On The Road: Midway Rest Stop, No Going Back Now



Partly because I’m lazy, partly because it’s fun, and partly because I’m a product of my generation and don’t read as much as I should, I’m writing about my reading of On The Road by jack Kerouac in stages. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my pre-Road trepidations, and now, since I’m impatient and probably should be done by now anyway. I’m going to start reviewing it before I’m done reading it.

I’m not going to give it any pennies yet, because even I would agree that’s a little premature. (Usually, during Poor Writers Reviews, we award things pennies. I will do that later. After I finish the book and this carton of ice cream.)

Since I’m talking about a very important, historical piece of literature that I’m only about halfway through reading, I’m going to go about this in a very stream of consciousness type way. These are my thoughts/questions/revelations/ideas that are going through my brain as I read On The Road. Here goes:


(I also rationalize this style of writing for this post because Kerouac goes on super long rants about pretty much nothing all the time. So we’re basically the same.)

  • Most importantly: Apple pie is healthy, guys! And I want to go on a road trip and eat it all the time. See reference: “I ate another apple pie and ice cream; that’s practically all I ate all the way across the country, I knew it was nutritious and it was delicious, of course, too.” !!!!!
  • His descriptions of women are, as I had heard before, most of the time flat out terrible and make me want to give him the Bell Hooks phone number. Except for this: “Marylou was a pretty blonde who…sat on the edge of the couch with her hands hanging in her lap and her smoky blue country eyes fixed in a wide stare because she was in an evil gray New York pad that she’s heard about out west.” I feel ya, Marylou. I really do.
  • He seems like he really likes his friends but also never knows where they are and also hates them a little bit. I am confused by this.
  • At one point, he was basically a dad with a wife and a job but then he hopped back on a bus to New York. I’m getting whiplash trying to keep up.
  • This: “Remi was just like a little boy. Somewhere in his past, in his lonely schooldays in France, they’d taken everything from him;his stepparents just stuck him in schools and left him there; he was browbeaten and thrown out of one school after another, he walked the French roads at night devising curses out of his innocent stock of words. He was out to get back everything he’s lost; there was no end to his loss; this thing would drag on forever.
  • So he decides to be a cop because he needs money, but he just gets drunk with the people he’s supposed to be policing. Then they steal form the kitchen. Is it bad that I find this endearing? Should I stop?
  • So many semicolons.
  • “Everybody in America is a natural born-thief.” I’m still testing my reaction to this. It’s very dramatic.
  • I’ve never lived in LA, but this guy has New York pegged: “LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; new York gets god-awful in the winter but there’s a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets.”

So that’s the halfway point. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen next because he’s already back from his road trip. I feel a little cheated by that. Stay tuned for more random thoughts on Kerouac.


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