by Jack Kerouac
audiobook: 11.25 hours
first published in 1951
*** About the Book ***
This semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of Sal Paradise and his friend Dean Moriarty as the travel the US in the post-World War II years. They two men are in search of “it”, whatever “it” turns out to be. They hitchhike and borrow their way from coast to coast over and over again, meeting people and having adventures along the way. The book provides stereotypical examples of the beat generation.
*** Why I Read It ***
(Ok, so I "listened" to it ... whatever.)
This book was mentioned on the TV show LOST, so it works for the LOST Books Challenge. It is also on the 1,001-books-to-read-before-you-die list, so it works for the 1% Well Read Challenge.
*** My Thoughts ***
I did NOT like this book AT ALL. I still don’t know what the point of it all was. I didn’t like any of the main characters (in fact, I wanted to smack them most of the time). I didn’t agree with any of their decisions. I thought they were irresponsible and ridiculous. As I listened to the story I kept thinking that while these guys were screwing around avoiding responsibility (and Dean kept abandoning his new babies), my grandmother was trying to come to the US to marry my grandfather, then they were struggling to make a new life together and support their children. It was a rather stark contrast in my mind.
A while back I got into a discussion with a commenter about whether me not liking the characters in a book makes the book less valuable in some way. I wouldn’t say that is true; obviously this book is a classic and many people find it important. The writing itself was entertaining and evocative (and the narration by Alexander Adams was fantastic). I just didn’t find anything to like about this book at all, and therefore it isn’t getting a positive review here on my blog.
*** Relation to LOST ***
The point of this book, in my mind, is that avoiding responsibility and living always “in the moment” can give you a fulfilling life. Not sure if that was what the author was intending to say but that’s what I got out of it. And, of course, I totally disagree with that. Because of my animosity toward this book I didn’t give much thought to the LOST connection. Instead I relied on the internet to tell me what makes this book special to the show.
Here’s what LOSTpedia had to say: “When Ben checks into the hotel in [the episode] The Shape of Things to Come, he uses Dean Moriarty as a pseudonym. Moriarty is a principal character in Kerouac's famous work.”
Seriously?! THAT is why this book is related to LOST?! Ugh. That’s what I get for not looking at LOSTpedia before making my book list …
*** Your Thoughts ***
If you’ve read this book please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d especially like to hear from anyone who likes this book – please let me what makes it so great! [UPDATE: Oh look, I found someone who liked it!]
I couldn’t find any reviews of this book so if you have one post a link and I’ll add it here. I really do want to know what other people think of this book.