On the Road (Penguin 20th Century Classics)

by Jack KEROUAC | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140185216 Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 3/22/2004
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, March 22, 2004
(12/07) A modern American classic??

I think I’ve said this before, but a ‘classic’ book can be many different things to many people, but it must always have something to say, and be persistent and meaningful to successive generations of readers. I must admit that reading this was difficult and not particularly enjoyable, but the introduction (read afterwards of course!) and getting a feel for the historical context and Kerouac’s writing process was fascinating and made it all worth while.

Kerouac became one of the key figures of the post-war ‘beat movement/generation’ although he didn’t invent the phrase, but this seminal ‘road book’ seemed to capture the zeitgeist of a dis-included generation of Americans, trying to reconnect with the old pioneer freedoms...through drink, drugs, the energy of jazz/bop, and a constant passion for movement and new experience. As with all his work, this is semi-autobiographical, the anti-hero Dean Moriarty is Kerouac’s friend Neal Cassady, whilst the author-narrator is the thinly disguised would-be author Salvatore ‘Sal’ Paradise, JK trying to lose his 1st generation French-Canadian roots with an American (Italian!) pseudonym. The book is full of too-cool slang & phrases from the late 40’s/early 50’s which became annoying, but the ‘spontaneous’ writing definitely caught the movement and dissolute energy as Moriarty, Paradise & various friends and partners criss-crossed the USA. I was fascinated that Denver featured so heavily...slightly incongruous company with NY, ‘frisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Mexico and the great expanses of the mid-west. I shall have to mention it to my brother who lives in the mile high city. Maybe he’s living out his own wanderlust? This book is a raw and influential slice of recent US history, but won’t encourage this middle-aged Suffolkite to take to the road!

Journal Entry 2 by KenseyRiver from Brightlingsea, Essex United Kingdom on Saturday, July 14, 2007
I'm a sucker for a classic. I promise I will studiously avoid the use of the phrases "cat" and "dig it" unless I am pointing at an actual feline or get a job as a foreman in a cemetery.

Journal Entry 3 by KenseyRiver from Brightlingsea, Essex United Kingdom on Friday, August 10, 2007
At times this book was brilliant and the characters seemed really revolutionary. At other times, it just grated as the journeys became repetitive and the victims of their free living (the people they robbed, the women they abandoned, the children they sired) began to mount up. I really enjoyed the beginning and the end.

Scatz has requested this book.

Journal Entry 4 by Scatz from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Saturday, August 11, 2007
Passed on to me by kenseyriver - thank you!
I hope I enjoy the middle as well!

Journal Entry 5 by Scatz from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Sunday, November 04, 2007
I agree with KenseyRiver about the repetitive text and misdemeanours of the characters. Perhaps a more initimate knowledge/experience of the US would have supported this reader. Even after 50 years this book is curiously refreshing.

Journal Entry 6 by Scatz at Caffe Nero IP1 book-crossing zone in Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Saturday, November 10, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (11/10/2007 UTC) at Caffe Nero IP1 book-crossing zone in Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom

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Taken to the Ipswich meet.

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