Friday, July 06, 2007

long and winding road

I just finished reading The Road and though many other people have sung it’s praises (it’s an Oprah book club selection after all), I have to add my 2 cents as well because it’s been a while since I was so taken with a novel and could barely put it down. Due to my school, work, and biking schedules I don’t have a lot of free time to read but I made time for this book staying up way later than advisable to finish it in 4 days (fast when most books of similar length take 3-4 weeks usually).

What I found fascinating is that when you boil it down, it is a simple timeless story of a father trying to understand his son and raise him the best he can. It reminded me of the relationship that I have with my own father in a way or at least the relationship.

When I finished high school I seemed destined for the standard path of a college degree before I knew what I really wanted in life and then some job and probably a house in the ‘burbs, but at the last minute I veered off that path. Convinced my parents to let me attend school for recording engineering which wasn’t really what I wanted to do but was closer and seemed like a good option. I then began to get a little more serious about DJing and trying to make a go at that. All this time my relationship with my father went from mediocre to rocky. Once I wasn’t in school he kept trying to convince me to get a job that would pay me good money but wouldn’t necessarily leave time to pursue a DJ career. His view was that you needed to work hard and make money first and then if you had time or energy you could pursue “fun” stuff.

From my view, it was important to follow your passion and to not settle for something because you were afraid to fail. Though we did have fights over this, since I rarely saw him it really just made us drift apart even more and I found less and less time for him which only exacerbated it.

What does this have to do with a novel about a father and son struggling to survive in a post-nuclear holocaust landscape? I guess I just connected with the father doing what he knew how to do—survive and keep his son safe. This while his son gives people the benefit of the doubt despite everything he has seen. The father thinks his son is just being naive about people but it may be that his son is looking at life in the only way that can bring people together instead of tearing them apart even more.

Beyond that I found Cormac McCarthy’s descriptions of the landscape and the people within it to be both breathtakingly and heartbreakingly real. I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to read this when it came out last year and when I did put it on my amazon list finally, the following week it was announced as the next Oprah Book Club selection and that made me rethink it, but I figured that she had selected quite a few other good books, so what the hell. Very glad that I did read it and if you haven’t I HIGHLY recommend it.

My current book queue:
The End of Poverty (in progress)
The Polysyllabic Spree (in progress – balances the dry second half of End of Poverty)
Book of Dave
Essays – George Orwell

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