On the Road

50th Anniversary Edition
Narrated by: Will Patton
Length: 11 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (3,193 ratings)

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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.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

My Favorite Narration and a Wonderful Book

I estimate I've listened to over a hundred audio books so far. When I try to convince people that they should check out audio books, I always pick this "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac narrated by Will Patton as the first thing they should hear.

There are many books that I am so glad to have heard (the Hyperion series, the Enders Game series, even Atlas Shrugged and of course Armor).

But I don't think I could hear in my head any book as well from paper as Will Patton reads this one out loud. He's poetical, exhuberant, exciting, and makes this whismical and joyous appreciation of life become contagious.

On the road reminds me that there's so much to appreciate in every little thing, and Will Patton is that extra boost to make this great book the best.

95 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Remarkable Characterization

This text has obviously stood the test of time, ushering in the groovy mindset of the 60's. Mr. Kerouac certainly sets the tone for a decade. A fine book.

However, my main praise is reserved for the narrator, Will Patton. He gives a voice, and a whole 3 dimensional characterization of the unstoppable, wild, yet lovable Dean Moriarity. An unforgettable job. Worth a listen just to admire Will do his job with this "rat".

43 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What a wild ride!

I first experienced the wonder of On the Road in 1969 and deemed it "far out" (along with just about everything else!). Listening to it these many moons and schools and experiences later I found it just as mind blowing as that first read. My great joy this time was listening to Will Patton's magical interpretation. His melodious, southern-tinged voice is perfect for the ra-ta-tat-tat rhythm of Kerouac's words, pulling me into Sal's world in a way my old 17 year-old brain couldn't possibly have understood. Thanks, Will. Beautifully done.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not What I Expected

For me, Will Patton's performance was the saving grace for this audiobook, this was not what I expected. I'd never read On The Road, but had preconceptions that the book would be filled with Beat-philosophy (whatever that would be), and romanticism of the open road. Maybe that's what I got, but I just didn't like what it all turned out to be?

Now, who am I to say what's good and what's bad from a literary point of view? This was my first exposure to Kerouac, and I found his writing style to be an energetic randomness of pointless wandering. For me, there were moments of greatness, but they were few and far between, and the entire story felt like the original "[story] about nothing".

I'm glad I "read" it, and Patton's performance was probably the BEST of any audiobook, but I feel like it's something I've checked off a list. Done and done.

24 people found this helpful

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A bible!

I have some friends who have decleared this book their bible, and I can see why. It really changes your view of the world.
Will Patton as a narrator is perfect for this novel. He reads it incredibly fast though, so strap up. But that is how this novel needs to be read, because the story takes place is such a pace.
A must-read and a definite five star book!

22 people found this helpful

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Classic

What made the experience of listening to On the Road the most enjoyable?

This book is of course a classic. I read it once a long time ago and then recently went through the audiobook version. In parts where I struggled to stay completely engaged years back, the narrator keep you fully in the story here. He is simply amazing. His ability to change tones and tempos with the character bring a whole new life to them: It feels like he fully captures the mania and passion of good ol' Dean Moriarty. Quite possibly one of the best narrators I've ever heard.

18 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved Will Patton's narration

This audio book was very successful in capturing the crazy life of Jack Kerouac. I loved Patton's cool way of capturing that time in his life.

10 people found this helpful

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Heard about this book

Since the book is 50+ years old, you hear different references about the book through your life...So I decided to read it.....It was great...Performance was awesome...I'm not sure how Sal stayed with his crazy buddy, but it made for some entertaining stories...I would put this on your "Read someday list"....

9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful