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On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics)

On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Jack Kerouac , Ann Charters
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)

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Amazon Review

On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalised autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers and fellow travellers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, this cross-country bohemian odyssey not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture. --Acton Lane


? A dazzling piece of writing for all of its rough edges, stripped of affectations that in the novel can sometimes verge on bathos . . . It seems much more immediate and contemporary.??Luc Sante, " New York Times Book Review"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Jack Kerouac wrote this novel about several escapades he took across the country in the late 1940's. He used characters from his real life, such as Allen Ginsburg the poet and author; and Neal Cassidy, Kerouac's idol, and changed their names to use in the story.
In "On The Road", Sal Paradise(Kerouac), a young writer from New York City, ventures to cities around the country, staying with old friends, making new friends, and doing everything he can to stay alive and move on. His mentor and friend, Dean Moriarty(Neal Cassidy), often travels with Sal, always talking, laughing, and being his insane self. Now let's stop and take a brief look at the fascinating life of Dean Moriarty: Throughout the story, Dean plays several different women, has 3 wives and 4 children, half of whom he can't account for ever meeting. He was born in Salt Lake City, and grew up going to reform schools and jail. Dean was an infamous hustler in Texas and Denver who was always stealing cars and money, but never for more then $10 or just when he needed a quick ride. He was insane, always laughing and having a great time, and always getting the most he could out of life. Sal and Dean experienced some great high's and low's of travelling together, seeing such cities as Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Mexico City. Throughout the book you get to know the fascinating personalities of Sal, Dean, and several other characters.
Just as important as the story and the characters is the STYLE in which the book is written; it's this style, which gives the book its vibrant, breathless, spontaneous intensity. And, yes, this is where the book really earns its legendary status, because few other books are able to convey the exhilaration and excitement and fun of a mad attempt to "seize the day.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read but its one that stays with you 28 Nov 2011
On the Road was first published in 1957 and is a largely autobiographical account of Jack Kerouac's various road trips taken with his friends during the 1940s. All names were changed (to protect the not so innocent) and the story mostly features the characters Sal Paradise (based on Kerouac) and Dean Moriarty (based on real life person Neal Cassady) along with various other real life characters occurring throughout.

The novel overall has a fresh feel and I think this is because the idea of youth searching for more than the conformity of the society they are in is an idea which is being constantly being explored. This does not mean that the book is cliqued however as although the subject matter might not be original, the descriptions of their methods, ideas and the people they encounter is. Crossing the American continent is exhausting enough (I know, I did it) and Kerouac does not hide from the reader the exhaustion, the dirty aspects, the arguments along the way.

One of the stronger aspects of the novel are the people that Sal and Dean encounter along the way. They have various conversations with drunks, travellers, drug addicts and poor immigrant workers all of whom often add more insight than Sal and his friends can provide. The friendship between Sal and Dean is also interesting and goes through many changes throughout as they spilt then meet up again.

A lot has been said on the bad behaviour of the characters and yes they take drugs, have wild parties, visit Mexican brothels and steal cars. This might not seem so shocking now but when you consider these guys were born before my grandmother it just goes to show that despite the fact that each generation thinks they invented teenage bad behaviour, they really didn't.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live each day to the full 11 Feb 2005
This is a book that I have read many times, and each time I have loved it even more. Although the story is brilliant, this book is more about how it makes you feel whilst reading it, as well as after. It makes you want to get off of life's treadmill of work, telly, eat, sleep and to get out there and really 'live'. To make memories, stories, adventures, and to stay far from the mundane.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On The Road by Jack Kerouac 23 Nov 2011
I picked a copy of On The Road up in my comprehensive school library when I was 17. I started reading it and I literally could not put it down. I actually walked into a lamp-post reading it while I was walking home.
This wonderful book is crammed full of life, excitement, love, yearning and a delight in experiencing the new. I read it in about 1972, the tail-end of the Hippy Era and it made me realise that I had to....just like Dean and Sal...go on the road. Directly inspired by this book I spent the next few years hitchiking around the UK and Europe, experiencing everything I could.
Regard it as a manual for living. Kerouac had a tender, religious attitude to his fellow man. He was endlessly fascinated by everyone and everything around him. He also had little regard for materialism...other than a bottle of liquor, a joint or a bebop record. For Jack, experience and friendship is everything.
More than anything it is a thrilling read. Kerouac takes you with you on his epic journey of self-discovery and you will NEVER forget the ride.
Let's just hope the new movie - it it EVER appears - does justic to this sacred text.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good clean book thanks
Published 15 days ago by helen wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars The issue I have with this novel is that ok ...
The issue I have with this novel is that ok, it wants to represent a different experience, and certainly the use of hallucinogenic substances may make the world seem bizarre and... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Stephen Lovecraft
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just brilliant, after all these years it's still an eye opener.
Published 18 days ago by 8th Floor Ben.
5.0 out of 5 stars a must read modern classic
This book is about youth. It's about taking life as it comes. It's about thinking in the moment and not worrying about what might happen tomorrow. Read more
Published 21 days ago by R. Whitehouse
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 24 days ago by patrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 1 month ago by nicholas hinde
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not as good as the myth would have it.
Published 1 month ago by Mr C D E Towler
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Published 2 months ago by Carol Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books of all time
One of my favourite books of all time. Beautifully written - it will make you burn. Some passages will make you want to jump up out of your seat and re-read to the nearest... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Emily
1.0 out of 5 stars I feel like I'm missing something with this
I feel like I'm missing something with this. It's so famous and I'm...not...sure...why?
The most basic rule of writing is SHOW, DON'T TELL and not once does this book follow... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Lauren James
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