Ok, I've heard about this book for years and always wanted to read it. There was even a "Quantum Leap" episode about this book that I loved. So can you imagine how disappointed I was to discover that the book was about a bunch of sick, self-centered, narcissistic freeloaders, who not only didn’t give a damn about the law, but treated everyone they met like garbage. These hoodlums roar around in their own self-indulgence, stealing whatever they can, and taking advantage of anyone stupid enough to get near them. They father children and abandon them, marry women and treat them like dirt, and laugh while other people suffer in order to get their “kicks.” It boggles my mind that so many people find “inspiration” in this book. I’m certainly no prude, and I grew up as a “hippie” but even the lowest rats that I knew cared more about their fellow men that the douche-bags in this book.
I read on the road on paper a few years back, and I enjoyed listening to the story again. And the reading is very good. But I think the spontaneity of the writing style is experienced much more extreme when reading the paper yourself.
I couldn't tell if this was a coming of age story of a story about mental illness. The narrator made the best of it but it was unsatisfying as a story.
He did his best considering the material. He was put in a rough position and did the best anyone could have done.
None of them were extraordinary. No one memorable. It's a memoir of a guy hitchhiking who can only see the worst in women , and worships a man named Dean.
I guess in it's time is was interesting to young people. That was half a century ago.
The writing was not what I expected. More of a chronicle of events than anything interesting or profound. Most of my book club did not choose to finish it.
Will Patton's reading of this work, captures every ounce of the Beat era flavor. There is no finer reading of this work available. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
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.