Muahahahaha Bookworms! (Did you enjoy my maniacal monster laugh?!) Today is the official beginning of Hallo-Week, so I’m going to celebrate by discussing some of the books that scare the crap out of me. I have probably mentioned this before, but I’m not a huge fan of ghost stories, demonic possessions, and the usual frightful fare. I’m sort of a chicken and I don’t like having nightmares. Just because I don’t dig the traditional supernatural horror stories, doesn’t mean I haven’t read anything horrifying… Stephen King I may have to take in measured doses, but I have some terrifying tales to share with you! First on the list of books that scare the boogers out of me: The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
The Road is the story of a man and his young son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. I read dystopias all the time… So why is this one so flim-flamming scary? This book paints the absolute BLEAKEST apocalypse scenario I’ve ever read.
Some unexplained catastrophe has wiped out most of human life on earth. It’s also decimated the plant life, sea life, and animal life. There are a few humans left rattling around the planet, but it’s not pretty. Most of the survivors belong to cannibalistic gangs. Growing food isn’t even an option! Somehow whatever happened (meteor strike maybe?) has put the planet in a hazy fog and the lack of sunlight has killed all the vegetation. It’s horrifying. The survivors who don’t feast on the flesh of their fellow men or barbecue babies scavenge for canned goods and hiding places.
The man and his young boy are never named, but they’re each other’s entire worlds. They carry around a gun containing two bullets, just in case. Better to die swiftly than be captured and harvested for meat. This book follows the man and boy on their journey across the desolate landscape looking for a safe place to call home.
A side effect of the cataclysm is a permanently tainted air supply. The boy and his father constantly wear masks to try and filter the ash, but the pollution has taken its toll on the man. What do you do for a chronic lung ailment when there are no doctors and no medicine? I won’t give away everything, but I will tell you there’s no happily ever after to lull you to sleep at night.
This book disturbed me on many levels. First, it’s always a shock to remember just how quickly “society” could fall by the wayside in the event of a catastrophe. Second, there is just no hope. They can’t escape to a nice little farm somewhere and make a life and refuge for themselves, because nothing will grow. There is no sun. The soil is depleted. Trees are toppling over at the roots. Even if they can survive the marauding packs of cannibals, where are they going to go? What are they going to do? There is absolutely no escape and it scares me silly. Heebie jeebies all over the place.
What’s the most frightening book you’ve ever read? Was it scary in a traditional sense or more of a I’m-about-to-have-a-panic-attack-thinking-about-this way?