Thursday, August 26, 2010


Why do I do this to myself?

I just finished reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy. 
For those of you unfamiliar, it is not at all a happy story.  It is set in a scorched, post apocalyptic world and centers around two characters:  A man and his young boy who are clinging to survival in a dead world.  I could not put this thing down.  Every page was sad.  Every chapter full of despair and hopelessness.  I finished it in two days.  I had to see who was going to make it out alive.  My life is no better having read this book.  I am quite sad and depressed.  I feel mentally exhausted.  I look at my children and wonder What If.  I feel a pang of guilt when I turn on the faucet and clean cold (or hot) water comes out.  I am deeply saddened when throwing out things the characters would be so very happy to even have a scrap of.

I know that these things are what make this book so well written.   I felt everything the characters felt.  I became very emotionally invested in them.  The scenes in the book were laid out beautifully and clearly.  Did I mention this book won a Pulitzer? 

This has happened before.  Angela's Ashes and We Were the Mulvaneys also left me feeling empty and sad inside.  You would think I I would have learned my lesson.  As I was devouring The Road last night Richard told me over and over to stop reading it and walk away.   He knew how it would make me feel.

I doubt I will ever learn my lesson, but I do need something more uplifting to tide me over until the next installment in my beloved Pendragon series comes out in paperback.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


Amy Carpenter said...

I loved Water for Elephants, and recently finished The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and liked that too. I also enjoyed The Help. All have not sad endings :)

Eve Trombley said...

Oy, I try to avoid sad books. I read Nevil Shute's "On the Beach" when I was 13. It's another post-apocalyptic novel and nearly 20 years later thinking about it still leaves me feeling anxious, apprehensive, depressed and unsettled.

My best friend Steph is a total bibliophile and blogs her book reviews at Bookin' It.

Natalie said...

Do you want me to comment here or there? How about here and there :) I felt the same way about Angela's Ashes. I couldn't finish it because it just got more and more tragic by the page. I recently made the mistake again with A Fine Balance - but I can say my life is richer for having read it, simply because it was beautifully written and I learned about a way of life of which I was totally unaware.

Suggestions for happy books? I will sarcastically (but mostly truthfully) say don't read anything Canadian - Adam and I joke that the trifecta of Canadian literature is winter, child abuse and alcohol.

I love crime novels and historical fiction - although not happy necessarily, they are at least an escape. Donna Leon's books are set in Venice which makes them quite romantic. Ian Rankin - set in Scotland. I am keen to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo just so I can be like everyone else ;)


Unknown said...

Amy--I absolutely loved Water for Elephants. The Elephant in the book is such a character!

Maybe I will have to revisit that one, or crack open Julie and Julia again.

Anonymous said...

I just finished the crystal drop (yes, I read youth novels, partially because I can then recommend them - or not - to my grade 7s, and partially because I'm taking "Children's Lit" this fall, and partially because, well, why not?) which takes place, well, now, in Alberta, but it's a bit 1984 in that it was written when now was well in the future. There is no water, there are no animals, there is just desert, desert, desert. It ends well, as most youth lit does, but it's left me thinking and feeling like a carbon footprint giant.

I liked water for elephants, too, and my parents have just loaned me shantaram, which they both absolutely loved. I'm only 6 pages in, but I've already laughed out loud once. That might be worth a go.

Miss you. J. PS thanks for the granola bar recipes.

Carolyn said...

Coupland's "Generation A"

I'm currently reading Schindler's List. I'm not done yet, but it's horribly fascinating. I never saw the movie, either.

Try any of Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe books. I usually pee my pants from laughing.

Sharon said...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is very sweet. As is any of the Anne of Green Gables books. I felt the same way about The Road but tried hard not to get too emotionally invested in the characters. I couldn't put that book down - McCarthy's style is like no other.

double nickel said...

The Road was a fascinating read. Depressing for sure, but so well crafted that I felt like I was there. That made it worthwhile.