Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the Road by Jack Kerouac a book review

On the Road swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat. Now recognized as a modern classic, its American Dream is nearer that of Walt Whitman than Scott Fitzgerald, and it goes racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion.

..........hum?..........I'm not really sure where to start? I'm trying to put into words how this book made me feel and I'm having a hard time pin-pointing it. I read it with the understanding that is seen as an "American Classic" a book that changed lives (according to my back cover). I've actually owned the book for well over a year the first time I tried to read it I found it irritating as I felt it didn't say anything. I'm glad I've given it a second go and finished it because I have found that it says a lot.
A lot about life and how people really haven't changed in 50 years. But then it makes me ask: if people haven't changed than what has? Because something has changed...my daughter's new favorite movie is Cars. Sorry that might have been a bit random, but stay with me. In Cars Radiator Springs/Route 66 is left behind to the new shiny highway. Jack Kerouac's America has been left behind. The book made me sad. I think/feel that this was Jack's way of saying goodbye to a certain way of life. When he was traveling (1947) it was right when America was testing the atom bomb, the world was changing.
This book has been very controversial since it was published. Saying it glorifies immoral young men and how it justifies rebellious behavior and drug use. I guess I wouldn't want my kids reading it and treating it as their guide to life, but I wouldn't stop them from reading it. Especially as there are other things to gain such as an insight to another time and the acceptance of all people no matter their station in life and possibly that a simpler life doesn't always mean an unhappy one.  

Did this book change my life? No, but it shows that we're not alone in our ultimate quest to find "it" -- the meaning of life. Would I recommend it? I think it would depend on the person for this one.

Click here to read more about Jack on wikipedia!

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