Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beat Generation? Try Let’s Beat My Brains Out

Okay here’s my one moment for being uncivilized in this post: “Oh my gosh, it’s over! It is FINALLY OVER, about bloody time!” Phew okay I’m glad I got that out of my system, now I will try to tackle this post in a professional attitude.

You might be asking “Maddie why did you decide to read On the Road by Jack Kerouac? What possibly could have provoked you to read such a book?” I might ask myself the same question if I didn’t already know. A couple of months ago a young man came into the shop and we talked and talked for near 2 hours about books. He couldn’t stop talking about books by these guys who started the Beat Generation. He said they were great and that I should read Kerouac’s On the Road. I’d never heard of the Beat Generation. Truth be told I pictured a group of men obsessed with the idea of beets. What’s so great about them? I don’t even like beets. Well because I admired his love and knowledge of books I thought what the heck why not read it. It wasn’t until I went to my favorite bookstore in Ohio in August that I was able to procure my copy. Lois, my friend at the bookstore, told me it was time for me to read Adult books.

I had no idea what this book was about and you know me I don’t read inside covers. Of course my brother A. David, forever knowing things I didn’t know he knows, knew exactly who Jack Kerouac was. In fact he said he wanted to read the book when I was finished.

I started to read and was slightly intrigued. Kerouac has an interesting way of writing. I could compare it to Steinbeck’s books; it has that same taste on the tongue only not boring. He knows so much of his surroundings and likes describing things in great detail.

That’s where it ends, my liking anything about it. Dean Moriarty enters the picture and I’m begging for the relative peace I found in the story without him. He is the type of person who sits around trying to talk about nothing and make it something. It doesn’t work on me it’s still nothing! Your deep theological thinking is only you thinking you’re a deep thinker Dean. You dig it?!? No! I don’t dig it nor will I ever dig things. My gosh, talk about the beginning of the end of intelligent conversation. The Beat Generation was the nurturer of the hippy generation, that blight of mankind. A time where looking back you think why? You (or at least I don’t) don’t want to claim it as part of your world’s history. Can you tell I don’t like Dean? He essentially is a corruptive and manipulative person that Sal, the main narrator of the book, never seems to see that way.

What can possibly be redeeming about a book that encourages and dwells on sex, drugs, and ditching responsibility to have fun and dig stuff? How can such a book be considered one of the greatest books of the 20th Century? What I can glean from this book that’s beneficial?

While reading this book I looked up Beat Generation and according to Wikipedia the Beat Generation was spontaneous, creativity, strongly positive. . . NOT! Spontaneous most definitely, creative or positive, I can think of a hundred other things that are. Is it any wonder people thought we were going to hell in a hand basket in the 60s? I can imagine looking around thinking everyone has lost their minds as I do when I’m reading about the Beat Generation. The loss of coherence and sense is too much to process. Quite possibly a waste of raw talent; they turned into the modern age of literature.

I’ll be reading up on the Beat Generation. I already have a book and plan to read it soon. I can’t form an honest or such a harsh opinion of that era without reading further.

Did I like On the Road? I think it’s obvious, I did not.

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