On the Road - 4 stars
Let's first be very clear and state that I am a huge fan of the late great Jack Kerouac, prince of the Beat Generation. His words linger with me long after the story is through and the novel placed upon the shelf once more.This is the most famous and first published book in his Dulouz Legend, a fictionalize biography. Kerouac would change the places and names of people to serve his story. While the events are true, they may or may not have taken place when and exactly where he said they did.
On the Road is the tale of Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac) as he traverses this country twice and then heads off to Mexico with his pal, Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady). Dean is a crazed man, high on the fact that he is alive and able to experience the world. He takes things as they are and "digs" the music, the women, the drugs, the real of the late fifties and early sixties. When the world was close to tearing itself apart from war, Dean and Sal see the beauty in the most mundane of life. Picking strawberries in California, hitching in Iowa, digging the jazz in New Orleans. Every experience was new and exciting and they were determined to live their lives to the full. Even if it killed them.
Kerouac and Cassady were pals from the moment they met, there was a fondness that was closer than brothers and certainly more long suffering. Though their friendship was short lived, Cassady dying young, the memory of their shared experiences are forever locked in the page by Kerouac. Poetry and prose bring the world as they saw it into our lives and let us glimpse a world that we will never see again. The innocence of travel will never be as simple as hitching from New York to San Fransisco ever again. Kerouac, in a feverish spree of writing, left us the quintessential book of youth and adventure, of young love and hard life lessons.
Never does Kerouac disappoint me, never do I regret allowing his words and thoughts, his jazz to fill my mind with a world of music and travel, of feverish frenzied conversations and wild parties. I leave my novel a little worn and much appreciated.