On the Road

On the Road

Book - 2003
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Penguin Putnam
The classic novel of freedom and the search for authenticity that defined a generation

September 5th, 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of On the Road

On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance. Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than fifty years ago. This Penguin Classics edition contains an introduction by Ann Charters.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Baker & Taylor
Follows the counterculture escapades of members of the Beat generation as they seek pleasure and meaning while traveling coast to coast.

Publisher: New York : Penguin, 2003
Description: xxxiv, 307 p. ; 20 cm
ISBN: 9780142437254
Branch Call Number: Kero


From the critics

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Jun 02, 2019

I want to see what he has seen.

I want to know the people he has known.

I want to share these experiences.

Sal Paradise/Jack Kerouac takes you on a truly satisfying trip, told in journal style, down the American back roads in the 50’s, during the Eisenhower post-WWII prosperity the rest of the population was enjoying. You’re experiencing this journey along with the main character as he paints a picture with words… a verbal picture of the America he lives in during those years.

He uses rich descriptive phrases so you feel as if you have met his companions. Sal tells about his friends who “never say a common place thing”. This book is filled with great thought provoking quotes - “East of my youth, West of my future”, which gives the listener an idea of where this story is in time and space for Sal. It underscores the restless searching quality of all the characters throughout this book.

In another anecdote, Sal complains about the troubles he has with hitchhiking but not what you would expect, ie. not being able to get a ride. The problem was having to talk all the time to people who gave you rides.

Matt Dillon, the reader, has great pacing and vocal tone. His delivery goes from matter of fact to high energy as the story dictates. With audio books, the reader is as important as the book he/she reads.

Listening to this book is like catching up with a comfortable old friend…that wild eyed wacky guy that your mother warned you about. But you love this rascal friend and want to keep up with his latest escapades. You chuckle and smile to yourself later at the recollection of the time spent together. Go on the road with Jack Kerouac, even if it is only in your mind!

May 29, 2019

This book made no sense to me. Halfway through, I realized it was just a random series of events about driving across the country. Too many run-on sentences. The plot was going nowhere. Did not enjoy it.

May 25, 2019

I read that Joan Haverty Kerouac brought her husband split pea soup to keep him going while he wrote this book. If that’s true, it is now my #1 reason to hate split pea soup. To be fair to On The Road, it’s great material for drinking games. You could take a shot whenever the narrator’s race fetish peeks through, whenever he checks out a group of girls and makes sure to note that they’re teenagers, whenever he and his bros fantasize about beating up a queer person, whenever Marylou is called a whore, whenever Galatea’s husband abandons her, whenever the writing makes you wonder if maybe it just skimmed over rape, or whenever the narrator calls the women he’s sleeping with stupid. (Kinda telling on himself there). The possibilities are endless! Unfortunately, it’s still a boring, exhausting book.

Feb 25, 2019

I really tried to understand what Kerouac was trying to say in this book - there isn't much of a plot and the book just ends. After reading the reviews it is supposed to be an anti-capitalism statement about "living in the moment" and not being driven by money, working 8 hour days, etc. I didn't get that at all and it may be because I was not around during the beat era. The main character could probably be diagnosed as a narcissistic bi-polar user of people. Why anyone would follow this guy across country multiple times is beyond me. It's great to be young and carefree but we all have responsibilities and eventually you grow up (in most cases). Kerouac's writing style also takes some getting used to - at times it is poetry like. I am glad I read the book. I just don't think it deserves all the accolades it has received.

Feb 15, 2019

When it was written it was an expose of the shadow side and hidden aspects of the American dream. The original road trip book for America. By now it has been done so many times in book and in film that I can't imagine it still holds any insights that haven't been overexposed. Yet still it continues to speak to others as it once spoke to me. Personally though, it was The Electric Koolaid Acid Test that got me excited about counter culture way more than Kerouac.

May 25, 2016

Dean, the devil (vs S. Paradise's angel), driving me mad... till the end of the road/book, when I lost the grip on his soul.
Not for one who focus on pure rational description of human behavior, who is only comfortable with plain coherent form, who sticks to what should be avoided, or abide the moral standards judged by language used... not for one whose head and heart in faraway chambers.

IMolina3 Jun 25, 2015

I just watch this movie because of kristen stewart was in it..

Jul 10, 2013

Well, now I at least know what all the hullabaloo is about. Interesting, but not one I would recommend.

KRockstar10 Apr 17, 2013

Couldn't get more than 50 or so pages into it. This one just wasn't for me.

Apr 17, 2013

I really wanted to like it. I had also hoped to find the characters engaging, interesting. Instead I found them irritating. I was not a fan of the overall dismissivness of poor behavior. I did not finish the book. Although, perhaps someday I will. Today is not it.

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Jun 12, 2014

You boys going to get somewhere or just going?

Mar 23, 2013

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”

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Feb 28, 2011

rUngrich thinks this title is suitable for 35 years and under


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PimaLib_WilliamB May 06, 2015

A decent but not outstanding adaptation of Kerouac's novel. This one always seemed too hard to film, and indeed, the end result isn't the best result, but seeing the characters come off the pages and alive is enjoyable and Viggo Mortensen as William S. Burroughs is a scene stealer.


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