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Publisher's Summary

Few novels have had as profound an impact on American culture as On the Road. Pulsating with the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, illicit drugs, and the mystery and promise of the open road, Kerouac's classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be "beat" and has inspired generations of writers, musicians, artists, poets, and seekers who cite their discovery of the book as the event that "set them free".

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 (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

With hesitancy. It felt to me that parts of the the story went on and on. Not so sure my time was well spent.

What was one of the most memorable moments of On the Road?

No particular moment stands out, but I did love Kerouac's style of writing, his ability to paint a picture, a feeling, a character, with just a few words and to just carry you along.

Have you listened to any of Will Patton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Have not listened to Will Patton before, but based on this performance, I would be interested in more of his work. He was just perfect, I loved his voice for the role.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, not a suspenseful type of book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • r
  • spring lake, nj, United States
  • 03-06-13

What was all the hype about ????

What was most disappointing about Jack Kerouac’s story?

Mindless meandering.

How could the performance have been better?

No idea -- not even close to a worthwhile investment of time.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully crafted tale about utter scalawags

Where does On the Road rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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

Has On the Road turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes - I don't like those people very much

What does Will Patton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Wendy
  • United States
  • 11-19-12

Terrible

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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On the Road Again

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."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I Love this Audio Book!

What did you love best about On the Road?

A chance to enjoy this book in a new and different way! After 40 years of reading and re-reading ole' Jack - I have fallen in love all over again!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Dean-O, Baby! Honest, gritty, true, sensitive, life-affirming, self-depreciating, funny and real - I want to party "On the Road" with this guy!

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

He had a nice, soft voice that matches the tone of the book perfectly.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This book and others like it have moved me clear across the country and beyond - but, it's not enough! I could jump in the car any time and take a road-trip - a truly, All-American experience!

Any additional comments?

Whether you are discovering Jack for the first time or are a returning fan - what are waiting for!?!?!?! Gas up your ride and GO!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Brian
  • Worcester, MA, United States
  • 05-01-12

Great Listen!!!

If you could sum up On the Road in three words, what would they be?

Fun, interesting, captivating

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

He was emphatic when needed, and not where not. His voice is easy to listen to, and tells the story in a way that makes you want to keep listening.

Any additional comments?

I just found it well read, and a great story. Some audiobooks can take me a while to finish. This book went much quicker due to my desire to keep listening.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Incredible listen, Will Patton was fantastic!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have already recommended this book to many of my friends. Will Patton did a fantastic job narrating this classic American Iconic book. I should have read it long ago, but am so thrilled to have waited to hear it read too me. It was outstanding.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The ending of the book was a bit surprising and melancholy.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A trainwreck

This book already started pretty bad, so the only reason I finished it was because I could not believe it could continue being that bad and still have the reputation it has. I'm glad it was audiobook format, or I would not have managed it. Since I can't un-read it, I'll complain about it.

From what I understand, this is a memoir/journal of a character who travels places and does things with certain people. But the characters are all so painfully uninteresting I couldn't care less about any of them. They mostly drive through all of America, so the narrator sort of just names all the places they pass by, them having done absolutely nothing exciting in any of those places. And the main character, the narrator, isn't funny, isn't smart, isn't compassionate or anything else I could have maybe me amused by. He's actually a drunk misogynist jerk, and his friends are all jerks, but this book is trying to convey how ~coo~l they all are. It's kind of embarrassing.

Having there been nothing redeeming about the prose itself, I just feel really sorry I ever picked up this book.

About the audio version: it's finisheable, so the reader isn't half bad, I could't ever have finished this if I was reading it on paper, it was so terrible. So kudos to the reader.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Barry
  • Petaluma, CA, United States
  • 07-06-12

Was this supposed to be depressing?

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful