God, this book was a pile of shite. Even for me, who really only decided on On the Road for my American Classic because of Supernatural and the fact that Dean Winchester was based loosely on the character of Dean Moriarty. Even with little to no expectations going in, this book was terrible.
What is it even about? There’s this really loose concept of a bunch of asshole young people piling into cars and driving at ridiculous speeds across America to go and make nuisances of themselves in peoples’ houses. Add in a lot of drug use, sex, and music and you have the basic image of what the story contains. Which sounds fun until you realise that this group of characters – Sal and Dean especially – are the worst people ever. They borrow and steal, cheat on their other halves, make themselves unwanted guests at friends’ houses and aimlessly drive up and down the country looking only for their next opportunity to do it all over again. I hated them.
I don’t really get what’s so iconic about this novel because I refuse to believe that people have managed to romanticize Sal and Dean’s lifestyles – why would you ever want to be a burden upon someone else? Maybe it’s the sexuality thing – Dean Moriarty is openly bisexual and there are clear inferences that he has slept with both men and women, sometimes at the same time, throughout the book (I HATE you, Supernatural) while Sal, our narrator, often seems to walk a very fine line between platonic and romantic love for Dean. Very disappointed that they didn’t bang tbh. You give me two hundred pages of sex and drugs but not Sal/Dean?
Would not recommend this book to anyone but hey, it is absurdly popular so clearly there is something about this book that touches people. I’ll just be over here, hating it anyway.
An American Classic.