On the Road by Jack Kerouac ultimately chronicles Jack’s adventures as he traveled across America with his friend Neal Cassady (both pictured on the front of the book). Although the book is written in the form of fiction with the main characters becoming Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise.
Personally I give this book 4/5 stars, I won’t lie to you at times I found this book rather hard to get into and continue to read but this was more to do with the fact the novel is really a stream of consciousness. It features extra long sentences which at times can take up half a page or take the opposite route and consist of 4 words. This is also an aspect that makes it seem more real, as the full stops present the natural pauses rather than the edited approach where a speech may be broken down or edited into excerpts . You experience the raw emotion in each ‘mad speech’ confessed by Dean.
The novel is broken up into 4 parts, each narrated by Sal who is the writer and narrator of the novel, Dean is often described as the Hero of the novel. He is the main feature point, despite Sal’s own hopes and dreams he is always drawn back to Dean’s life and even the end point of the novel ends with Sal thinking about Dean wondering where he was then.
The story is about Dean and Sal who represent the idealistic youth of America who yearned for something more than what society expected from them. They wanted more than conformity, they wanted more than to simply grow up, get a job, get married and have children. They wanted a life filled with adventure. Hence why the novel features numerous journeys as they travel around North America.
On the Road is set after The Great Depression and World War Two therefore along their journey it features how they struggle for money and it also features the segregation of Black and White Communities. In one aspect Sal mentions how simply entering a Black Community would end with you getting arrested.
Dean happened to be my favorite character of the novel, despite often being referred to as ‘mad’ he showed a real fight in him. He found the excitement and positivity in everything he experienced, although he went from marriage to marriage leaving a stream of children in his wake, he showed he didn’t like being tied down. I think this is to do with his childhood, he never truly had a home in one place. He was a born traveler. Forever looking for that Journey he could take.
On the Road is a novel which gets mixed reviews, some people love it, some people really struggle with it and some people hate it. I would say if you struggle with it then stick with it like I did and I hope you will find the end product to be as enjoyable as I did. It was definitely worth sticking with.
Of course like every great book, their is a movie version of On the Road which features Kristen Stewart. I have seen this although some time ago, therefore I couldn’t remember any aspect of it that hindered my reading of the novel.
If you are interested in reading On the Road for yourself which I whole heartedly would suggest doing especially if you are interested in a classic read, the beat generation or simply books that feature a road trip and journey across America then you can find copies via: Amazon – On the Road and Book Depository – On the Road.