Kenton Crowther’s latest short e-book, a 3200-word essay titled Kerouac on the Binge (perhaps rather indelicately), is not an in-depth study of the author and his work, but rather the thoughtful musings of one who has read Kerouac’s works in depth, and has something to say about them.
You might see the word “binge” and think it refers to drinking. And, that’s certainly something that Kerouac did plenty of. But what Crowther is getting at is more than that – a life lived as a binge. Binge living, binge writing.
Written in Crowther’s own distinctive, freewheeling, conversational manner – peppered with retro hipster lingo – the author delves into Kerouac’s writing style, the genesis of On the Road, the intensity of writing process.
There’s a short bit on benzedrine and its energizing effects on the Beats. Then, Crowther briefly considers marketing – and how Allen Ginsberg often helped him in that department – contrasted with modern-day marketing techniques. Crowther tells of Warner Brothers’ early offer for an On the Road movie, which was declined in favor of a better offer which never came. He finishes up with a chapter devoted to Kerouac’s appearance on The Steve Allen Show, and his sad, late-life decline.
While Kerouac scholars won’t find any new discoveries here, casual readers of Kerouac will likely find it an entertaining, if brief, read. And, those who have yet to read the man’s works—or who haven’t treated themselves to the pleasure in a while—may just be inspired to go find a copy of On the Road, and start reading.