Based on Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose four cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naïveté and wild abandon, and imbued with Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.
©1955, 1957 John Sampas, Literary Representative, the Estate of Stella Sampas Kerouac; John Lash, Executor of the Estate of Jan Kerouac; Nancy Bump; and Anthony M. Sampas; (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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.
I have heard of this "classic" and read the stellar and profound reviews of those who have listened before me leading to great expectations. My experience was quite different, this read like a repetitive set of drunken road trips. I should have returned it after the first chapter, but I kept listening for the enlightenment that others referred to. It never came. So please forget that it is a "classic" and disregard the self perpetuating reviews and listen to it raw. I saw a naked king.
A great vegabond experience. Makes you want to hit the open road and have and adventure for yourself.
Wow, I am actually at a loss for words. I hated this book. What the heck was the point? I feel like maybe I needed to be stoned to get it? If it weren't for the amazing narration I would have stopped 1/4 of the way through. Now I regret not doing that.
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