Monday, August 07, 2006

Book Review: The Dharma Bums

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

Its a simple story of a friendship between two men in the late 1950's searching for their Buddhism. By this, I mean they are trying to understand their own Buddhist beliefs and practices. Ray and Japhy have the wander-bug which takes them all over the West in search for the next great Buddhist high.

I've always had a difficult time relating to Beatnik writing and especially Kerouac. I know who I am and tend to not delve into soul-searching much. My friend Kurt is a professor specializing in the Beat Generation and we would often have conversations regarding Kerouac. I feel that you either can relate to his writing or cannot. I'm not saying that his writing has no value, I just have no interest in it. It doesn't do anything for me. I enjoy books that move me, excite me, teach me and anger me and this just didn't do anything for me. Its just another story.

As an interesting side note, I didn't appreciate the roles women played in this book. They were either cooking or present for "yabyum." Granted this is the late 50s' but I didn't like it. I thought the beatniks were more progressive than this.

A good story about soul-searching, Buddhism, and the West coast in the 1950s but not my cup o' tea.

Kim's Grade: B-

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