Friday, August 5, 2011
Friday Night Movie/Book: On the Road: By Jack Kerouac
Out of all the BookNerds, I was the only one to actually finish the book. However, it was so painful to finish that I was thankful I did an audio book instead of reading the actual book. I do not know if I would have been able to finish it! I really disliked that Sal was never content where he was. If he was in New York then he wanted to be in Denver. If he was in Denver then he wanted to be in San Francisco. This whole book was very drawn out and so LONG! I was bored to tears through most of it. However, I did like Part 2 of the book (which I am going to assume is where most of the movie will take place). I enjoyed the storyline with Sal and MaryAnn, until she left him on the corner. I absolutely did not understand anything in Part 3,the whole story line in Mexico was a mess! I am so hoping that the movie will breathe some life into this book.
My hitchhiking adventure started in New York. I was going out west..YAY..I was going to discover the great unknown..the hip generation... I was excited...I was.... oh so WRONG!
Somewhere, and I couldn't honestly tell you where, as I had no stopping places in this adventure, we climbed aboard a flat bed truck with a cast of colorful characters. Actually they were more black and white, I remember none of them, maybe a man traveling with a teenager and some guy named Montana Slim. Heck for all I know these two could be one and the same, you see I slept through this part of the trip.
The truck did finally stop, jarring me from my sleep. Someone said we were stopping for a "pisscall" in Cheyenne Wyoming. Here it was, my chance to escape my fate, a chance to go on, to travel to a land ( any land really) of perhaps vampires, angels, heck I'd take on a zombie attack at this point. I slipped inside the nearest bar (Oh please please be Pandemonium and full of ShadowHunters) , grabbed a drink and watched from the distance as Sal and his merry men rode off into the sunset. I would never make it to Denver, or anywhere else that Sal roamed. I would never meet the people he was destined to meet, but hey I am okay with that, because I know my fellow Booknerds will be joining me soon, we will get our Haymitch on and then take off on another great adventure together. Books are like that.... they let us escape!
I started out on this journey in central Ohio. I travelled to northern Indiana and back listening to the audio book. I just could not get into the story. Sal was travelling the country aimlessly from New York to Denver to California then back to New York. He worked odd jobs, complained about not having any money, but managed to buy alcohol and party every night. When Dean arrived in New York and they decided to travel out west again, I couldn't believe I was about to make another cross country trek. They made it as far as Denver before Dean had to stop for gas. While he was filling up the car, I ran into Teri who was on her way to a local pub. After countless hours in the car, I decided to join her for a cold one and ended the road trip early. I could not bear to listen to any more of this book.
Like Mary, I listened to this one on audio. And like Jacque, I could not finish it. I was the last of the BookNerds to attempt reading this, even after I knew how the other 3 felt about it. But I have to agree with everyone above. Sal seemed to be just traveling around without a real destination. I thought he was planning to go to San Francisco to meet his friend and they'd go work on a ship together. But after he finally made it across country, he just hung around Denver playing around for a period of time. He admitted that he didn't go to work, yet he had money to go drinking with his friends every night?! I know it was the 1940s, but still!
So, then he finally leaves Denver and heads to San Francisco...where he only stays for a night before he decides he wants to leave again?! Really?! So then he meets this girl and ends up just living with her and her son and her family for several months. We see the situation is not ideal, so it's understandable when he wants to leave again. He returns home and is there for awhile before Dean returns, and all of a sudden they are talking about randomly going somewhere else?!? It was too much for me to take. I heard that Jacque and Teri had hopped off the road and decided to hang out at the bar, so I left Sal and Dean and went to join them.
I will say this though: Jack Kerouac is a good writer. Maybe even a great one. I have a feeling that if this story actually had a plot, I really would have enjoyed it. Kerouac has a way with words. He comes up with beautiful phrases to describe simple things. Simply Google "On the Road quotes" and you will come up with a wealth of them. Here are a couple of my favorites:
"I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future."
And perhaps the most famous one: "...because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"