On the Road by Jack Kerouac

So one of the books on my list of 100 books that you must read in your life has not been available to me in any used book store I have been to. Finally, two years or more of searching I finally got the book. Oh Keroauc, one of the best American novelists of our age. Or so that’s what all the reviews are of.

In short, the novel is of the main character Sal and his travels across the United States from New York to California to Denver to Chicago through Texas and go back and do it again! And thats the plot of the story: go to this town, sleep with this girl, spend all their money on food or whatever, then get a temporary job and get another car and be on their way to another town and guess what? Restart the cycle!

This is going to be an extremely short post because it took all of my strength to get through this novel. I began it on my travels to Europe for I thought “oh a travel book would go well with another travel book.” Lets just say I hardly read it while in Germany, for it was so boring. When I got back I just powered through and finally finished it, thank goodness.

In reality, the book had two major flaws: the stupidity of the characters and their lackadaisical manner through life was a real turn off and Kerouac’s writing style. The characters never finished anything they started. They were always moving on to a new city, whether because drugs or they got bored, they never completed anything. The happiness with being poor and not establishing any routes in a city is such a bad portrayal of Americans. Perhaps a fraction of Americans do it, but this book gave us a bad name. Now, Kerouac’s writing style was like run-on sentences.  Every paragraph was not a coherent thought, but multiple coherent thoughts. They were not very complex but almost gave a bit of intellectual whiplash. “Sal is in this city with these friends. He got sick and tired of the city, and got on a bus to New York. Now he is in Texas enjoying the heat and thinking he may stay in the Midwest.” All in one sentence!

Anyway, I guess there are many people who enjoy this book and think this is an American classic. It may be, but it is neither well-written nor one of my must reads. Go for it if you are bored, but beware, you may be even more bored.


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