On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Genre: Literary Fiction - Modern Classic? 
Rating: 5 stars
I've always wanted to read this book, but it has always intimidated me. I'm glad I finally picked it up. Even before reading it, people had already warned me that this novel was one of those that you either love or hate, depending heavily on what you think of Jack Kerouac's views and his writing style. I am ecstatic to say that I loved it. 

There was just something about this novel that captured my interest while reading it. It felt like I was getting the chance to have an intimate look into one's scattered brain. Jack Kerouac's prose is also just lovely to read. It reads like a heavy stream of consciousness. It's a little messy and sometimes random, but the most important part is it's honest and real. 

I do see the flaws that the people in the book have (especially Dean), but I appreciate how realistic they were. Despite some negative attributes and actions, there were clearly good things that anyone can appreciate and learn from them. I love their free spirit and enthusiasm, and how they never seemed to lose their sense of wonder. They actively searched for the meaning of their lives in all the places they went and the people they met along the way. Through everything, they never lost their adventurous souls. 

I could easily go on and analyze its themes and messages. I could also just say that it's a book that can be appreciated academically due to its brilliant literary merit. However, for me, the book meant more than that. I loved it for its realistic take on humanity and one's struggles, fears, hopes, and dreams. It also proved to me that the only thing that can make you richer in life is experience. It pushed in my mind that there is nothing worse than not doing things you want to do, out of fear of the possible consequences. It reminded me that I should take risks even if it's the scariest thing to do. It made me think about these well-known lines from Erin Hanson's poem: 
There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, "What if I fall?" 
Oh but my darling, what if you fly? 

I do agree that this book is not for everyone. I understand why some give it a one-star rating, so my my advice is for you to just see if it's something you might like. I would generally recommend this to you if it's been on your TBR for a while. Consider this a little nudge for you to pick it up already. I would also recommend this if you like literary fiction or want to wander around the genre. For me, I'm glad I finally read it and I can't wait to read his other books as well. 


  1. I don't usually go in for stream of consciousness, but have always been curious about this book. Maybe I'll just download a sample to my kindle...

    1. Great idea. I always try to read a sample from a book first before purchasing! Kindles are awesome for that :P

  2. It's such a coincidence that you reviewed this book because when I was in a bookshop only yesterday I literally had it in my hand and was considering buying it. In the end I went for some graphic novels instead, just for a change, but On The Road is still near the top of my TBR list. I don't really know what the plot is but from the sounds of it it's pretty rambly, which is fine by me. In terms of the characters, I don't really care whether they are 'good' people or not, I'll just be interested in them if they're interesting. I've been wanting to read more literary fiction so this is definitely near the top of my TBR list now. Great review!

    1. I would love to know when you do pick it up and read it!