Friday, January 14, 2011

Review: "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac

First, let me say that I read just the first 10 chapters about one-fifth of this book. So if there is something spectacular in the remainder, I'm sorry, I missed it. But judging from what I read, I saw no reason to go on.

"On the Road" is a rambling series of disjointed episodes as the protagonist, Sal Paradise, travels across the country by bus and by hitchhiking. While Sal keeps moving, the story has little direction.

The fragmented nature of the book could be forgiven if the individual parts were interesting, but few are. I did enjoy the image of Sal and other hitchhikers clinging to a flatbed truck as it speeds across the plains, but that's about it. Sal's conversations with fellow hitchhikers and motorists who give him rides are brief and inconsequential. His time with friends, drinking beer and whiskey and pursuing women, are mostly juvenile and pointless.

Worst of all, Sal and the other central characters are only barely likeable, so the reader has little reason to care about them.


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