On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

Two stars, read in October 2010.

I really struggled to read this book. It needed to be about 100 pages shorter, for one thing. It took me a long time to get started, and the whole experience was kind of a slog through the mud. It’s an interesting book, and I really identify with the characters in important ways, so I kept feeling like if I just gave it more of a chance it would start to click with me. It never did.

It is literally 100 percent about a group of people who drive back and forth across the country, get drunk and high, have sex, get divorces, and “dig” jazz music at bars in the middle of the night. I wasn’t bothered by any of this—on the contrary, it sounds amazing minus the divorces—it’s just that I didn’t feel a lot of connection with any of the characters. They’re this wild, frantic group of people, with this mania for life and just experiencing things—which I fully understand, but those few things I mentioned are really the only things they bother experiencing. Most of the time they talk in philosophical riddles about things that make no sense, going on and on for pages and basically just boring me to tears.

So . . . not my favorite. I will have to give the Beat Generation another try, but as a first foray into that genre, this was a disappointment.

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