Sometimes there is a book that just changes the way you think, that gives you new insight into who you are and what your role in the universe is. On the Road is not that book.
I read this primarily because it appeared on a list of "100 must-read books". I'm a sucker for those lists, since I read voraciously and with little discrimination. In this case we have a book that is supposed to have been world-shaking and life-changing. The blurb on the back says "The book the shook straight America", but in my opinion, the only shaking was the tremors that came from readers thudding to the floor unconscious from boredom. Now I realize that the world of 1955 may have been a bit different from today, but there is still nothing about this to make it stand out. I felt not one whit of sympathy for the characters (or even interest in their fate) and the events are just a series of typical young-man-on-the-loose vignettes. Maybe you have to be stoned to get anything out of it, or maybe it just isn't a very well written book. My money's on the latter.