The Road, By Cormac McCarthy
I just finished The Road (in about 17 hours, sorry I can't help it) and it leaves me with lingering feelings even now, 3 days later. It is the story of the journey of a father and son in the post-apocalyptic world, full of horror and death, "each other's world entire" . The author drives home this feeling of despair effectively through his sentence construction and spare use of frivolities such as apostrophes and quotation marks. It was strange at first, but in this world of destruction, with each character fighting for their lives, it feels right to leave them out to add to the desperation.
I read the horror for what it was, I cried for the people and their struggles. I longed for a happy ending, but what ending could there be in a gray world of ash? I thought about the choices I would make in this situation and realized I couldn't even think when I put my children's faces in place of the boy's.
After I finished and closed the book, I continued to think about the story and the feelings it triggered in me as a mother. I noticed I was taking photos of my kids a little more in the days after the book. Not posed pictures, but pictures of the way their hands look, the way they sit while eating breakfast, the expression on their faces during a long car ride. I feel the need to capture these little things, now, before I forget. Will I remember the shape of their boy fingers, the pattern of freckles on their boy noses? Not during the apocalypse, but in five years?
They are growing and changing, and though we don't struggle as they did in the story, their "boy-ness" will be lost to me all too soon and I want to remember. It was the memories that brought the man peace and hope at his lowest.
This book is short, the language requires some concentration at first but it is worth it. I hear they are filming a movie based on this story in Pittsburgh - but there is no way they could translate the horrors to film. Your imagination will undoubtedly render the movie disappointing.