On the Road was great. I fell in deep, unashamed love with Kerouac when I read that. But in The Dharma Bums, I fell a little out of love.
I bought a Selected Novels edition from Borders (bless their soul) when they went out of business in my town. I was so excited that I told myself I was going to read them all, consecutively and it would be pure reading magic.
After On the Road was finished I was even more certain of this reading magic. Once I got to the end of The Dharma Bums, the magic was gone.
While it still has the same voice and writing style as On the Road, it wasn’t nearly as engaging or entertaining. There was great imagery and I certainly ‘got’ the ideas and feelings being expressed, but what was once love for the supplanting of real life of Kerouac things became an annoyance.
Reading, or even hearing about, the spiritual journeys of others is often fascinating and something I’d definitely be into. And I thought this venture into Zen Buddhism would even more definitely be something I’d dig. Still a good book, just wound up a little disappointing and left me laying my Kerouac to rest on the shelf for awhile.