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Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46 (Duluoz Legend)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  1,214 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Originally subtitled "An Adventurous Education, 1935-1946," Vanity of Duluoz is a key volume in Jack Kerouac's lifework, the series of autobiographical novels he referred to as The Legend of Duluoz. With the same tender humor and intoxicating wordplay he brought to his masterpieces On the Road and The Dharma Bums, Kerouac takes his alter ego from the football fields of sma ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published 1994 by Penguin Books (first published 1967)
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On the Road by Jack KerouacThe Dharma Bums by Jack KerouacBig Sur by Jack KerouacThe Subterraneans by Jack KerouacDesolation Angels by Jack Kerouac
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16th out of 19 books — 87 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,213)
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Jun 14, 2009 Cherie rated it really liked it
A- My first Kerouac

My cousin was hitchhiking across the country. "He read Jack Kerouac's On the Road and now he is not wearing a coat but a blanket and thumbing," my aunt told my parents worriedly.

"Can I go to the library?" I asked.

"Why?" my mom responded.

"I want to get a book by Jack Keriowac."

"No, I am not taking you for that!"

I rode my bike, found out how to spell Kerouac, and On the Road was not in--that's one of the most stolen books from libraries and bookstores. Instead, V of D was in. I
Max Nemtsov
Dec 01, 2014 Max Nemtsov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translated
Это роман «про футбол и войну». Понятно, преувеличение и кокетство автора, потому что он еще и про знаменитое убийство Каммерера, и про начала «битников», и про много что другое. Но первая треть — действительно почти исключительно про футбол и стоны о том, как нашего героя недооценивали на поле. Более нелепого идиотизма мне читать, наверное, не доводилось, это действительно, видимо, худшее из им написанного. Но стоит продраться сквозь эту первую треть — и дальше все будет хорошо, а под конец и в ...more
Trevor Jones
Jun 09, 2008 Trevor Jones rated it it was amazing
An old man writes of his younger days...

Surprisingly to most people, this is my favorite Kerouac volume. I've probably read it at least four or five times now; I'm now deliberately spacing my readings out to where I can forget parts and revisit the ways it's made me felt.

The big difference here with Vanity is that Kerouac's explosive writing from the late '40s onward was now at something of an impasse: by the mid-'60s, he had told most of his life story and was running out material. The arch of
Jul 18, 2013 Reid rated it liked it
Recommends it for: (felt like 2.5 *)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Distress Strauss
Jul 24, 2007 Distress Strauss rated it liked it
Having written up Exley's Fan's Notes, I thought I'd add another book I'd consider more heroic than successful. I believe this was the last novel Kerouac published during his lifetime, and he had drunk much of his talent away, as well as turned his back on the counterculture that he did much to inspire. Yet his entire sense of self is based in the fact that he's a writer, so he pushes on, delving into archives and memory, dredging up his years at Columbia and the Lucien Carr/David Kammerer stabb ...more
Shashi Martynova
Не могу я объяснить гипнотический эффект, который оказывает на меня Керуак. Тут до кучи и разговорность, и детскость, и безалаберность, и... бабочка письма, не знаю, извините.
ПСС Керуака следовало бы назвать "Восемнадцать способов рассказать, как я прожил, прочуял, разглядел и выпил эту вашу так называемую жизнь".
Это любовь.
Dec 11, 2012 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading On the Road last month I decided I needed to read everything that Kerouac wrote. This was the next thing I was able to find by him. It was listed as the book about "football, war and murder" and while I'm no big fan of football I figured what the hell and decided to read it anyway. It was written 15 years after On the Road and covers most of Kerouac's life up to that point. He's definitely an older and more bitter writer but he still writes very well and I found I did enjoy it a gr ...more
Patrick Santana
Mar 09, 2013 Patrick Santana rated it it was amazing
Kerouac, the man, comes through with shining clarity in this final work. His voice so direct and sharp, it's like he's in the room with me, talking to me. I could imagine him half-drunk, composing these short rough chapters of memory. For fans of Kerouac, the angry, blunt, frank stories and observations in Vanity of Duluoz tumble forth like gifts from a lost world. Despite all his bitterness (and some rather silly football passages), the book rings with truths about our condition as people. It l ...more
Jesse Toldness
May 07, 2015 Jesse Toldness rated it liked it
Kerouac was a lot of things, but he was not, in the end, an author of fiction. A career autobiographer, the skill in his writing was not in creating what he told (in truth, he created very little of it, except insofar as we all edit and create a little bit when we remember) but in how he told it. And this, his last work, is more blatantly autobiographical than most, even the thin veneer of fiction most of his books maintain by changing the names of the people he knew has started to show holes an ...more
GK Stritch
Jul 16, 2014 GK Stritch rated it really liked it
Football, war, and murder . . . the vanities of a young man coming of age, and the young man is young Duluoz of Lowell.

"But my hands werent sea-netted and chapped by rope and wire . . . at present time I was a scullion. I'd vaguely hear of Shakespeare yelling about that, he who washes pots and scours out giant pans, with greasy apron, hair handing in face like idiot, face splashed by dishwater . . . Oh the pots and pans the racket of their fear, the kitchen of the sea, the Neptunes down here, t
Jason Hillenburg
Feb 04, 2012 Jason Hillenburg rated it really liked it
A painful, bitter account of Kerouac's early years in New York City. Unlike some of Kerouac's work where things don't quite snap into place unless you know the principles behind his gallery of fictional stand-ins, Vanity of Duluoz overcomes that deficiency through the sheer power of Kerouac's garrelous, weary voice. Written near the end of his life as he slipped into the final stages of alcoholism, the book is better than it has any right to be.
Feb 26, 2014 Subvert rated it it was ok
First Kerouac book I read, I didnt know much about him. Just recognized his name and heard others raving about On The Road before. As Im travelling around myself I thought this may be a good read. I have no idea how it compares to On the Road, but I didnt find it too interesting. As the title kind of gives away, this is just a guy constantly bragging about his amazing life, his football skills, the friends he met, the books he read, the girls he laid (what a sexist prick by the way), the intelle ...more
Mar 08, 2009 Drew rated it liked it
This was pretty good. Tells of Jack's footballing years, how it wasn't in the cards, and what he did shortly after giving up his footballing dreams. Good for some pretty beat lines interspersed.
Nov 16, 2015 Mowey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Everybody who comes from New Orleans in that group is marked with tragedy."

i remember the fever of youth in Jack Kerouac. i remember the carelessness of college days. the hormones acting up and us saying, hey we're so much better than that. i remember breaking out of the box and letting the inner kid in us rule. our endless wanderings. our proclivities to art. our love for reading books. i remember shouting at the top of my lungs when me and my friends get drunk. or eating chocolate sundae fud
Oct 03, 2010 Nfpendleton rated it it was amazing
This is the bitter old Jack, gone all nostalgic. My personal favorite. "Go droppeth a turd," indeed.
Mar 03, 2013 Kate rated it did not like it
Boring and uninspired. Not the Kerouac I know or love.
Dane Cobain
May 24, 2013 Dane Cobain rated it it was amazing
You've read On the Road, right? Vanity of Duluoz is like its little brother, the last novel that Kerouac released before he died in 1969, due to an internal hemorrhage caused by cirrhosis (from a lifetime of heavy, heavy drinking) along with complications caused by an untreated hernia and a bar fight that he'd been in. What a lad.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, it's pronounced to rhyme with 'to lose' - took me a while to figure that one out. Jack Duluoz is Kerouac's alter ego, and he's used as
Feb 20, 2010 Poonze rated it really liked it
Shelves: beat
Although written when Kerouac was well into alcohol, I found this book an intersting read, especially since, while reading this at night before bed each night, I was reading by day the Town and The City, which more or less deals with the same time period. The energy of youth found in Kerouac's earlier works isn't evident hear, but taking it's place is an older and maybe wiser Kerouac, you get the sense that he knows what he likes and is set in his ways. I loved his many little chapters and his r ...more
Dec 11, 2014 Matti rated it did not like it
Jonkinlainen semi-omaelämänkerrallinen keitos Kerouacin opiskeluvuosien tapahtumista, joissa kantavana teemana on teoksen alkupuolella jenkkifutiksen pelailu ja loppupuolella ura kauppalaivastossa.

Sekava kokonaisuus, josta oli vaikea saada otetta ja tempoileva tyyli alkoi puuduttaa jo teoksen alkupuolella. Eipä jäänyt oikein mitään sanottavaa tästä.
Oct 02, 2013 Melanie rated it really liked it
I've had this book on my bookshelf for a long time now, and just completed reading it. Kerouac is from my hometown of Lowell, MA, and his childhood house is right in my old neighborhood. I loved reading his accounts of his life back in Lowell--and what ultimately was the sequence of events that eventually led him to become a writer. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the very end, even more particularly, this quote:

"But, wifey, I did it all, I wrote the book, I stalked the streets of life
Feb 05, 2015 Beverly rated it really liked it
If you've never read any Kerouac, this one will give you a decent start. He's stream of consciousness all the way, relating his life story (more or less) to "wifey." It's not my favorite Kerouac book but I enjoyed becoming reacquainted with him.
Feb 03, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat-generation
Kerouac's American football, College, living with parents, joining the Navy, travelling to England during the war, in London, Claude and murder. Marriage, eventual drug downward spiral mental institution. Great read
Jul 13, 2012 Joe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: duluoz-legend
This was, so far, my favorite book in the Duluoz Legend. I did have a very difficult time accessing a copy of it though as book stores in my area do not carry it. I managed to find a well-read and somewhat mangled copy at a local bookstore which, in a way, suited the situation. From his opening scene describing an automobile until the very end where he describes the death of his father I felt like I truly was on the bridge to reading "On The Road" yet another time. Sad that this was his last boo ...more
Nov 24, 2014 J. rated it it was ok
I bought this because I wanted to see how Kerouac wrote about Kammerer's death later on in his career. I'm not a huge fan of Kerouac to begin with,so the material leading up to the Lucian Carr/Kammerer material wasn't all that interesting to me. The snazzy bebop writing that crackles with life in the early work just lies flat on the page, here. If you're interested in the Carr material, read ...And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks, instead. The constant fuck-up cycle of the Duluoz character ...more
Aug 22, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: kerouac
I really enjoyed Kerouac's almost off-the-cuff attitude on his own life in this book. He devotes a large part of the story to his upbringing in Lowell and time at Columbia, with another fair portion devoted to the Merchant Marines and his wanderings around the Northeast in an attempt to find something to settle into. You can tell that he was never quite satisfied with anything but writing, but at the same time he seemed determined to try (maybe the blue-collar Lowell upbringing).

If you're a fan
Manheim Wagner
May 17, 2014 Manheim Wagner rated it liked it
Although there are many poetic passages in The Vanity of Duluoz, the book feels like a book written by a man (with limited time left) who is trying to fill a gap in his legend of books.
Angel Serrano
El polémico escritor pasa revista a su vida desde que comenzóa jugar a fútbol americano en la escuela secundaria con trece años, hasta el fin de la II Guerra Mundial y la muerte de su padre, cuando ya tenía venticuatro años.mrealismo descarnado con la perspectiva de veinte años pasados.
May 27, 2008 Fredrik rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who has read kerouac's other works
den gamle keruoac, 45 år gammal, skriver om sitt liv och sin gärning i sin typiskt direkta stil. höjdpunkten kommer när keruoac beskriver hur han sticker sig i fingret och i sitt eget blood skriver 'the blood the poet' (eller motsvarande) för att sedan, i ensamhet och total koncentration (drugs, anyone?) författa sin första bok. påhittat eller inte, det ger bränsle åt myten -- och så fortsätter det boken igenom.

jag fick inga stora skalv av välmående under läsningen, och heller inga djupa insikte
Alexander Scott
Apr 13, 2015 Alexander Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'all is vanity'. good book, bitter throughout, sad, unapologetic. interesting to hear about his education as well as the carr killing, also interedting to hear how his various relations and friendships developed.
Jerry Carnes
Jul 31, 2016 Jerry Carnes rated it really liked it
I need to re-read On The Road. Had no idea Kerouac was so influenced by the Bible, and in particular, the book of Ecclesiastes. "There is nothing new under the sun. All is vanity."
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 73 74 next »
  • Jack Kerouac: Angelheaded Hipster
  • Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • Jack's Book: An Oral Biography of Jack Kerouac
  • Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, And America
  • Kerouac: A Biography
  • Go
  • You'll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac
  • Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats
  • The First Third
  • Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg
  • Interzone
  • The Voice is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac
  • Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of On the Road (They're Not What You Think)
  • The Further Inquiry
  • Memoirs of a Beatnik
  • Poets on the Peaks
  • The Happy Birthday of Death
  • The Fall of America: Poems of These States 1965-1971
Born on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac's writing career began in the 1940s, but didn't meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, from an abdominal hemorrhage, at age 47.
Early Life

Famed writer Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Keroua
More about Jack Kerouac...

Other Books in the Series

Duluoz Legend (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings
  • Visions of Gerard
  • Dr. Sax
  • The Town and the City
  • Maggie Cassidy
  • On the Road
  • Visions of Cody
  • The Subterraneans
  • Tristessa
  • The Dharma Bums

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“I realised either I was crazy or the world was crazy; and I picked on the world.

And of course I was right.”
“If you dont [sic] say what you want, what's the sense of writing?” 9 likes
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