Ruth's Reviews > Desolation Angels

Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac
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Apr 07, 10

Recommended for: people under forty years old.
Read from March 20 to April 07, 2010 — I own a copy

I have read this book a couple of times before. I started it seeking location of Olivia's quote. I still have not found that quote, but kept reading the book.

I have read many of Keouac's books. He was, at one time right up with Ernest Hemingway in my major arcana. But, Jack K., became too depressing for me. The sadness and depression became unbearable. I just could not handle all that misery on top of his personal story. His life was just as miserable and hopeless and the loops of despair that at one time were poetic and brimming with passion became sad yelps of day by day unpeaceful.
So I am wary of reading this book, but so far I have managed. The first part is the 40 days as a fire watcher on the mountain in Washington State to clear his head.
Now he is back in San Fran and there are some incredible paragrpahps about the streets of the city, the names of the places, the views. He is gorging on Chinese Food (who wouldn't) and getting re-adjusted to civilization.
I still have not found Olivia's quote about washing dishes, and am racking my mind to find it in other book. Dharma Bums?

I swear I will stop reading it if it makes me blue.


Well old Jack has his appeal, and for a few days I continued reading his wonderful descriptions. As expected, the sadness established itself. Poor, poor, poor Jack he remembers his boyhood with such nostalgia. He is sorrowful because of the memories and the now and he has regrets about his future already. His hardworking mother breaks his heart. Does he provide for her, no he is more of a sponge with occasional contributions...So in the end, I get tired of poor jack.

I am not able to speak the language of mental illness diagnoses, but he is clearly a damaged soul.

Anyway, I even dipped into the Dharma bums to see if I could scare up the quote, but had no luck.

Then, this morning, driving to work, I said to myself: I don't know why, I'm feeling kind of depressed. I had had a good morning, if you get my drift, and was heading for a busy day with no fears or tears in sight. And I said KEROUAC aha. Exact same thing happened when I listened to "On the Road"--the poignant, heart wrenching pages about America and modern life--depressing and meaningless and hard to manage.

So, am done w/ this book for a while. Review concluded.
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Quotes Ruth Liked

Jack Kerouac
“Now she is cuddling and kissing me all over and...Cody walks right in just as we're cooing (or haved cooed again) on the bed and he yells our "Ah just what I like to see in the morning, boys and girls!”
Jack Kerouac, Desolation Angels


Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Tara (new)

Tara Oh my god. I m depressed just reading your comment. You should see if JK has any books on the never finished list. This is a criteria for not finishing. But you already read the book. There should be a couldn't get through it the second time list.


message 2: by Olivia (new)

Olivia Ruth that Kerouac quote was actually inspired from a time you used that same quote in an old Twilight in Boston entry!! I haven't read Kerouac since I was in college (though I have my heavily marked up version in my apt.) and do not have a strong stance on his writing. Yeah, I'd agree with Tara, don't read things that make you blue! My sister tried to get into On the Road because her college love was into it, lol. Ru, you used to speak about wanting to go to Lowell to visit the Kerouac house/museum. I'd be down for that!


Ruth Excuse me while I look for the razor blades...just kidding. But it is terribly sad and I still have not found the dish washing quote...


message 4: by Olivia (new)

Olivia I would like a synopsis of Desolation Angels, your fav. Kerouac book, at some point, for my literary reference! :)


Ruth Olivia wrote: "I would like a synopsis of Desolation Angels, your fav. Kerouac book, at some point, for my literary reference! :)"
Half of the book is him on the mountain as a fire watcher. Then he heads to San Fran, then to Mexico, Europe, and back. The period is after he has written on the road but before it is published and before he gets any fame and fortune. So, he has to achieve some kind of peace with himself as an unsuccessful writer. Mixed results, in my opinion.


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