On the Road (Jack Kerouac)

On the Road is a novel by Jack Kerouac.

After his divorce, Sal decides to go on a road trip to visit his new friend Dean and hook up with some old friends in Denver. Sal is fascinated with Dean’s energy and joie de vivre. For a while, Sal travels alone, then he travels together with Dean and other people, always looking for the next party and the next kick.

On the Road starts off well, but then it gets pretty repetitive and boring and reached the point where I just wanted things to be over. The last 60 pages were more torture than actual reading and if it hadn’t been so short before the end, I’d probably not have finished it at all.

Before reading I doubted whether I would like On the Road, and then I started and the first 100 pages or so were absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately, that didn’t hold up. At some point it just got really tiring to read about this drug experience or that party and that crazy thing. Probably because I just didn’t like any of those characters.

Especially not Dean. Oh boy, I really didn’t get the fascination Sal had with him and that is probably necessary to enjoy this book: you have to be enchanted with Dean for it to work. And the women didn’t get off well either. Though I couldn’t say that I didn’t like them because for it to go so far, they would have had to be actual characters and not just fuckable vaginas that go on the guys’ nerves whenever they might express… anything, really.

At least Kerouac’s language was pretty good. He knows how to write, even if towards the end his style started to grate as much as the rest of the book, especially the choppy way he tells his story in jumps and bolts and just lines up scene after scene instead of really connecting them.

But I knew in advance that I would most likely have difficulties with this book – I’m just not a fan of these drug escapade stories – I just hoped that it would win me over anyway. That didn’t happen.

Summarising: Maybe if I was on a road trip myself I would have got into it more. But I doubt it.

7 thoughts on “On the Road (Jack Kerouac)

  1. off-topic:
    Du musst unbedingt ins Museumsquartier, da gibt es eine Skulptur von einem riesigem nackten Mann in/auf/neben der man sich fotographieren kann.
    Und außerdem gibt es jetzt im Leopold Museum eine Ausstellung bildender Kunst, wo lauter nackte Männer abgebildet sind (weiß nicht mehr den Titel). Und drüber posten solltest du auch – es gab einen riiiiiesen Skandal, weil mal drei nackte Männer auf einem Plakat waren (um eine Ausstellung über nackte Männer zu bewerben… bei Frauen, die nackig Joghurts bewerben, ist dafür alles ok);))

    Um einen Themenvorschlag anzubringen, worum du ja beim Jubiläumspost gefragt hast.

  2. Pingback: On the Road (2012) « Stuff

  3. I didn’t like it all that much, and I kept wondering why so many people were raving about it so much. Then again I didn’t think Catcher in the Rye was all that spectacular either. Decent reads, but nothing incredible.

    • I think that some books need to hit you at the right time to work. I haven’t read Catcher in the Rye, but all I know about it suggests that it only works if you’re an angsty teen (but then it works very well). If you’re not there, the book won’t work.
      And I think that’s particularly true for very zeitgeisty books. On the Road is such a product of its time that you have to be in a particular frame of mind to enjoy it. I wasn’t. :)

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