United States of America

On the Road- Jack Kerouac

Everywhere I looked online, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road was the book to read when it comes to American wanderlust.

 

I disagree.

 

Honestly, I was not impressed with this novel at all. (And, when I came to grips with this realization and asked others, my opinions were shared.) Don’t get me wrong, there are parts of this book that I really loved. Early on, there’s a chapter that centers on San Fransisco and an old abandoned boat in the bay. These scene was almost a turning point for me. I love the idea of old abandoned places. I find them haunting, yet beautiful. I also enjoyed the stream of consciousness style of writing. I guess I have two main complaints: First, I feel like there was just a lot of downtime to the travel, which made it kind of boring. Pages describing hours in the car laughing without paying particular attention to the views outside the window. Second, there was just a lot of nonsense that I got tired of reading about. I respect that this “nonsense” was the norm for the time period. I just found it to be a constant reminder of the worst aspects this period had to offer.

 

I will say this: If you go into this book with a “journey not the destination” perspective, it might be a better read. I think I was expecting great descriptions of beautiful American cities, whereas it was more about a friendship that was really unbalanced. Dean was barely a good friend, and Sal seemed to want to be more than friends.

 

To wrap up, would I recommend this book to someone else? I’m not sure. I feel like there are better books to inspire American wanderlust. Does this book make me want to travel across America? I mean it doesn’t make me not want to travel across America, but it hasn’t produced a sense of urgency or excitement. Or moved any of the cities mentioned to the top of my list. I think I may want to revisit this storyline after I’ve read some other books. Maybe I’ll appreciate it more.

 

Please feel free to let me know your thoughts about this book or if you have any other suggestions for books to read! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

♦♦ Culture Bit: Movie Review ♦♦

 

This movie was slightly better than I expected. It did a good job of picking some key points that would be necessary to make a movie. I think I liked the book better? I’m not really sure… All of my original thoughts from the book can be generally applied to the movie. I wouldn’t recommend watching the movie, unless you read the book first and feel a special interest.

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