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On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 24 Feb 2000


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On the Road (Penguin Modern Classics) + Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (24 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141182679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141182674
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. Read the first page
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By J. Willis on 28 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
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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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sam Peach on 11 Feb 2005
Format: Paperback
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 By finbarrford on 23 Nov 2011
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "feston89" on 27 Aug 2004
Format: Paperback
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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