Monday, July 24, 2006
I realize this is supposed to be a landmark novel, a document of a change in American consciousness (or at least of the generalization into the youthful mainstream of a change of consciousness begun much earlier). Perhaps I'm too old to be reading it for the first time, because I found Yawn the Road a turgid, restless, unfocused mish-mash--and I'm a restless seeking soul typically open to freaky drugheads who wander around observing. Yes, there are some frenetic passages that whisk one along with zippy bee-bop language, but the same can be said for Penthouse Letters XV,which no one insists must be read by every senior in high school. I not only disliked it, I found it a completely hateful chore to finish, but did so out of some misguided obligation to the 'canon.'
This novel will be taught as a curiosity in cultural studies classes 50 years from now, if it survives at all. The Academy should cast it aside and focus on more worthy, lesser-known material by far more interesting Beat figures.