Thursday 27 September 2012

Jack Kerouac's On The Road

It's my favourite book. And now the movie's coming out.

The magic of the book, for me, is in the language. Kerouac's use of words, his epic mystical ramblings that light up your SOUL! I've never known anything like it. The book is a big joy for me every time I read it.

And I like MY vision. The Denver in my imagination, the sweet little Marylou I picture.

I worry that, if I watch the movie, then I'll never be able to fully enjoy my vision again, what do you think?

This might seem trivial but to me, it's important! The art that we love carries us through life.  When people grow up loving Tom Hanks or John Wayne or Audrey Hepburn, it becomes a part of their identity.

And you are what you read.

And I'm not a bible reader-- instead I have books like 'On The Road' and they fill me up good. But what if I hate the film but the images stick with me? What if I can never get back the 'On The Road' that I love?

On the other hand, I'm so curious to see what they've done. To see what it looks like.

But anyway, I don't even see what's appealing about Jack Kerouac on the big screen? It was all about the words. The journey you go on in your mind. Turning his words into cinematic interpretations, no way will it be as good!

I brought this up on the Facebook page a few weeks ago, and everyone said I should go see it, but should I? How often are the adaptations great? And this isn't just a book I like, it's my favourite one! I love every darn word I come across in that thing and all the places it takes me.

I don't want to lose any of that. But at the same time, it's fascinating that they've made the movie. I'm curious to see it, I want to know what they did. But I don't want to lose my vision of it--- but I fear the experience of the movie will forever infect my imagination on future reads. What should I do?

Care to share?


  1. I generally don't like watching adaptations of my favourite books; they almost always leave me disappointed.

    The only exception I can think of was To Kill a Mockingbird, which I was reluctant to watch for many years, for the reasons you outlined in this article.

    I finally bit the bullet and watched the DVD last month and luckily I loved it. In fact, I found it quite emotional seeing Harper Lee's world brought to life by Gregory Peck and the rest of the cast.

    For me experiences like that are rare, so I do empathise with your quandary.

  2. I was one of the ones on Facebook suggesting that you see it. I love that book too and am just curious to see how they will interpret it. I'd like to see it but I have read that book several times and pictured my own ideas.

    My best example of studios vision not matching my own was Tom Hanks in the DaVinci Code & Angels & Demons. I didn't picture anyone that looked like him and he's one of my favorite actors. I watched the films out of curiosity but it still felt weird. Tom Hanks just didn't fit my concept of that character physically.

    I guess I'm willing to give anything a chance but I understand your concern. I'd still see it just to see how they present it.

  3. I feel the exact same way. On the Road is my favorite book of all time -- I have taken it on nearly all of my travels -- but I am apprehensive to see the film adaptation. It doesn't help that I have little interest in seeing Kristen Stewart or Garrett Hedlund in lead roles. It can't possibly do the book justice, can it?

  4. I bought On the Road on a rainy Tuesday in Stockport last month and read it cover to cover in two days. It's fantastic!

    I've dipped into it every day since, especially the chapter where Sal rides across the plains with the Minnesota farmers, Mississippi Gene and Montana Slim.

    Like you I'll be avoiding the film adaptation, and I'll probably think of you and this post every time I read On the Road in the future.
    You're The Dean Moriarty of the blogging world.

    1. Paul I am so happy you liked it! It's a perfect book for a rainy afternoon in Stockport. Not that I've been to Stockport, I don't think, but I've been to many places like it. Hell, now I just feel like we should take a road trip from London to Stockport and then on to anywhere! And we can keep driving and riding and seeing until we're gone gone far up North or someplace else and then home.

  5. Kid, it's hard to believe six months have passed since I first read On The Road; and I must have dipped into it almost every day since.
    Have you seen the movie yet?
    I finally watched it on DVD this week and didn't really enjoy it. For me it didn't capture the energy of Kerouac's writing and there were far too many sex scenes for my taste.
    It does have some beautiful cinematography though, and Sal's final words are faithful to the source.

    "I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty, the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty."