The End of The Road

Today, I finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

If I had read this book as a kid, I would have hated it. When I was a kid, I didn’t take too kindly to books where people died, which was quite the feat for someone fascinated by post-apocalyptic fiction and science fiction.

I’ve since matured. I can handle books where people die. I can handle books where lots of people die, I can handle books where people die in particularly grisly ways, or over protracted periods of time.

At the risk of drawing the ire of a few noted family members, not to mention a significant chunk of the reading public, I still wasn’t impressed.

To start out with, yes, I know it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner. I still didn’t like it.

Yes, I know how vivid the imagery is. I read it. I still didn’t like it.

Yes, I know how heart-wrenching the story is. My heart was wrenched. That didn’t make me like it.

Yes, I know it’s on a number of “100 Best Books Of All Time” lists. That’s why I read it. It wasn’t the first and I expect it won’t be the last of those books that I don’t like.

It’s art. I’m allowed to not like it.

I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that anyone who did like this book is intellectually, artistically, or literarily deficient. But I have this feeling (based entirely on years of experience with not liking “good” art) that should I mention that I didn’t like The Road to certain people, I would be found not only literarily, artistically, and intellectually wanting, but probably morally deficient as well.

Maybe I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to get it. Maybe I just don’t get books, or art in general.

Sure, maybe.

Or maybe what books (like any other form of art) we like is a matter of taste, and my tastes are different than yours.

I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad book. I just didn’t like it. And to be honest, I’m rather sick of being told that I’m an idiot for not liking “good” books.

Next book in progress: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. No, I won’t be reading it in the original French.

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  1. […] was like watching a train wreck in slow motion, and you might have heard what I thought about The Road. For the most part, I was dreading the next book on my list, because so many of them are written in […]



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