My Book World
I got what I deserved for reading this book: perpetual arousal. My God, maybe one of the most sex-laden books of literary biography I’ve ever read: all about one man and his friends and lovers. According to Amburn, Kerouac keeps a sex list of not only his partners but how many times they engage. It amounts to a sexual track meet of stupendous proportions (if self-reporting is accurate): sex with men, sex with women. Maybe the man had a third testicle? Enough of that.
Because Amburn turns out to be Kerouac’s final editor, a young man attempting to make his mark in publishing, he stands to have one of the most tolerant and understanding viewpoints of the controversial author of On the Road and at least a dozen other novels. Like a number of important American authors before him, Kerouac is ahead of his time, ahead of what critics are capable of understanding. Like many writers, he must scramble for money nearly his entire life, never experiencing the adulation that is to come after his premature death, when he dies at forty-seven of alcoholism. But if anything, he remains a hero of young writers of all ages, writers who are willing to put everything on the line, to write novels the way they want to, not kowtowing to editors, publishers, or even the public. For that, yes, he is a true hero.
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