Privacy   |    Financial   |    Current Events   |    Self Defense   |    Miscellaneous   |    Letters To Editor   |    About Off The Grid News   |    Off The Grid Videos   |    Weekly Radio Show

REVIEW: ‘The Road’ Is A Gripping Prepper Novel Full Of Tragedy, Struggle And Hope

REVIEW: ‘The Road’ Is A Gripping Prepper Novel Full Of Tragedy, Struggle And Hope

A screen shot from the movie that is based on the bestseller.

I recently asked a fellow author and prepper to recommend a well-written prepper novel, and he replied without hesitation: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. I ordered the book through my rural lending library system right away.

To say that The Road is well-written is an understatement. The book – which won a Pulitzer Prize — contains wording so artfully constructed that I had to stop and ask myself if the book in my hand was one of prose or poetry. The imagery was graceful. The emotion was moving. The words flowed like water across the smooth stones of a brook bed.

However, when I mentioned the book to others who were familiar with it, McCarthy’s beautiful writing was not what most people commented on first. They said things like “dark,” “bleak” and “scary.” Those were the words I heard most when I talked with others. I read many reviews expressing similar sentiments, and I learned that the book had been made into a movie.

Spoiler alert: If you have not read the book or seen the movie and you want to, stop reading this review right here.

The Survival Water Filter That Fits In Your POCKET!

The book follows the journey of a man and his young son struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The father has made the decision that they can no longer remain in place and that they must travel south toward the coast in search of better options.

It is possible the man might be seeking solidarity with fellow survivors, as well, but he remains highly suspicious and guarded when encountering others—and with good reason. Society has broken down into a vicious dog-eat-dog world where everyone is clinging to their own survival by a thread and nobody is trustworthy.

McCarthy tells a lean tale. He doesn’t clutter the story with extraneous details. He doesn’t even give names to the characters—just “the man” and “the boy” and the title “Papa” in conversation. We are not told of their setting, but the mention that there used to be “states” and “state roads” implies it is America. We know it is a cold and snowy season.

There are few facts given about the event itself. We know only that it happened several years prior to the first chapter. Huge clusters of civilization have been burned to the ground and survivors were few. What little is left is covered with ash so thick and pervasive that it has left almost no flora or fauna.

There was once a wife and mother, but she is gone before the book begins. The boy’s birth happened at the same time as the apocalyptic event, and readers are given to understand that the three of them somehow cobbled together a life of survival for a period of years.

We learn early on that the struggle became too much for her. She chose to end her life rather than go on in a world so hopeless. It is a heartrending scene as the couple engages in an argument, each attempting to sway the other in that awful life-and-death decision—he begs her to stay, and she begs him to go with her.

Learn The Secrets and Tricks Of The Word’s Top Survivalists!

REVIEW: ‘The Road’ Is A Gripping Prepper Novel Full Of Tragedy, Struggle And Hope The man is determined to go on living, despite the stark living conditions, ever-present danger, and vast challenges. He forges on southward, protecting himself and his son from looters, murderers, cannibals, starvation and freezing as best as he can.

The little boy is anxious and fearful—he has lived his entire life in apocalyptic conditions, has trouble imagining having friends, and tastes his first Coca-Cola while on the journey south. His mother is gone, and his father has taught him that if he ever finds himself in a situation where he knows he will be tortured—or worse—that he is to follow in her footsteps.

But in spite of being a child born into a stark world that seems to deny any existence of a higher power, there is a certain celestial sense about the boy. There are hints throughout the book of him possessing a wisdom beyond his years and a compassion too deep to have been developed in his upbringing.

I caught myself wondering whether the wife had been right. Could the trauma and suffering possibly ever pay off?

Alternately, I was angry at her. If she had stayed, I thought, their lives would be better. Less alone. Less pressure on either of them as the sole caretaker of the other. It struck me that she had chosen out of selfishness, to the detriment of those she loved. I wondered: What would I have done in her shoes?

But the man had declared that they were survivors. To him, it wasn’t just an empty word. It was the mantra upon which he based every decision, every action, every sacrifice of making sure the boy was warmer and healthier and better fed than he himself was.

In the end, the father sacrificed everything he had. He gave his all to make the best possible life for his son, never making time for his own body to recover from whatever malady had struck him, and the malady won the day.

But hopelessness does not win. In this story of tragedy where it seems that the only way out is to follow the path taken by his wife, the man chooses a different one. He chooses life for his son. Even knowing that the odds are stacked high against the boy, he chooses hope and life.

New 4-Ounce Solar Survival Lantern Never Needs Batteries!

“Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again,” McCarthy tells us.

The boy sits with his father’s body for three days before a stranger comes along.  And somehow, the stranger does bring goodness. He assures the boy that he is one of the good guys and that he doesn’t eat people, helps him tend to his father’s remains, and takes him home to join his family.

The mother talks to the boy about God, but she tells him it’s alright if he talks to his father instead.

Incredibly, despite a journey of cold horror, human tenderness and warmth carry the day.

I keep the book at the back of my mind as I go about my own life. Sometimes I think about the strength and tenacity of the father, or the beauty of the son’s compassion for others. I remind myself that I’m doing the right thing by tucking away extra food and supplies for a rainy day. I ponder the implications of the evening news. Mostly, though, I feel grateful—for food, and warmth, and shelter, and community. And above all, I am grateful for hope.

Have you ever read The Road? What was your reaction to it? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Learn How To ‘Live Off The Land’ With Just Your Gun. Read More Here.

© Copyright Off The Grid News


  1. It was a brilliant book.

  2. I did watch the movie, and if it what I saw resembled the book, then I can relate. I was born into a well do to family, however a drunken, abusive father whom went insane and left, had us wind up on welfare. After several years, I became a dirty runt on the city streets. My two younger brothers and I did what we could do earn money. We cut grass and deliver papers. However, we we’re always hungry, always afraid to go home because of being beaten by our Mother -whom blamed us for her miserable standards of living. Eventually I suffered greatly from malnutrition and was hospitalized, and nearly died. I was 9 then.

    Social and Health services place me into foster care, and eventually I wound up being adopted by a family whom owned a small farm. It wasn’t a professional farm. A few cows, pigs and chickens and a large garden. It was almost off the grid living. In the 80’s, that was the norm. People were still following the advice of their great grandparents about being self-sufficient. It was hard work that whipped me back into shape.

    I joined the Navy right out of high school and I toured much of the Mediterranean. I learned that I was not alone in struggling to live, and I quickly learned how lucky I was to call America my home. I literally kissed the ground upon my return.

    After military service, I went to school and got a job as an engineer and raised a family with 5 kids. It was a good life. Then, the crash 2008 put me out of work, and we nearly lost everything. However, unlike my father before me, I didn’t turn to drinking and quit. I simply accepted it and did what I could to keep from losing our home. My struggles as a youth on the street had weaponized my soul against strife.

    I eventually found steady work and climbed out of my debts. Only now, do we face the even greater threat of a much larger event. I’m certain that the message Mr. McCarthy has presented in his book is that no matter what odds you face, there’s no greater threat than losing hope.

    Yes. It’s gonna be bad. Yes. You’ll be cold. Yes. There will be pain and hardship. Accept it. Done. I have a family that depends on me. They do not have my experiences on living on the street. I cannot leave them alone to defend themselves. I’m ready to do whatever it takes. However, some of you will not be ready. Some of you will not make tough choices and take action. In a world of limited resources.. you will not be missed. By giving up all hope, you’ve already lost.

    Here’s my advice. Start missing some meals. Start exercising. Turn the heat down and acclimate to the cold. Put the phone down, spend less time in front of the tube. Get right with your thinking and learn to ignore hunger and pain. Then, gear up. There’s an adventure coming. You’re gonna be a part of history, (we already are). If nothing every happens, then gain some perspective and know that you were willing to face it. That puts you into the top 3%. If it does go south. Then survive this. Those of us whom do, will have a greater say and involvement in what needs to be done to correct things. Most importantly, never give up hope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *