Steve's Reviews > On the Road

On the Road by Jack Kerouac
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's review
Jun 15, 09

bookshelves: own-print, own-audio
Read in May, 2009

As with many books, there are layers here. At the simplest layer, it's a travelogue about some friends and their often impromptu travels across the country (with one foray into Mexico) sometime post-WWII. On another level it's about the friendship between Sal and Dean (the characters who represent Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady). Many people in the book have grown weary of Dean and his mostly selfish way of life (including his own family, who have disowned him), but Sal appreciates Dean in a way that few others do.

One layer of this is a book about casual sex, drugs, and theft (including at least two cars), but another is about clinging to life and seeking it out when necessary--making it an adventure worth having.

This book is said to be important in helping define the beat generation of the 50's and early 60's, but the events of the book take place in the late 40's. The book isn't long, so doesn't require a huge commitment to read. The writing style used by Karouac in this book is a little rambling--sort of free-form--much like the jazz music that also defines the beat generation.

I enjoyed the book and the thought it inspired, but reserve five stars for my absolute favorites. So, although I recognize this book as quite important, and would recommend it to anyone, I give it four stars.
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