Kerouac, Jack "On the Road" - 1951
Years ago I read "The Catcher in the Rye" and didn't like it. I thought that was because I might have been too young to truly understand.
Why do I start a review about a book by talking about another one? Well, this book reminded me of J. D. Salinger in many ways. To cut it in short, I didn't like it, either.
This is a book with the ramblings of not even a spoiled brat but someone who would like to be a spoiled brat. Someone who thinks the world is his oyster but not in the way what it can offer you when you only work hard enough but what it can offer you when you don't work at all. It is all Sex, Drugs and Rock'n Roll without the fun of it. This book is so dreary, so boring, you would like to take Sal and his friends and hit their heads together. Whoever took them as an example is at best living on minimum wage nowadays but more probably ended up in prison.
This is a very self-centered story, it didn't catch me at any point, the writing style is monotonous and repetitive. The characters are so flawed, you hope they don't exist in real life.
Yes, certainly the worst book I read for ages. Why it is on so many "must have read" lists is a total mystery to me.
From the back cover:
"Sal Paradise, young and innocent, joins the slightly crazed Dean Moriarty on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfillment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream.
A brilliant blend of fiction and autobiography, Jack Kerouac's exhilarating novel defined the new 'beat' generation. It had tremendous impact on both sides of the Atlantic and made him famous overnight."
Map of Kerouac's 1947-48 cross country journey in the Kerouac ROMnibus found here.