Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review - On the Road

Author: Jack Kerouac
Year: 1957

Admittedly, it was the movie that prompted me to read the book.  I had, of course, heard of Jack Kerouac and his novels, but when I saw the movie trailer for On the Road I was intrigued and decided to read the book before the film came out.  I'm glad I did, because I doubt the movie will make much sense to anyone who has not read the story first, as Kerouac's exploits a wild, weird, and mostly disjointed account of his very interesting life.

On the Road is a true story, the tale of Kerouac's multiple journeys across the United States with his friend Nick.  Under the names Sal and Dean, these two spiritual brothers experience as much in a week as many people do in a lifetime.  With a host of interesting and real life characters, these two epitomes of the beat generation travel the world together, losing each other many times only to find each other again at the journey's end.

It's difficult to describe this book; makes sense, it was pretty difficult to read.  It is a true story and told event by event, as the characters drive from state to state, hop from bar to bar.  The details became repetitive fairly quickly, and by the end I was ready to be done.  But the saving grace of the novel was Dean.  Sal/Jack Kerouac's best friend Dean/Nick Cassidy is everything a young man could want in a hero; he is brash, driven, exciting, beautiful.  He is Peter Pan, Finny, Gatsby, and Ferris Bueller all rolled into one ball of pure energy.  Reading about him you can tell how much Sal loves him, wants to be him, is envious of him, and needs him.  I was reminded of my own youth, a friend I have, and how perhaps without even knowing it we saw ourselves as Sal and Dean; two free spirits ready to take the world on.  And perhaps that is the beauty of this story.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰

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