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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny!
Man, I don't know where to start. "The Dharma Bums" is a masterpiece of the Beat Generation and a novel I will not soon forget. After The Loser's Club by Richard Perez, this is the best book I've read all year.
Jack Kerouac wrote this story about his days as a Zen Buddhist and rucksack wanderer. His alias in the book is Raymond Smith, and he is living in Berkley with...
Published on 26 Mar 2004

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On the road to mediocrity
The book starts off well with Kerouac meeting a young student of Zen Buddhism called Japhy Ryder and the two decide to climb the Matterhorn. I've been out to the Sierras myself and enjoyed the descriptions of the scenery, it reminded me of my time up there, sleeping in the forest, waking up in my sleeping bag covered in snow. It's really beautiful writing, and the story...
Published on 9 Mar 2010 by Sam Quixote


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A holiday within a holiday, 21 Jan 2011
The first thing that you must remember about this book: it is not for squares.

Now when I say that, I don't mean that squares won't enjoy it, but if you are the kind of person that goes to work nine to five every day and then collects their pay cheque at the end of the month and pays their taxes, you might not really get this book. If on the other hand, you like a drink, maybe a smoke and you like nature, this book is probably for you.

Personally, I think I am twenty percent square and eighty percent irregular, so when I was reading this book on the beach in Thailand, having a drink and a "smoke", it was really like having a holiday within a holiday. I prefered this book to Kerouac's "On The Road", simply because the pace was slower and you did not have to flip back every two pages to check who the myriad characters are.

This book is charming and a pleasure and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 4 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
a good book
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10 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Failed Enlightenment, 27 Nov 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I am surprised how well this book has been reviewed thus far, so I'll add a counterpoint...

Dharma Bums soars in points, but these are very few and far between. Indeed it would be charitable to refer to it as flawed.
There are considerable questions to be asked about the female characters in the book. All are flimsy, naive and one-dimensional. I'm not a crazy feminist nutcase, but the women here really are almost cartoon characters, which make Betty Boo look like Germaine Greer.
Kerouac name drops elements of Buddhism, but fails to provide any real illumination or exploration on the central subject. Similarly with its brief mention of haikus, which seem bolted on to add credibility.
In the end I was saddened by this book, so I'd recommend it only to Kerouac completists, or to those people who are prepared to forgive its multifarious faults in the hunt for its scant gems.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hobos try out buddhism, 17 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dharma Bums (Hardcover)
The hero of the story is an itinerant poet, philosopher and self-proclaimed 'dharma bum'. Dharma is the teaching of the Buddha, which our hero at one hand tries to aspire to but fails miserably. The consumption of alcohol, for example, is precluded in the Buddhist 5 precepts.Ray Smith consumes alcohol in excess. Kerouacs short novel tries to sum up the zeitgeist of the hackneyed 'lost generation' and the rebellion against middle class consumerism and mores, but doesn't seem to get to the point. An interesting read from the point of view of social history. If you want to learn about Buddhism read anything by John Snelling.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A letdown., 27 Oct 1999
By A Customer
Jack Kerouac was not a great writer - he was a good writer with some small originality who wrote one of the modern classics 'On The Road'. That book was a fine read (in places), but it also had many flaws - repetition, lack of plot or drive, long-windedness, sparse narrative, lazy sentimentality. And unfortunately all the worst aspects of that novel are contained in here, which is basically 'Kerouac Goes Buddhist'. It's the weakest of his novels that I have read - the premise is that Kerouac and his 'hip' buddies find religion (Zen Buddhism); Kerouac narrates as usual, essentially giving his own voice and spouting about 'red skies' and 'beautiful nights'. Fine if you 'dig' all that stuff, but as literature it just does not work, and even as autobiography (which it partly is) it is hollow and unconvincing.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flat Kerouac, 29 Mar 2001
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This review is from: The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I'm amazed at how many people find the Dharma Bums word reading. It's Kerouac at his flattest. The sentences lack his usual energy and lyrical beauty, there is virtually no action and the Buddhist philosophy feels pasted on and contrived. This is definitely not a Kerouac book to recommend. Readers would to better to pick up a copy of Desolation Angels or (excepting the 140 pages of transcribed conversation in the middle) Visions of Cody. If you've already read lots of Kerouac and you want to move on to a modern counterpart, pick up Vincent Czyz's Adrift in a Vanishing City-lyrical, experimental, hot-house writing that takes a quick-talkin drifter out of his native Kansas as far afield as Berlin, Mexico City and Paris. And through it all, he never loses his vernacular, even when waxing metaphysical. You might also try sliding over to Henry Miller-not Tropic of Cancer, which is his most popular, but Sexus, which is far better written.
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The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Dharma Bums (Penguin Modern Classics) by Jack Kerouac (Paperback - 3 Aug 2000)
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