I should have read this as a teenager, as planned but my best friend picked it up from the school library first and I was fixated with Rosa Guy novels anyway. Having belatedly read it, I’m wondering what all the fuss is about although I appreciate it may have been ground-breaking and radical in the 1950s.
Rosa Guy wrote, in my impressionable young mind, fascinating novels about negroes (as it was then) teenagers living in Harlem, New York. No doubt these books formed part of my discovery and love affair of New York.
I imagine On the Road came out at time when the career ladder had been fully formed and a fairly set pattern was put into place: school, college, job, marry, family, retire, and die.
The book rebels against that and even though every generation thinks they invented sex, how many exploitations do we need to read about whilst hitch-hiking across America for the umpteenth time?
Sex, drugs, prison, drink, law-breaking, girls and friendships, that’s if you count being constantly let down, friendship.
Just to add to the male fantasy, every single girl that the characters come across make a pass at them so it’s not a question of ‘if’ sex is on the agenda, it’s who with.
Technically it has everything a story needs and it’s an all time classic, but not timeless although I’m still glad I stood on Mr Kerouac’s star in San Francisco. 5/10 Inspiration factor 4/10