Monday 5 August 2013

Kerouac, Jack "On the Road"

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.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for hating Catcher in the Rye! It's always on best book lists and I thought it was the most self indulgent piece of twaddle I'd ever read, and as for On the Road, I haven't read it, but always figured I'd probably not like it.

  2. Thanks for the warning. It's hard to like a book if the characters are unlikable.

  3. I know what you mean. Since On the Road is on so many "must have read" lists I had very high expectations and was so disappointed when I finally read it. The writing is very self-indulgent and it didn't really appeal to me.
    Same with Catcher in the Rye, actually, but like you I think I was perhaps too young when I read it.

  4. Thank you ladies for the interest. I love to talk about my books, so you are always more than welcome to comment.

    Looks like we all have a similar taste.

    Janet, your comment made me laugh, I will take the word "piece of twaddle" into my repertoire. ;-)
    (I suppose it was Janet and not Mac, if so, I apologize, I laughed anyway, no matter who wrote it.

    Annette, that is only one of the reasons but certainly one of the major ones. I didn't care much for the writing style, either.

    "Suddenlyoneday", I try not to put too many high hopes on highly praised books anymore but it still happens that I am disappointed. And I doubt that I would have liked "Catcher in the Rye" if I had read it now for the first time.

  5. Marianne, I have felt guilty for ages for not having read this - which I thought was a classic - but now I can strike it off my list - thanks! Cheers

  6. I made (at least) four people happy by reading and reviewing this book, yay! ;-) That was all worth it. Thanks for stopping by, Carole.