I picked this up after hearing about it from a fellow English teacher and former Assistant Principal, and I expected it to be a hard read but it was quite the contrary. The first thing that makes it a quick read is the fact that there are no chapters, there aren't any breaks. The story is compelling and heartbreaking but without unnecessary emotion - it feels completely authentic.
The Road is the story of a boy and his father traveling a road to get where it's warmer. The entire earth is burned and covered with dust and grey ash. They have to ransack and purge anything they can just to find food, and strain water through a cloth just to try to keep some of the ash out of it.
This story did a couple of things to me while reading. First, I was completely captivated, could not put it down at all. Second, I kept trying to decide which of my children were closest in age to the boy (I think my 7 year old Will is closest) and feeling sadness and remorse at a child that age witnessing what the boy has to witness. Third, I have rediscovered a desire to get more of my life and family's life in order with ample preparation - bullets, clothes, extra shoes sizes bigger and more canned goods.
It took me just over three hours to read this, and while I haven't read anything else of McCarthy's (and I have heard this is one of his easiest to read) I have a desire to read more. His writing in this book seemed very Hemingway-esque to me. I may pass on No Country for Old Men though because from what I saw in the movie premiers, it just doesn't seem appealing. I may change my mind in the future however.
This book is beautiful, moving and a must read.