‘Beat, Bop, Bumming About’
I’d never read this book before. I’d heard of it, of course, but I didn’t really know anything about it. To be honest, I just thought it was a non-fiction travelogue of a journey across the U.S., not a fictionalised account of the rise of the beat generation.
It is fiction, but apparently only lightly so - Kerouac did indeed take many of the journeys outlined in the book.
But what made the book stand out for me was the ‘texture’ of the writing. The way he described people and their actions really helped bring them alive to me. I could picture them in my mind andI heard their individual voice when they spoke.
This doesn't happen much for me.
It was fascinating to read about the U.S. in the post-WW2 era, although translating money values was tricky for me. (The dollar was worth more, but not at a fixed rate for all items - a sofa will have had a different rate of inflation since then than a gallon of petrol/gas.)
But most interesting to me was the affect music and writing had on them. The characters described in the book would go out to music clubs at night (they liked their bop!), sleep during the day, travel, and in their spare time would be writing a book. Such was the Beat Generation, apparently.