BOOK REVIEW | The Road by Cormac Mccarthy

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5/5 stars

From the publisher:
A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food–and each other.

My thoughts:
What would you do if I died?
If you died I would want to die too.
So you could me with me?
Yes. So I could be with you.

This is a sentiment that every parent is familiar with – the relentless fear of your child’s mortality. I can’t think of anything more terrifying than the struggle to keep your child alive, other than trying to continue with life after the loss of a child. McCarthy imagines this fear in a post-apocalyptic world, as a man and his son journey together towards a hope they aren’t sure exists.

I felt this book so deeply, I could imagine being in this experience with one of my kids. McCarthy’s prose is biting and elegant, and his dialogue is simple and realistic. I finished the final pages with tears streaming down my face. This is one of the most beautiful and haunting books I’ve read in a long time.

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BOOK REVIEW | Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury | Banned Books Week

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4/5 stars

From the publisher:
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

My thoughts:
We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. 

I’m not sure how I’ve made it this far without having read Ray Bradbury, but I am so glad that I have finally remedied this. I picked up Fahrenheit 451 without thinking about Banned Books Week, but the timing could not have been better. I mean, wow! A world in which books are not allowed- horror at its best for bibliophiles.

Fahrenheit 451 was written by Bradbury in 1953, and what a life it has lived since then. Having finally read this, I can see it’s influence in nearly every dystopian / post-apocalyptic book that I have read. Joe Hill’s The Fireman was clearly influenced by this book, I found elements in Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, and the silencing of Clarise due to her hunger for knowledge brought to mind Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why. That can be embarrassing. You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy indeed, if you keep at it. 

I cannot add anything of value to the legacy of this book, I can only say that I really enjoyed it. Bradbury has keen insights into humanity, and I found myself highlighting many quotes as I read:

We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?

When I was a boy my grandfather died, and he was a sculptor…he made toys for us and did a million tings in his lifetime; he was always busy with his hands. And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again. 

What are your favourite Ray Bradbury books? The Halloween Tree and The Illustrated Man will be up shortly for me!

BOOK REVIEW | Bird Box by Josh Malerman

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4.5/5 stars

From the publisher:
Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

My thoughts:
I’ve always had a fear of the unknown. Specifically, what cannot be seen. I hate the dark because I can’t see what is in front of me. Standing in the ocean creates anxiety because I can’t see my feet – what just brushed my leg? Was it a fish? Seaweed? Something sinister? Bird Box takes this fear and ramps is up to a 10+ by removing the character’s vision in a post-apocalyptic, and extremely dangerous, world.

Malerman is a master of suspense; the tension in this book is extreme. It’s an exhilarating page turner that manages to keep it’s pace the entire way though. If this is Malerman’s debut, I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.