On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road

When Jack Kerouac’s On the Road first appeared in 1957, readers instantly felt the beat of a new literary rhythm. A fictionalised account of his own journeys across America with his friend Neal Cassady, Kerouac’s beatnik odyssey captured the soul of a generation and changed the landscape of American fiction for ever.Influenced by Jack London and Thomas Wolfe, Kerouac always wanted to be a writer, but his true voice only emerged when he wrote ...

Details On the Road

TitleOn the Road
Release DateJan 1st, 1976
PublisherPenguin Books
GenreClassics, Fiction, Travel, Literature

Reviews On the Road

  • Jessica
    This is probably the worst book I have ever finished, and I'm forever indebted to the deeply personality-disordered college professor who assigned it, because if it hadn't been for that class I never would've gotten through, and I gotta tell you, this is the book I love to hate.I deeply cherish but don't know that I fully agree with Truman Capote's assessment: that _On the Road_ "is not writing at all -- it's typing."Lovely, Turman, but let's be ...
  • Adam
    I'm supposed to like On the Road, right? Well, I don't. I hate it and I always have. There are a lot of reasons why I hate it. I find Kerouac's attitude toward the world pathetically limited and paternalistic. In On the Road he actually muses about how much he wishes that he could have been born "a Negro in the antebellum South," living a simple life free from worry, and does so seemingly without any sense of irony. On every page, the book is...
  • Ian
    A View from the CouchOTR has received some negative reviews lately, so I thought I would try to explain my rating.This novel deserves to lounge around in a five star hotel rather than languish in a lone star saloon.DisclaimerPlease forgive my review. It is early morning and I have just woken up with a sore head, an empty bed and a full bladder.ConfesssionLet me begin with a confession that dearly wants to become an assertion.I probably read this ...
  • Samadrita
    This is the book which has given me anxiety attacks on sleepless nights.This is the book which has glared at me from its high pedestal of classical importance in an effort to browbeat me into finally finishing it. And this is that book which has shamed me into feigning an air of ignorance every time I browsed any of the countless 1001-books-to-read-before-you-die lists.Yes Jack Kerouac, you have tormented me for the past 3 years and every day I c...
  • Jahn Sood
    I've been thinking about this book a lot lately, so I figured that I'd go back and write something about it. When I first read this book, I loved it as a piece of art, but its effect on me was different than I expected. So many people hail Kerouac as the artist who made them quit their jobs and go to the road, become a hippie or a beat and give up the rest. When I read it though, I had been completely obsessed with hippie culture for a long time,...
  • Lala BooksandLala
    Read for an Aries inspired vlog https://youtu.be/voSrsRnGL68 Read for an Aries inspired vlog https://youtu.be/voSrsRnGL68
  • Michael Finocchiaro
    Kerouac's masterpiece breathes youth and vigor for the duration and created the American bohemian "beat" lifestyle which has been the subject of innumerable subsequent books, songs, and movies. I have read this at least two or three times and always feel a bit breathless and invigorated because of the restlessness of the text and the vibrance of the characters. There was an extraordinary exhibit at the Pompidou Center earlier this year where the ...
  • Fabian
    Herein lies that gnarly root of the all-American Sense of Entitlement. Coupling this with "Huck Finn" as THE quintessential American Novel is One Enormous mistake: Twain at least entertains, at least follows through with his intention, with his American take on the Quixotean legend; Kerouac might just be the biggest literary quack of the 20th century! The book is awkward, structured not as ONE single trip, but composed of a few coast-to-coast coa...
  • Adam
    Although the ideas hold a certain appeal, this book is ultimately just a half-assed justification of some pretty stupid, self-destructive, irresponsible, and juvenile tendencies and attitudes, the end result of which is a validation of being a deadbeat loser, a perpetual child. This validation is dressed up as a celebration of freedom etc. As literary art, stylistically, the book is pretty bad. The analogies to bebop or even free jazz are misguid...
  • Mark Lawrence
    I think this book, which launched Kerouac's career and gave him insta-fame, has to be seen as a product of its time.I found it a chore to read, a long dull boast about a series of road trips. It's populated by vacuous largely despicable alcoholics with zero impulse control and an unshakeable belief that they are deeply profound observers of the human condition.One saving grace of the book is that Kerouac has an unusual writing style with a strong...
  • Katerina
    “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” I am not really into classics.I always preferred the fantasy genre, due to an innate escapism, a vivid imagination and a constant longing for magic. But as you may tell, I didn't cast spells while reading On the Road. I didn't climb the dark wizard's tower, nor heard prophecies whispered in the dark. I set my sword aside for a while, and hushed my heart's desire to exp...
  • Meredith Holley
    The other day I was talking to someone and he said, “Well, I’m no pie expert . . . Wait! No! I am a pie expert. I am an expert at pie!” Another person asked, “How did you become a pie expert?”“One time I ate only pie for an entire week. I was driving across the country with my buddies, and we decided to eat only pie.”“Like Jack Kerouac in On the Road!” I said.“Yes! Exactly! That’s exactly what we were doing. We were reading ...
  • karen
    in september, this book will turn sixty years old! while i do not care for it personally, and the celebration of a couple of self-satisfied pseudo-intellectual doofuses and their buffet-style spirituality traveling across the country, leaving a number of pregnancies in their wake and exploiting underage mexican prostitutes makes me wonder why this book endures, endure it does. so i have made a road trip booklist with less ickiness and more cannib...
  • Matthew
    This was a 4 star book based on what it represents, the history of the genre, and my enjoyment of travel. From the get go, this is a stream of consciousness romp through North America. It seems like almost every city in the United States is mentioned at least once as Sal Paradise tells of his travels, the people he meets, those who join him, and his wild vagabond companion Dean Moriarity. I don't feel like the style of this book will appeal to ev...
  • Mike Puma
    I tried; I really tried. Everything was telling me—I was telling me—this is one I’m going to like. Instead, I got Pablum for the Young Rebel Soul. I suspect I approached this novel with the same myopic nostalgia that, occasionally, contributes to the delusion that young people who are just getting their driver’s licenses and I are ‘roughly’ the same age. More random thoughts to follow.So you want to write a novel, huh? But, dammit, yo...
  • J-Sin
    Pardon me while I write a scathing review for this book in the style of Kerouac, the Rambler.I really don't understand why this book is considered a classic. I think of it as nothing more than a diary written by a man who was soused all of the time and whose brain could not understand structure and the unwritten rules of writing. It's incoherent, rambles on for days, and the "style" is distracting and annoying enough that reading even a page make...
  • Lostinanovel
    I personally can't stand the characters. They cover up irresponsibility and real hurt to people in the guise of being artists. However, I do think there is more to this story.Sure, they are jerks and they are bums and they are full of a lot of BS but as the book progresses, it becomes clear that they know it. These guys are also WW2 vets, and very dissimilar to the hippies who follow them, they do not have any anti-American or anti-establishment ...
  • Anuradha
    EDIT: 26/03/2018 I just learnt that Sam and Dean from Supernatural were named after Sal and Dean, and I don't know what to believe in anymore. -- ORIGINAL REVIEW: ALTERNATE TITLE: White People ProblemsALTERNATE ALTERNATE TITLE: How Many Girls is Too Many Girls?ALTERNATE ALTERNATE ALTERNATE TITLE: Do I Sound Smart Yet?Why do people love this book? No seriously, I read it for the second time because I thought I was too young to have understood it...
  • Vit Babenco
    A rolling stone gathers no moss…Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.Roads weave into a tapestry of life… Roads interlace into a labyrinth… There is no end to them… One can’t reach a finish… One can only stop… Or to be stopped.A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted…There is a time to sow wild oats and a time to reap what was sown……ther...
  • Paul Bryant
    You couldn't pay me enough to re-read this baby now. Well, okay, I'd probably do it for £200. Alright, £100. Cash. Kerouac took over from Steinbeck as the guy I had to read everything by when I was a young person. Steinbeck himself took over from Ray Bradbury. All three American males with a sentimental streak as wide as the Rio Grande. Whole thing nearly turned me into a weepy hitchhiker who plays saxophone while he waits for a ride, then gets...
  • Jon Nakapalau
    This book takes me back to that once in a lifetime summer when you sit with your friends and say "we should just hit the road and let it take us anywhere." Over the years you look back and wonder - can you say that you took the road... "I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." But that difference is already faded; the road is covered over with the autumnal leafs of memory - and it is lost. Jack took that road; and I...
  • Trevor
    There are people, I’m quite prepared to admit, that I am more than happy to spend time with – even an entire week if needs be - as long, that is, as they agree to remain within proper and predictable boundaries. And often those boundaries are pretty well fixed by the covers of the book that I find them in. Look, I don’t mind if you don’t wash or you get so drunk or stoned or both that you find yourself fast asleep hanging onto a toilet to...
  • Matt
    I am a firm believer in a checklist for life. This wouldn't be surprising to anyone who knows me, for I am always attempting to enforce order onto chaos. This was my favorite part about college and lawschool; the fact that it broke life into fall semester, Christmas break, spring semester, and summer. It created a marvelous little cycle of struggle and reward. Life is not necessarily chaotic. However, it is certainly undelineated, uncertain, spra...
  • David Schaafsma
    I read this book when I was 20 and I loved it, it spoke like Truth to my Heart, and every summer I and one or some of my increasingly hairy friends got on the road West, to the Rockies, to the Grand Tetons, to backpack and climb and breathe in for a time the pure air of the West. Freedom, man! Back to Nature, one with Nature. At its best the writing was a celebration of all that is good in life, of love, of intoxications and lusts of various kind...
  • Derek
    The author William Kirn, in a piece for Slate magazine debating the merits of On The Road, wrote, "It's hard for me to summon any more 'critical distance' toward On the Road than I can toward the shape of my own face or the smell of my own sweat." I feel much the same way. For me, On the Road is inextricable from the time and place that I read it. I was, literally, on the road, looking at colleges in New England during my junior year of high scho...
  • Jason Koivu
    They're just good ol' boys never meaning no harm, making their way the only way they know how, but that's just a bit more than the law will allow...The characters of Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's On the Road are 20th Century equivalents of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer: boys having joyous American adventures. Sal and Dean trip (in more ways than one) back and forth from the east coast to the west, and down south even as far as Mexic...
  • Gabrielle
    Here’s the thing : there’s a time to read Kerouac, and it’s not your thirties. I first read “On the Road” when I was 19 and I loved how meandering and crazy it was… and in retrospect, I know it’s because I was similarly scattered and unhinged. When one’s in that headspace, it’s natural to appreciate that there’s a classic out there that captures the sort of spontaneous madness that most people only experience in the first half...
  • Emer (A Little Haze)
    Wow...Can I request a lobotomy please? Something to chase this utter mess of a novel from my brain, rid my memory of this painful reading experience. I mean I should have known better than to read this after reading Anu's fabulous review but well.... I'm one of those people that will read any book that is on any of those 100 books to read before you die type lists so I don't regret reading this because I can always say I have read Kerouac now. BT...
  • Maclain Rigdon
    I was in school at the Merchant Marine Academy. I was nineteen years old; a Georgia boy. I had no business being there. The deal at the academy is that you do six months of your Sophomore year and six months of your Junior years at sea. At least that’s how it used to be. I hear they are on trimesters now. Who knows? Anyway, it was this sea year that attracted me to the school in the first place.So I’m nineteen, heavy boozer, balls to the wall...
  • Shovelmonkey1
    I decided to re-read this recently, having originally read it too long ago as a 15 year old with a head full of clouds, fluffy ideas and idealism. Happy to report that the clouds and other fluff were replaced with an iron clad lump of cynicism which grows daily. This time round (more than fifteen years on)I enjoyed it more for the colourful style of writing and use of language which marked it as a book that defined a generation. I also realised t...