El's Reviews > On the Road

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
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Jan 10, 09

bookshelves: 20th-centurylit-late, modern-library-list-top-100-fiction, 1001-books-list, peer-pressure
Recommended to El by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (200/1001)
Read in January, 2009

Wow, so that's done.

So I'm not really a fan of the Beat generation. God knows I've tried. I think an old friend once had a couch given to her by her father who once knew Allen Ginsberg, and Allen Ginsberg once sat or slept on the couch. That was sort of cool, just because I like trivia like that. But as far as the authors go, I have a hard time really digging it. I have tried to read On the Road ever since I first picked it up probably about fifteen years ago. Each time I have put it back down after a few pages because I really can't make myself like Sal, and I especially can't make myself like Dean Moriarty.

But this time I really pushed myself, just so I can say that I've done it and I don't have to think about it anymore. I still don't like Dean Moriarty, and I have decided that Jack Kerouac and his buddies back then would have no chance of holding a real interesting conversation with me now. Now as I read I found myself making connections to Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, written some thirty years before On the Road was even conceived. I think Kerouac probably really liked Fitzgerald; I can at least appreciate some of Fitzgerald's writing, though the similarities between Fitzgerald and Kerouac's lives are pretty glaring and I can't stand behind either of them on a personal level.

Some surprises upon actually reading On the Road - the whole story does not take place on the road. For the amount of people who say that this story should be listened to in audio-book format while on the road, I was pretty convinced that the whole dang story took place inside a car. But the characters actually had outside lives and homes and weren't just transient beings, which added a level to the story I had not been anticipating.

Also, the ending of the book is possibly one of the best endings I have ever read. I won't ruin it for anyone, but I noticed that there actually was a point to the book by the end, and it wasn't just some guy's semi-autobiographical drug-induced musings. The relationship between Sal and Dean was about as realistic as you can get in terms of how friendships which once were the most important thing EVER suddenly aren't anymore. People change and forget to tell others is one of my most common sayings, and I was shocked to see Kerouac clearly felt the same way. He allowed that people can change, that life does go on, and that you can't hold onto the past forever. Before reading the book I thought he felt everything exactly opposite of that - more Live fast, die young, and anyone who felt differently was just a square.

Anyway, so I'm done with the book. I'm glad for that. I can not worry about it anymore. I can say I have read it and when someone says their favorite book EVER is On the Road I can call them out on it and hold an intelligent conversation about why they are out of their mind. But because of the few surprises I encountered throughout the story, I can't just flat-out hate it.

But really, Fitzgerald did it better.
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Reading Progress

01/07/2009 page 6
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message 1: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda Yay, congrats on finishing it!! :)


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