My friend Bill recommended this book – he thought it was a perfect summer reading book. I’ve heard about it hundreds of times, but I’ve never read it. I’m glad I did, and I agree wholeheartedly, Bill – this is a great summer reading book.
Jack and his growing and suspect group of friends travel back and forth across this huge country and into Mexico over the course of several years. There is no desire to settle down, but there is a strong desire to experience the next amazing thing and the next spectacular location. And that location is usually far away from where they are. These beat generation explorers wanted nothing to do with what the rest of America was doing in the 1950s.
The book evoked memories of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, with the extraordinary, insane, and often humorous experiences brought on by drifting, drugs, and a lack of responsibility. The only time in my life like this was my four months of temporarily dropping out of college to be a street musician in Berlin. And that was a magical time of drifting and suspension of responsibility. Note the lack of drugs – I’ve never been a drug guy.
They had no business surviving with all that they experienced, but they did. I loved the book (Thanks, Bill!), and it certainly evoked feelings of what summer should feel like – at least a little bit.