Saturday, January 01, 2005

Man, That River's Got Crazy Rhythm

I did finish the Kerouac book Windblown World yesterday. I'm not positive yet, but I don't think I'll be submitting a review for it. The mag I review for targets adult books for a teen audience, and I can't imagine a teen reading this. In fact, I can't imagine many adults reading this either.

Roughly 2/3 of the book is a status report of his writings, with some thoughts on writing, art and life peppered here and there. Probably of interest to writers and big fans of Kerouac, but I doubt anyone else would be interested in his word count or the one-sided discussions of the perfection of the common man.

The last third of the book is kind of a travel journal, covering his bus and hitchhiking adventures from NY City to California and back. His descriptions of the American landscape are quite beautiful, and there are some hints of the quasi-automatic style he'd develop in On the Road, but not a lot happens. Mostly just a lot of observations of the land and his friends, along with some general thoughts and pontifications. There are a few scattered moments showing a healthy obsession with women (he apparently had a strong attraction to lean thighs), although there are a few attractions to teenage girls that would definitely be taboo these days. But basically, it's what you'd expect from a journal. A well written journal, but still a journal. I'll probably send my editor a query about it, and see if they want me to bother with a review. I can probably spin it if I focus on the latter third. If they don't want it, I might look at sending it somewhere else. It's a good book, just not for everyone.

Today I started reading Tom Perrotta's Little Children. Since Perrotta wrote the novel the movie Election was based on, I'm expecting some wacky but smart character comedy. I could use a laugh or two after the drunky-drunkerton beatnik.


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