I've always been a fan of the Beats, since my first reading of On the Road in high school. When I was in college, this fascination continued, especialI've always been a fan of the Beats, since my first reading of On the Road in high school. When I was in college, this fascination continued, especially in respects to Buddhism and the Beats. I remember once in an early composition class mentioning how my favorite thing about Beat writers was how real they were. "There's nothing 'special' about them; they're just like everyone else." I was always impressed with how well they could describe a random occurrence on the street or a simple emotion when crossing desolate plains at high speed. A girl in my class reprimanded me, saying, "How can you say they're real people, just like everyone else? THEY DID DRUGS!"
Well, yes, that's true, and Hippos is no exception. There's pot smoking and heavy drinking. Yet it's the way Burroughs and Kerouac write about the simple things - human emotions, the grittiness of NYC, friendship - that makes this book a classic along with the rest of them. It doesn't have the deep philosophical reveries as in their later works, but it still shows the personality and simplicity we've grown to know and love with this genre. It was a real treat....more