Holy smokes that took FOREVER. I really slowed down for the last book I read. And really delayed on getting this post written.
After too many months I finally finished Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. Considering the fact that it’s not a very big book, the fact it took me so long says a little something about how I enjoyed the book. Or perhaps better said, how I lacked in enjoying the book.
I liked Kerouac’s Dharma Bums much more than On The Road (OTR). OTR pretty much had me bored the whole time. I couldn’t quite find the entertainment in it all. To me, it was about a couple of guys who incessantly road trip all over the United States. They get drunk a lot, listen to a ton of music (specifically from the Beat Generation), have sex, drive around , get lost etc.
I struggled to see the beauty in the nomadic lifestyle described by Kerouac in OTR. I resonated much more with this motif from the Dharma Bums. At times, I also struggled to follow the humor in the book. Some of the jokes just seemed to go over my head. This happened for some of the more cultural references also. I guess I might be a bit too young to fully embrace those sorts of things from authors of that time.
Kerouac’s writing style was as unique in OTR as it was in Dharma Bums. His lengthy sentences and streams of consciousness, combined with everyday vernacular and colorful language provided an interesting reading experience. Despite maybe not loving the book, there were some really beautiful scenes.
Perhaps one of my favorites is when the characters are driving south through Mexico. I enjoyed how Kerouac described the landscape, the climate and the locals. In fact, it reminded me of some of my travels in Peru.
I could feel the suffocating heat. I could hear the buzzing insects as they fly around looking for a moist reprieve. I could smell the engine of the car, the gasoline, the oil, burning clutch and stinky brakes. I could see the friendly locals as they smiled and invited them into the house for food and drink.
Much of OTR for me has been forgotten. It seems I just couldn’t keep up with the pace of the characters, the locations, names and drama. With that being said though, it has been nice to check off another classic from Kerouac’s repertoire and to get a taste for the notorious writing that made the man so famous.