raving craving cannibals who'd like to eat your children raw right in front of you to delight the hardest of hardcore Dawn of the Dead fanatics...and yet it has a heart too -- compassion, tenderness, wisdom, and perseverance in the face of hopeless horror -- albeit an almost flat-lining heartbeat of humanity demonstrated by the unwavering love the father (known only as "the man") gives to his young son, born into this ruined world, day after ashen, beyond depressing day on the road; an unimaginably unforgiving, merciless road -- the road which originates in Hell and terminates in Hell, with mostly Hell in between.

But what a marvelous Heavenly read.

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