I would only recommend it to friends who are open minded.
I loved getting a snapshot of the late 40's early 50's in America. Not the "Leave it to Beaver" b.s. but reality.
Writer of Songs, Musician, Photographer & Artist. Reader of History, Non-Fiction, Music, Science & Cosmology.
Will Patton is a fantastic narrator. I felt as if he were living Jack Keroauc. The beat generation was what I looked up to as a Pre-teen. I loved listening to the stories as if I was the protagonist. I have wanted to read On the Road Again for decades. I'm glad to have finally listened to the book by one of the best narrators I have heard to date.
The two things that might have made this read more enjoyable would have been to have read it 40 years ago, or to have been a male, coming of age, with a sense of adventure but zero life experience.
Something light, with a sense of humor.
The performance was just fine, but the story is no longer relevant.
As a San Francisco resident I found the historical descriptions of the area fascinating.
As many of the writings of this time, On the Road is trivializes females on a level that is insulting today.
No idea -- not even close to a worthwhile investment of time.
I have heard about this book for years and as a lark figured what the heck - all that vibe -- it must have been pretty good. No way. Just a continuous feed of meaningless dribble which was supposed to have been a mind opening exploration of self and country. It was more like a stream of unconsciousness.
Great reader, stellar use of the English language. Helps me understand what was wrong with the Hippie movement. The idealism was drowned by a confusion of freedom with self-centered self-indulgence
Yes - I don't like those people very much
He did a great job with the reading, but I can't say that any reader can put words in my head better than reading something for myself.
When one of Sal and Neal's friends girlfriend had the money to finance their trip, and she wouldn't go unless the friend married her, so he did. Then at the first opportunity they dump her with some relatives and continue merrily along with none of them expressing an iota or remorse or concern for her feeling or her welfare. I was "moved". I wondered how many people admired those "mad ones" whose madness is based solely on self-gratification without giving a damn about anyone else, least of all the women (and incidental children) in their lives.
If it weren't for Kerouac's command of the language it would be an unbearable bromance of a couple of creeps. How much of the Hippie exodus to San Francisco was inspired by this book? I have always identified as a leftist, but reading this book helped me understand what conservatives disliked about Beats and Hippies. I was too young in the 60's to fully understand what was going on.
I was excited to read this book but found it rambled on & on & never really had a storyline I could follow. I felt like it was a waste of my time.
An academic who listens to novels on runs and commutes to campus.
Along with Ginsberg's length poem, Howl, On the Road defines the literature of the Beat Generation. Discussing this book with my friends, we came to realize that our relative appreciation for the book depended on when we first encountered it. Those who came to the book at a younger age were more enthusiastic than those who came later to the book. The qualities of Kerouac's writing are well-known, but I think that the crazed aspect of Beat literature overlooks some beautiful prose that describes the American landscape. In particular, as a native New Orleanian who grew up in Algiers, I found the description of Algiers and New Orleans as some of the more beautiful writing of the 20th century. But all of the beautiful descriptions get overwhelmed by Dean Moriarity, haunting the text with his incessant "Yeah" and "Dig that."
I like Kerouac. I like On the Road. I love audiobooks. And I was very disappointed with this one. The narration, for me, is way too "acted", especially the main character/narrator, who is performed throughout the book in a sort of amazed half-whisper. When Kerouac writes for example "Dean lived in a shack with his wife", it sounds like "Dean lived in a _shack_ with _his_wife_!". Now read an entire book like this and you'll see what I mean. It is bearable, but just barely. To make sure I wasn't missing anything, I watched an old video of Kerouac himself reading from the book and he didn't sound like that.
Obviously, this is a matter of personal taste. But I wish I had bought the other version available here.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
It's taken me a long time to get around to this book. I expected it to deal with alienation and the origins of the counterculture. I didn't expect the lives of the characters to be so remarkably empty. I think I'd gotten the impression that the Beats had somehow managed to find fulfilling internal lives even as they embraced the existential meaninglessness of life. But what I found instead was pretty much the exact opposite: characters skating along in subsistence lifestyles while avoiding any internal growth or even reflection. Is this the way other people have experienced this book? My sense is that Kerouac intended this, and that Dean Moriarty is supposed to represent the failure of these people to bridge the gap between what they aspired to and what they were able to achieve.
I haven't read the print edition. But yes, yes, yes. Kerouac's prose is often transcendent, yet he might have benefitted from an editor, and he and Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady) strike me as self-absorbed, self-indulgent, misogynistic lunks with way too much time, alcohol and marijuana on their hands. But Will Patton as narrator - OH.MY.GOSH. He NAILS this. His delivery is flawless, tender and wondrous. I've always liked Patton as an actor, but in listening to him perform this book I came to realize how immensely talented he really is. Worth listening to the book just for his performance. Masterful. Truly.
As someone who prefers her men to be emotionally stable, physically present and, if at all possible, employed, the main characters would not make my Top 100 list. And it is really all about them (in the book and in their lives) so it's hard to come up with a favorite character. Maybe the much-wronged but patient Camille, who is, regrettably, married to Dean.
Probably Dean Moriarty, as Patton perfects his verbal tics with his delivery. But the road itself is as much a character as any of the people, and the cities of Denver and San Francisco and New York, and the country of Mexico - these are the best characters.
"...the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes 'Awwww!'"
Maybe I'm being too harsh on Jack and Dean (Neal). This book truly is a hallmark of its times and thus, is rightfully considered a classic. But for me, Patton makes this classic a true classic.