By Jack Kerouac
Da Capo Press, $23.00, 216 pages
Adrift on the Island of Manhattan, nearly broke and wondering where all his money has gone, Wesley (Wes) finds himself with sixty-five cents in his pocket. Contemplating the loss of his eight hundred dollars, to drinking and one-night stands, he finds himself near Columbia University and hooks up with a group of people and a Professor (Everhart) from the university. After drinking with this group for the rest of the day, Wes finds himself in bed with Polly, who has clearly fallen for the mysterious traveler. Wes and Professor Everhart agree to get breakfast supplies while the girls brew some coffee. During their shopping, they stop off for a beer and Wes tells Everhart that its time for him to move on as he’s broke and needs get a ship so he can make some money. Everhart, tired of life at Columbia, wants to tag along (even though he is the sole supporter of his ailing father). Wes and Everhart decide to head for Boston so that Wes can sign on with a ship; Wes agrees to help Everhart get his papers for the Merchant Marine so they’ll be able to ship out together. Long story short, they arrive in Boston where the professor gets his papers, the ship is hiring seamen; Wes runs across his wife (whom he had abandoned), she wants him back, but Wes escapes her clutches and he and the professor sail off into the North Atlantic.
Overall, I’m quite glad I have never read any other of Kerouac’s novels. The book is shallow and leaves one feeling that it wasn’t finished.
Reviewed by Dick Morris