Jeff's Reviews > On the Road

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
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Aug 02, 2007

liked it
Recommended for: people with long hair.
Read in January, 2002

"Oh, yeah man, On the Road. Dude, that's a good story man. So good. Yeah man... so... dude, yeah, man... dude, bro..." I had been stuck with concessions, AGAIN! My friend was producing a play, and me not being an actor, or a director, or a sound or lighting technician, but wanting to help out, got stuck with selling tickets and concessions. So I brought my book to read, and the book was ON THE ROAD. I was halfway through the book. And I sort of liked it.
I was kind of getting into it. I could see it happening. I wanted to see myself driving back and forth across the country in the late 40s, early 50s (Is that when it took place? It's been awhile since I read it... and I can't say it all stuck with me). Then this happened.
There I was, minding my own business, reading my book, selling Sprites to anyone that wanted one, and this tiny, scrawny, long-haired, belt studded, black wearing hippie/cool/emo/rocker dude walks up to me and starts to talk to me about how he LOVED ON THE ROAD.
Really? Is this the target audience? Is it that cool to read Kerouac? Snap, snap daddio.
I guess so. I did like it while reading it. But since then, time has passed for me. And honestly, as more stuff goes into the brain, more and more of On The Road has been forgotten. Thus I guess it doesn't stand the test of time. Then again... I've never driven across the country, so maybe one needs that experience in order to... no wait, wait, I have driven across the country. Hmm... I've never listened to jazz in San Francisco? Listen: let me put it like this, reading On The Road is sort of like being a year into college, and you're having fun, and you're meeting new people, but you miss your old friends, and you miss the easy school assignments, and how little responsibility you had to deal with. You had this faux sense of happy nostolgia. Then you get a few years older, and then you're thinking, "No way in hell would I ever go back to high school, I don't care how hot Sunny Crane was, she's definitely not worth going back for, especially if I have to sit through another damn calculus class."
On The Road: Sure Sunny Crane was hot in high school, but is she hot now? Don't know, don't really care to find out, cause there are other things on my mind.
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message 1: by Gar (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:12PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gar Ver Reading this book is no where near as cool as talking about it. I'd be weary of anyone who thinks its a literary bible but I'd also be weary of anyone who thinks its "not writing but typing" (Norman Mailer I'm looking in your direction)

Nothing happens in this book. There are no ancient life-secrets being unearthed by the Benzedrine pulsing through Kerouac's brain. It's a wide portrait of a short period in one man's life.

It's a classic case of "its not what you do but how you do it." Kerouac's writing style and ear for the music in everyday speech is what makes this book what it is.

I would recommend this book be read before the age of 20. All the angst and wonder and optimism and ignorance of youth may be required to make these pages burn. It should also be read out-loud.

Note of interest : the love story element in the movie "Bottle Rocket" was completely lifted/inspired by a section of "On the Road"

Jack's (Sal's) love affair with Terry also happens to be one of the most emotionally mature as well as emotionally gut wrenching digressions of the book. Although there is no real beginning, middle, or end, I believe the climax of OTR is when he has to leave Terry behind, after overcoming every imaginable hardship together just to survive.

That being said, when Jack is around Dean Mortiary, the smooth talking, fast acting, ladies man, the book takes on a very masculine air. Jack idolizes Dean as being everything he is not and as a result his thoughts and actions consistently contradict each other.

He never really connects with Dean again after leaving Terry and his travels completely corrode until the end of the book. It's almost as if she tamed the lion and brought him down to earth for good.

For what its worth, even though it's his pop culture trophy, On the Road is probably the least representative of Kerouac's overwhelming sensitivity. "The Dharma Bums" and "Visions of Gerrard" (about the short life and slow death of his brother) are much better candidates.


s.penkevich Recommended for: people with long hair.
Yep. My life now makes sense ha


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