Reading Challenge Book Review: On the Road

Jack Kerouac: On the Road

Rating:  2.5/5 stars: Really Not My Cup of “Tea”

I listened to this book in my car over the course of a week and while I enjoyed it, particularly because of Matt Dillon’s narration, the whole story left me sort of saying “So What?”  I appreciate what this book did for the Beat Generation and the experiences that “Sal Paradise” had throughout the book were very interesting, I couldn’t help but think “these people are so selfish and self absorbed”.  I feel bad for all of the people that they left in their wake as they cavorted across country bedding underage girls, stealing cars, and smoking tea.  On a side note, I did think it was funny that until the very end of the book I actually thought they were smoking tea leaves and it wasn’t until Dean said “Mary-Ju-Wana” that I realized that it was weed all along.  Oh I’m so innocent. 

Most people know the story, but the quick synopsis is that Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) travels back and forth across the country with his insane friend Dean Moriarity (Neal Cassady) and basically wastes money, breaks hearts, and leave a ton of people in the wake of their destruction of borrowed property.  The part about it that is charming is that they didn’t really think that they were doing anything wrong.  They thought it was perfectly appropriate to make a few pennies at a job for a couple of weeks and then hit the road again on another adventure, simply to become bored, save up money, and hit the road again.  What a waste of time and resources.  And yet, it’s a terribly popular book, so I guess a lot of people did enjoy it.  I just didn’t love the characters.  I didn’t feel like even though they were doing all these stupid things that they were really good people or searching for their souls or whatnot.  They just seemed like a bunch of irresponsible, drunk, high, selfish “kids” in grown-up bodies.  But this is coming from a girl who thought that people smoked tea, so take it how you wish. 

*as a side note, this is finally being made into a movie and it stars the angst-ridden Kristen Stewart.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah
    Jul 28, 2010 @ 14:06:15

    Darma Bums is a WAY better Kerouac experience.


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