The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Imagine the world has gone to hell. It could be after an epic World War that wiped out most of civilization. It could be after a zombie apocalypse. It doesn't really matter. All that matters now is survival. Kids don't get to be kids anymore. They get to learn how to survive or they die. That's it.
One man faces this world alone with his young son. He regrets the life his child will never get to have, but at the same time knows that if he doesn't teach his son properly, it might cost him his life.
McCarthy paints a very dark picture in the post-apocalyptic world. There is no hope and no future. There is only surviving. The description of the man's internal struggle between wanting his son to enjoy an innocent childhood and learning to live in the chaotic and deadly real world is heart breaking. The agony that he feels every time his son asks questions about the past or is faced with horrific scenarios is felt on every page. You understand the man's battle, and know that there is no way this story will end happily.
The book was wonderfully written and filled with emotion. McCarthy doesn't sugarcoat the man's tragic dilemma and horrific life. Rather than focusing on what happened to get the world to this point, McCarthy deals with the aftermath of such an event. It was a unique, although devastating, read.
After reading this book, I was in great need of something light-hearted and happy. I highly recommend that you keep a happy book nearby as you read this one.
Recommended for those who enjoy: post-apocalyptic tales, moral dilemmas, and difficult parenting choices.