If you're looking for a book to cheer you up, The Road isn't it. I'm going to make this review short and simple: the writing is superb, the book itself is beyond depressing. Which actually isn't much of a suprise, considering it's by Cormac McCarthy, author of such other cheery works as No Country for Old Men.
I will give McCarthy points for getting one thing right with a post-apocalyptic novel. One of my pet peeves are the authors who seem to think it would be possible to scrounge indefinitely in the ruins of grocery stores and abandoned houses for canned goods and other supplies. McCarthy actually talks about rusting and bulging cans and stuff no longer being usable. It's also a very readable book. I can remember picking up one of McCarthy's earlier novels and never finishing it. That didn't happen this time: The Road sucks you right in, and the next thing you know you've read the whole thing.
The Road is supposedly being released as a movie in October of this year. Considering that the plot makes The Postman and most other post-apocalyptic stories seem like buddy comedies in comparison, I'm not sure who's going to go see it -- especially when the cast list includes such fun roles as Cannibal #1, Baby Eater, and Well-Fed Cannibal -- but maybe casting Viggo Mortenson and Charlize Theron will guarantee enough ticket sales to at least pay production costs.
LegalMist is reading The Road, too, and will be posting a review soon (if it's not up already). I'm curious to see if her response to the novel differs much from mine.
[Would my reaction have been different if I hadn't just come off that week of jury duty on a trial that involved a double homicide? I don't know. I do know I was depressed when that sad affair ended, and The Road did nothing to improve my mood.]