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Customer Review

on 24 August 2013
So I came to this book knowing its reputation as a lit classic and it certainly lived up to its deserved reputation. There is no plot as such, just some guys criss-crossing America and the documenting of the people and situations they encountered along the way. The true beauty of the book is Jack's insight into his friends , who are by today's staid standards very eccentric and entertaining characters. He reveals these eccentric characters to be those who truly love life and reveals their desires to live and experience it to the full even at the expense of norms like the family unit. There is a jazz rhythm to the prose, and Jack's love for ordinary working and beat people comes through. The complaints about sexism are unfound, as there is no attempt to degrade women in the book. The book is about young lads, so of course, they spend a lot of time chasing girls, how that is sexist is beyond me.

To compare it to another book, say Catcher in the Rye, which was written around the same time, its not as free-flowing or easy to read, but its just as enjoyable, however they are 2 different books. Jack originally wrote this in a free-flowing style of writing on a long manuscript but subsequently had to edit it, and as a consequence the book is not as free-flowing as I thought it would be. In parts it is quite difficult to read, however there are still plenty of free flowing parts remaining like the famous quote "the only people for me are the mad ones...etc" which sound like they were written in a quick , flow of consciousness, uninhibited way. I haven't read the original manuscript version which is now available so cant compare.
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