2023 Book Review Adventure Book Reviews Fiction

The Dharma Bums

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Two ebullient young men search for Truth the Zen way: from marathon wine-drinking bouts, poetry jam sessions, and “yabyum” in San Fransisco’s Bohemia, to solitude in the high Sierras and a vigil atop Desolation Peak in Washington State. Published just a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums is sparked by Kerouac’s expansiveness, humor, and a contagious zest for life.


The moment I finished this book I stared at the blank page that followed the last sentence, stared at my wall with my head resting on my hand, paced around my room without really thinking any one thing, then sat down again and let out a little hysterical laugh.

It’s done.

While reading I was worried. Why am I reading this? This is so outdated. Am I missing the point? I can’t believe Kerouac wrote that. What if I’m wasting my time? This page is falling apart. Am I reading this out of nostalgia?

Once I finished, all things quieted. Somehow the ending resolved and more importantly dissolved everything. It filled me with a sense of complete understanding without truly acquiring anything. My chest was filled with the satisfied feeling that follows a great task.

I finished this book, yet somehow I didn’t finish it because it never truly started. 

Who knows if this is the true Dharma ideology Kerouac was trying to instill, as he’s been dead for 54 years, but somehow I know that trying to solve the puzzle would completely muddle the point… or not.

There’s no more pages to turn and now it’s time to go down the mountain.

There was something else I was going to write that brought all of these thoughts into the conclusion that perfectly portrayed my understanding of understanding, but I forgot it after doing the math to figure out how long Kerouac has been gone.

So long.

Let’s Talk:
  • Have you read the Dharma Bums?
  • Any beatnik recommendations?
  • Any grand adventures planned?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s