Even if I looked past all the misogyny, racism, and homophobia (which I can’t, because romantic racism/I-grew-up-in-the-racist-50s racism is still racism, etc.), Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is still boring and lazy.
I don’t mind how nothing “happens” in On the Road. I’ve seen Richard Linklater films; I get it. On the Road is tragically boring, because Kerouac comes across as a guy who assumes that everything he says and thinks is automatically worthwhile. It’s not.
Kerouac isn’t even necessarily a bad writer, just a lazy one, which is a shame. His prose is quite nice at a times, but these moments are rare and easy to miss. Kerouac’s attempt to mimic the style of jazz improv in his writing ends up just sounding like he’s speaking. Yes, it’s spontaneous, but unlike jazz, clunky and unentertaining. On the Road would’ve really benefited if Kerouac spent less time jerking off to Hemingway and more time working on his actual writing.
Perhaps On the Road’s flaws are largely due to the autobiographical nature of the novel. I’m at least willing to read some of Kerouac’s other work to see if this holds true.
If Kerouac deserves credit for one thing, it’s for his groundbreaking work being an original sad boi™. There is no doubt hipsters and softboys worldwide will forever be indebted to dear Jack.