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83 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare treat of a book
Somehow I imagined the scroll to be an incomprehensible mess that editors had to sift through in order to create something that could be published as a novel. I was very far from the truth.

The Original Scroll is an example of excellent writing. Yes, it's missing paragraphs, but the style is sharp like a knife's edge. Kerouac's text has power to concentrate...
Published on August 18, 2007 by John Woods

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179 of 210 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Take Detour, Uneven Road Ahead.
On the Road, Jack Kerouac's epic of road travel and search for meaning in the late 1940s, was written in three weeks time, typed on a long scroll, which was really several pieces of paper taped together. Kerouac's writing has a stream of conscious, spastic nature, although it went through many years of revisions before being published. The story fictionally recounts true...
Published on January 17, 2008 by Vincent D. Pisano


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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me., October 6, 2012
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
Three hundred pages of whining, grousing and getting loaded. "On the Road" is a picture of America from the viewpoint of a misogynistic bigot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK, February 3, 2001
By 
Beatboy (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
This book changed my life and I'm sure has changed the lives of several others. It changed my life, because the book is about changing, experimenting, enjoying, and just simply living.
This book is also about a quiet, contemplative man, Sal Paradise, (who is thought to be Jack Kerouak himself,) who encounters a man, Dean Moriarty, (Neal Cassidy,) who influences him to change and experience the life Sal has always wanted. They dare to leave New York and have an experience that could not possibly be more intriguingly described than by the zesty, fun-loving writing style of Jack Kerouak.
There is a little bit of psychology in this book, as in analyzing the unique relationship between Dean and Sal, and there is plenty of philosiphy as well. These two characteristics of this book made it ever-more interesting and enjoyable to read.
The message of this book is clear. Enjoy life. Some people live their life worrying so much whether they'll get "It" or not, that they spend too much time worrying whether they will and don't get "It" at all. To succeed is to enjoy, and Jack Kerouak proves that in this ride through post-WWII America.
It's Good. Really Good.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mad to live, mad to talk. But worth reading?, July 31, 2000
By 
D. Bannister (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
"...and I shambled after as I've been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, made to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who 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!"" This is a sentence you do not read. You drink. You gulp and you lust for more. Unforunately in this nihilist anthem of the Beat generation, On the Road, there are few other pearls like this one. The madness turns out be commonplace and Sal and Dean's travels more pitiful, youthful folly than poetry. On the Road highlights a time when Sal is searching for definitions and a place, and where radical experiences with our friends often determine who we are. As Sal and his friend Dean pinball America as beat Bedouins, tilting for jazz, sex, and IT we hear Kerouac finding a rhythm that he would pound on his drum in the decades to follow. For many he defined freedom, and for a few a quasi-sustainable subculture called Beat. Kerouac's style is stream of consciousness, which sometimes works in the hands of master novelists (To the Lighthouse, Sound and Fury) but through others often doesn't. Here the results are mixed. Ginsberg and his crew largely built the mystique of this book on scattered gems like the one quoted here and misty extrapolations. And yet that is perhaps the beauty of it to so many people, for it is a flawed chronicle of travel and seeking but a magnificent dream. If you are searching for a book on the Beat era then this is one of the seminal works. However, if you are searching for a novel that reflects an authentic life journey I would recommend Siddhartha or Narcissus and Goldmund (currently OP) by Herman Hesse, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Pirsig, or Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.. They are all finer pieces than On the Road by Jack Kerouac. (Please Note: I, in principal, believe that the rating of reviewers seriously affects the altruism of the review process...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Day After Superman Died, May 26, 2008
By 
Lars Tackmann (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
I began this book with weary thoughts, suspecting some Beatles, hippie mumbo jumbo about life, love and drugs. I was right but also dead wrong. After reading it I can fully understand why this is thought of as the definitive read from the beat generation.

It's basically a crazed story on life on the road, of two friends who for a brief period becomes soul mates and experiences the real world as it is meant to be, on the road. The prose is filled with energy and your own imagination rushes along with the author's and at places even goes beyond his. I have read few books that does this to me in the same way, perhaps even none. Similarly to one of those well written Hemingway travel stories, you want to get out there - it makes you want to experience life - to find and be inspired by Dean Moriarty, the mighty road God.

I can't recommend this book highly enough, it is one to be read over and over again. To remind us that life is holy and to help us fully enjoy every precious moment of it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Stories, Flawed Book, January 28, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
"Let's just drive. Maybe we ought to go back, though?" That sums up Jack Kerouac's On the Road. The characters travel just for the sake of gaining new experiences while they are fully aware that their lifestyles will not advance them economically or socially. Sal and Dean, the main characters, go on wild road trips, do drugs and have sex with many women. At first it is fun to read of their adventures but it is definitely not worth 300 or so pages. There is no real plot holding together the tales of drugs and driving so it is hard to motivate yourself to continue with the book. One might argue that this is the best format because it matches the Beat lifestyles, unguided and spontanious, but even if that is the case books are not supposed to be burdensome to read. Jack Kerouac has amazing stories to tell but I wish he could have consolidated the book a bit or given his format more thought because it is not the most compelling thing to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME, MYSTICAL AND CAPTIVATING!, May 23, 2001
By 
Sandra D. Peters "Seagull Books" (Prince Edward Island, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
This is one of my favourite books of all time. The characters are rich, deep, and possess an off-beat mystical sense of wonder. Follow the trail of frenetic characters, Sal and Dean, as they set out on a wild ride across America. For those who are freedom lovers and remember the nostalgic days of the Beat movement, you will love the escapades and adventures encountered in this book. It is a journey into a search for self-insight and life's true purpose and meaning. Based on the Beat movement of the 50's, the reader will be exposed to the mystical wonder and beauty of life, compassion for humanity, and encounter a world of drugs, sex and jazz. The characters are so vibrant, the actions so real, you will feel as if you are actually there, along side these dynamic characters. Do not miss this book; it is a terrific adventure in an era when freedom meant "doing your own thing, in your own way, in your own time."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and easy read!, February 12, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
I'd just like to say that ON THE ROAD is an incredibly easy book to read -- at least, for me. I just finished it, and no matter how burnt out I was after work, how tired, I was always able to pick it up and enjoy it. This may be just a matter of style, I don't know. But for a purported "20th century classic," it was the most fun I've had reading a book -- any book -- in a while. The novel also seemed to contain an endless share of vicarious, life-affirming thrills. This book reminded me of why I used to love to travel, see new things, experience life -- damn, it's fun! I recommend this book to anyone; it truly is an exhilarating novel, and in reading it, you'll fall into a dream, a fantasy of freedom and the open road. Try it! Along with ON THE ROAD, I'd like to recommend THE LOSERS' CLUB by Richard Perez, another novel that re-kindled fond memories of my youth! (Jeez, I'm only 31 -- what happened?!)
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GO!, November 17, 1999
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
I picked up this book with the assumption that it was about nothing more than the scraggly haired goatteed bongo beaters called beatniks that I've seen on tv, but when I read it, i found that the word "beat" doesn't describe the way people dress and wear their facial hair, but it describes a whole fantastic way of life. This book hepled me to see that there are people who own themselves and that aren't held up by the fake ideas of society that we've created. Its hard to say what kind of feelings this book can put into you, but for me it burned a word into my brain that hasn't gone away since I've read it: GO! So read it and GO, LIVE!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Out-dated At All, March 31, 2000
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
Of course, I never have been the sort of person to think that something is less worthy of greatness because it's from the past. Even though I am 18. I'm having trouble thinking of words to describe this book, but every time I set it down I had a huge smile on my face. The flow of images across the whole country is incredible. Yet it didn't make me want to travel anywhere, just to experience my own everyday adventures with something like the wide-eyed wonder of Dean. To meet every person assuming they'll be interesting, and decide every single day that something interesting is going to happen. I've got a smile on my face right now in fact.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kerouac's Seminal Book Still Haunts and Resonates After All These Years, August 16, 2006
This review is from: On the Road (Paperback)
Jack Kerouac's seminal work still resonates nearly fifty years after its original publication because the writing is still quite ripe with human insight and attitudes that have changed little when it comes to seizing the day. His novel focuses on innocent Sal Paradise, who narrates the story, and his inspiration, a wild spirit he meets in New York named Dean Moriarty. As polar opposites, they share but one common bond, a pervasive feeling of desperation in a time when the Cold War produced a spiritual void and a sense of nihilism. Their response is to set out on the road and live life one precious moment at a time. Through Kerouac's stream-of-consciousness narrative, the two experience life in all its dimensions in all sorts of settings throughout the country, whether in sleepy towns, rural areas or big cities, bouncing from New York to Chicago to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Mexico and back again.

In the process, Sal and Dean meet some memorable characters along the way in places as diverse as a Virginia diner, a New York jazz nightclub and a Mexican border bordello. The jazz, poetry and drug experiences that Kerouac chronicles have a palpable feel about them as they represent how the characters dealt with their often desperate feelings about death, an ethos quite central to what the Beat Generation was all about back then. The prose can get quite maddening at times, but that is exactly Kerouac's point, the fact that life is not a carefully constructed story with a message. In fact, much of the book resulted from the author's scribblings in tiny notebooks he kept while traveling for a period of seven years. Even though there is a dated feeling in the portrayal of the American Dream specific to that period, the novel still haunts with Kerouac's imagery of people whose individual spirits either crushed them or left them still searching for greater meaning.
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On the Road (Penguin Classics)
On the Road (Penguin Classics) by Scott Donaldson (Paperback - December 31, 2002)
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