I don’t read a lot of autobiographies. Or fictionalized life re-tellings. Some I enjoy, but mostly they either bore the pants off me, or they make me feel like I’m somehow wasting my life.
Even stories like On the Road can have this effect. I hated reading that. It was very tough, because everything in it runs together. It has a terrible vibrancy to it: life lived at a breakneck pace. The guys in On the Road are pretty reprehensible on the whole: they don’t have any kind of morality. That was, I guess, the point. Nevertheless, they get up to all kinds of amazing things. Things that astonish you to read about. When you look at your own life, it never seems amazing. It takes a certain kind of mind to be fascinated with itself. Those minds devise autobiographies?
The thing which took the longest for me to absorb when reading that specific story was the age of the characters. They’re not footloose kids who can’t know better because they’ve never been around: indeed not! They’re largely living it up in their late twenties, or early-mid thirties. Old enough to know better?
Anyway, despite the meagre and dire circumstances described by much of the book, I always wonder if they’re seeing some deeper truth that I am not. Living life to its fullest, in broad terms. This speculation hasn’t yet inspired a desire to throw it all in and live the wild hedonistic lifestyle. But I’m young yet.