Read Dr. Sax by Jack Kerouac Online


“Kerouac dreams of America in the authentic rolling rhythms of a Whitman or a Thomas Wolfe, drunk with eagerness for life.”—John K. Hutchens...

Title : Dr. Sax
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802130495
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 245 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dr. Sax Reviews

  • Mark
    2018-12-12 01:26

    Oh God--what a magnificent book with language so beautiful that I have to gasp between sentences. Kerouac himself said it was his personal favorite (while drunk during an interview for Italian tv). No one--I mean, no one--has ever captured the terrible magic and mystery of childhood lost better than Ti Jean.

  • S.D.
    2018-12-04 20:39

    Forget, for the moment, about On the Road: anyone about to read Kerouac should start here. Dr. Sax is the crystallization of Kerouac’s creative integrity and vision. Here, his style is unencumbered by the editorial “corrections” that helped make On the Road a best-seller, but compromised its thematic execution – and the imagination that produced the mythical Dr. Sax is the same that, in the guise of Sal Paradise, seeks redemption. Here, revealed in its purest realization, is the source of the loss and desperation that haunt On the Road, and lead to the physical, emotional and creative breakdown in Big Sur. As a portrayal of imagination and its inevitable, universal loss, it’s an inspirational heartbreak.

  • Jack Beltane
    2018-11-27 19:12

    Thing is, most of Kerouac's work is not linear and neat and tidy. It's poorly punctuated stream-of-consciousness, skipping from image to image to emotion to sensation. So if you think you like Kerouac because you liked On the Road, you may not like this book. And if you only like Kerouac when he's writing traditionally crafted fiction, then maybe you just don't like Kerouac.Not all of Kerouac's books deserve 4 or 5 stars, but this one earned it. The genius of it is that he recounts--as if he were still a child--the moments in his childhood when he realized his childhood was ending, and that "Dr. Sax" was coming to carry him away into the rest of his life. Losing a prize marble, surviving a devastating flood as others suffered, watching a man die, finally plucking up the courage to take a midnight trip through town to explore the ruined haunted house he'd always feared and wondered about--these are the moments that Kerouac hangs his story on. And he does so by recalling them using a child's unlimited sense of imagination.Yes, it's a difficult read, but I think half the thing that makes it difficult for some people is that they go into it with the wrong expectations. Don't expect On the Road or even Visions of Cody. Expect to enter the mind of a child who sees vampires and ghosts and monsters... as well as beauty and poetry and life.

  • Patti
    2018-11-25 23:40

    It took me a couple of times to get through Dr. Sax. Kerouac is my favorite and I feel a crazy connection with him, but for heaven's sake... You can tell that this was written when he was hanging out with stupid, trippy Burroughs. It has a lot of the Electric Kool-Aid test in it - as in disturbing imagery, nonsense alliteration, etc. The times that I really started to enjoy it was when he left the Dr. Sax part (even though the imagery of the great snake, that might be made up of doves, is something that is very haunting to me)and talked more about his childhood, what it's like to be a kid. Kerouac has such an amazing memory that all those weird little mind games that every kid grows out of, he's able to remember and portray on paper.

  • Nathan
    2018-12-09 00:37

    This actually applies to the audio-play (best I can describe a screenplay turned into an audiobook).Well, it was interesting. Not bad, and it's hard to complain too much about a work that's that short. It would have been a fairly good kid's fantasy story along the lines of something Neil Gaiman might have written, except Kerouac was deliberately messy with the narrative and added a lot of unnecessary strange language. Of course, the reason this is called "Dr. Sax" instead of "Dr. Violin" is that we're talking jazz here, not classical music. He improvises on top of his basic structure. It's actually not bad, but it's not exceptionally good either. It's still something I'd recommend given how little effort it would take.

  • Brian
    2018-11-11 03:36

    This was a sad read for me, marking the time in my life when I definitively fell out of love with Kerouac. There are, to be sure, flashes of brilliance in Dr. Sax, but the overall meandering stream of consciousness (this time trying to recapture his adolescence) left me underwhelmed, without an authentic point of connection. Kerouac, for me, now becomes one of those authors that I like the idea of, more than the reality of reading their work.

  • Garrett Cook
    2018-11-27 02:25

    Dr. Sax is a cool, surreal and proficient beat novel. The narrative dream logic glides through a world of magical realism surrounding the protagonist's life. Beautiful, sometimes profane, always interesting, I consider this Kerouac's best. A potent flight of the imagination.

  • Reid
    2018-11-25 19:32

    The subtitle of the novel is “Faust Part Three”. The scene is Textile town - working class blue collar drudge-filled. Beyond the dark woods and the brown-ominous serpentine Merrimac River lies the Castle, near the corner of Bridge and 16th, including vampire Count Condu flown from Budapest, and mysterious green-faced creeping caped Doctor Sax from Butte, all haunting Jack Kerouac’s childhood and memories in Lowell. This is an awesome read, filled alternately with sad incredibly effective nostalgia, heart warming scenes of affection, love, community and friendship, sudden unexpected humor, and the haunting fears of youth. I have never experienced as much emotion from a book as this one. It is a treasure, and a surprise to me, as I’d never heard of Dr. Sax until I decided to read the Duluoz series.Kerouac is definitely channeling a bit of Joyce, and there are a few tedious parts, but much of it is glorious loopy language, or rhythmic sound and pacing, that somehow induces emotion and feeling, and personally, conjured many memories from my own childhood and neighborhood, and of a 1930's youth that echoes my own father's stories from the same era and location.Here’s a simpler example, without the Joyce or memories, but it does portray the sound, rhythm and theme: “Tragedies of darkness hid in the shadows all around Textile - the waving hedges hid a ghost, a past, a future, a shuddering spirit specter full of anxious blackish sinuous twiny night torture - the giant orangebrick smokestack rose to the stars, a little black smoke came out - below, a million tittering twit leaves and jumping shadows - I have such a hopeless dream of walking or being there at night, nothing happens, I just pass, everything is unbearably over with...” (p.57)Unbearably over with because he’s facing the end of childhood’s hope, free play and imagination, and entering the “horrible adult routine world” of dashed hopes, disappointment and the death of friends and family. To elucidate the contrast, Dr. Sax forewarns him, “You’ll come to rages you never dreamed...lonely romages among Beast of Day in hot glary circumstances made grit by the hour of the clock - that is known as Civilization... You’ll grow numb all over from inner paralytic thoughts, and bad chairs, - that is known as Solitude... You’ll inch along the ground on the day of your death and be pursued... - that is known as nightmares... you’ll never be as happy as you are now in your quiltish innocent book-devouring boyhood immortal night.” (p 202-203)Soon after, the ghoulish Doctor Sax takes the boy on a haunted tour of the neighborhood, peeking in windows and spying on neighbors, much like Scrooge’s ghostly tour of the Past, Present and future. The boy’s life is about to change forever, due to mythic Earthquake, Flood, and the demise of his youth and innocence. The Flooding of Textile scene, in particular, may be the best of the mythic parts of the novel, and includes the adult fears and panic of such a deluge, along with the joys and exuberance of youthful awe.Again, the book isn’t without its flaws - it took me at least 20 pages to get beyond my initial skepticism, and the ending sequence could have been shorter, but in all, actually, this is my favorite Kerouac book so far, out of four (five, actually). I reacted personally, hence the 5 stars as opposed to 4. I'd recommend this highly to any good reader - it's worth it, even if you rate it a 3.

  • Matthew
    2018-11-14 23:35

    This is my first review for this site for any book I've listed. "Dr. Sax" was one of the last Kerouac books I had to read. I've been reading his work for the past sixteen years, studied Kerouac and his works in college as an undergrad, and I continue to read his books and love them. So, with that said, I had heard about "Dr. Sax" being one of the most unique books Kerouac had ever written; hell, even Carloyn Cassady urged him to write more books like "Dr. Sax" and mentions it in her memoir. I bought this book, read this book, and fell in love with it. It contains such wild and accurate images of how a child sees the world and can only be best described like magical-realism much in the fashion of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Franz Kafka. I have read some reviews where readers were lost with the book, with the plot, and didn't know what to make of it. The best I can offer concerning those predicaments is to just let go of reality and think back to how you imagined grander and more fantastical elements into your life when you were a child allowing you to see the world in a way that gets lost to us as we age. If you continue to read the "Duluoz Legend" and read "Maggie Cassidy," "Vanity of Duluoz," "On the Road," etc., you will see how Kerouac portrayed the chilling and horrifying act of becoming an adult.

  • Meghan Fidler
    2018-12-05 22:27

    Doctor Sax is best read aloud. The style which Jack Kerouac writes in, a self proclaimed 'spontaneous prose,' makes the early portions of the novel frustrating (indeed, not until I was able to figure out that the story of Doctor Sax is a momentary residence within the imagination of a young boy, I thought Kerouac's 1-2 page chapter "style" was one created from smoking a joint and writing only as long as the high lasted)...(I tell you this, dear reader, so that you may sit back and enjoy the devilishly good word turns). Jack Kerouac has amazing moments of capturing childhood:“He gets sore and sick of my machine – He and Lousy start wrestling – (Meanwhile little George Bouen has started off on his 5 Flap Mile and I started machine and directed takeoff but now I turn from my duties as track official and inventor and leader of commands and puffings)…” “We fished out crap from the stream. An unknown and forgotten morning took place in the yard of a rickety two story house corner of Lakeview and Bunker Hill where we threw firewood and balls all up and down the air and mothers yelled at us, new friends, - like the forgetting of the memory of the next Monday morning in school – ugh it’s impossible to forget the horror of school..coming…Monday-“Once the narrative line of the story is known, the breaks and turns in the storytelling function like the flitting of a mind full of imaginary marble races and vampires. Kerouac also captures the speed of experience, the moment when a dish is complete:“Joy of the morning was particularly keen and painful in the marble slab counter where a little soda was freshly spilled - I romped, we romped on up the Moody. We passed several regular journeyman Canadian grocery stores crowded with women (like our Parent’s) buying hamburger and huge pork chops of the prime (to serve with hot mashed potatoes in a plate in which also hot porkchop fat is floating around beautiful with luminescent golds to mix the mash of hot patate, add pepper).” I recommend this novel for those who enjoy poetry, and I will actively seek copies out and put them into the hands of anyone who performs spoken word.

  • Dane Cobain
    2018-11-20 20:11

    Doctor Sax is yet another one of Kerouac’s experiments with free-verse autobiographical writing, and it tells the story of his childhood in Lowell, Massachusetts. Yet while it might be about his younger years, it was actually written in 1952, when the author was thirty years old and living with William S. Burroughs in Mexico City.You can tell he was living with Burroughs – the other great stalwart of the beat generation had clearly rubbed off on him, and much of his style can be seen in Kerouac’s words. Unfortunately, because of this, it feels like you’re reading a cheap combination of the two, a voice that belongs to neither Kerouac or Burroughs; there’s also less cohesion here than there is in other Kerouac works, although he can be forgiven for that because his work doesn’t really make much sense at the best of times.Still, it’s interesting enough just to read about the enigmatic Doctor Sax, a character which haunted Kerouac as a child and which followed him in to adulthood. The author himself described him as “my ghost, personal angel, private shadow, secret lover” – you’ll understand that description if you read through the book and make it to the end.

  • Jason
    2018-12-04 03:37

    Fascinating and dense. It takes time to fully immerse yourself into the flow, and even then it´s tenuous. There are some genuinely great moments, specifically the bits on the flood. It mostly reads like a fever dream. Try to lose yourself in the insanity of it. Having now read two of Kerouac´s childhood reminiscences (this along with Vanity of Duluoz) I think I prefer his more straight-forward approach in Vanity. Still, this is worth a look.

  • Matthew
    2018-12-08 03:27

    An unreadable book. It's the same several scenes over and over and over and over again in a rambling and rhythmless stream-of-conciousness 'style'. If you love love love Kerouac, maybe you can take this hazy alcoholic spluge-tome, and maybe you'll even convince yourself that you like it, but I really liked Jack Kerouc once, and this was the beginning of the end for me.

  • Joe
    2018-11-30 00:29

    Awesome read. Reminiscent of those kid days when you desperately want to grow up but your imagination still wants a play date. This is one of Kerouac's best works simply because it was a book that made you think and reflect on your won life/childhood and reexamine what was lost and gained in the process of "growing up."

  • Warren Ellis
    2018-11-30 20:13

    I remember this wobbling along uncertainly until the last chapter or two, where Kerouac finds his feet and cracks off some of those uniquely revelatory lines that I treasure him for.

  • Gordon Fingland
    2018-11-18 02:19

    I have read better Kerouac books and have been more engrossed than i found myself with Doctor. Sax. I can imagine at the time of publication it would be more stand out-ish, certainly given the free flow written style. Still it was an enjoyable read mixing spooky and tender moments...a pleasant mix of childhood memoir with fantasy.

  • Josh
    2018-11-23 23:12

    French-Canadian mythology in the United States. Done in the style of Word-Jazz. It is rare to see a cultural autobiography such as this rare number from Jack Kerouac, who claimed to owe everything he did to his French-Canadian heritage. Brilliant balancing of Joual and English. Acadian flourish layered over Yank dialect. Poetry and fantasy interspliced. Darkness shining through the light. The story is cryptic. Dream and reality fluctuate without warning. Dr. Sax appears and disappears. Should you read the book? I think so.

  • Travis
    2018-12-02 19:18

    Wild, odd surreal book that is a sort of memoir of Kerouac growing up and this dream like story of Dr. Sax, who is an odd mix of boogeyman, pulp hero and mad scientist.The two parts are both interesting, but don't quite connect well to each other and Kerouac will move rather abruptly from one to another.Loved Dr. Sax as a character, as he feels like the Shadow as played by William S. Burroughs, and made me wish Kerouac had tried to write his own version of a pulp novel using him.

  • Robin Friedman
    2018-12-11 20:37

    The year 2007 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac's (1922-- 1969) "On the Road." The Library of America, among others publishers, has marked the occasion with the publication of a new volume including five Kerouac "Road Novels". I wanted to reread other works by Kerouac besides the "road novels" that are in danger of being overlooked, and I turned to "Dr. Sax". Kerouac wrote "Dr. Sax" in 1952 while living with William Burroughs in Mexico City. It was a difficult time for both writers. Kerouac had already written "On the Road" but could not get it published. Burroughs had just accidentally killed his lover, Joan Vollmer, during a drunken game of "William Tell". "Dr. Sax" proved even more difficult to publish than "On the Road" and did not appear in print until 1959."Dr. Sax" differs from "On the Road" and the other books in the LOA collection in that it is set in Lowell, Massachusetts, the town where Kerouac grew up. Lowell is a small mill town on the banks of the Merrimack River. During Kerouac's boyhood, it was home to a substantial French-Canadian immigrant population, to a community of Greek Americans and to several other diverse ethnic groups. Kerouac's parents were both immigrants from French Canada. They spoke a dialect of French in their home and Kerouac did not learn English until he was about seven years old. A fascinating part of "Dr. Sax" is the French dialogue among Kerouac and his family -- with Kerouac immediately providing an English rendition in addition to the French.The book is written from the perspective of an adult -- Kerouac in 1952 in Mexico City -- looking back and reflecting upon his childhood and early adolescence from the standpoint of his ongoing difficult life as a writer struggling for publication and combating his own inner demons of drugs and alcohol. It opens with a dream, and Kerouac tells the reader that "memory and dream are intermixed in this mad universe." The book features a strange character the young Kerouac invented named Dr. Sax, a sinister figure in a cape and slouch hat. Dr. Sax is accompanied by other bizarre characters including Count Cordu the Vampire, the Great Snake, the Wizard, and others who live in a large weed-grown abandoned house on a snake-infested hill just outside of Lowell. Kerouac conceived the idea of Dr. Sax from various comic books that were popular when he was a child."Dr. Sax" is memorable largely for the picture it draws of Kerouac's childhood and of Lowell. (Kerouac is named Jack Duluoz or "Ti Jean" in the book.) It gives good portraits of Kerouac's mother and father and of the family's many moves among the poorer neighborhoods of the town and of Kerouac's older sister and ill-fated brother Gerard who died when he was ten. Kerouac, Ti Jean is portrayed as a sensitive, imaginative and athletic child. The book offers portraits of Kerouac playing baseball and marbles, going to church, engaging in pranks and fights with his childhood friends and enemies, watching movies and reading books, experiencing the first flush of sexuality and learning to masturbate, and learning of death, in the person of Gerard and several others. The book also shows a great deal of Lowell and its environs, especially of a large flood that destroyed much of the city's downtown in 1936.The story of young Ti Jean and of Lowell is punctuated by comic-book like tales of Dr. Sax. Dr. Sax also appears as a shadowy figure commenting upon and observing the life of young Kerouac and his family and friends. There is something sinister about Sax throughout most of the book. He is partly drawn from William Burroughs, as he is shown travelling through South and Central America for various "powders". In the lengthy final chapter of the book, Ti Jean accompanies Dr. Sax in a bizarre chapter in which Sax purports to ward off the forces of evil that threaten Lowell. The story gets a sharp wizard-of-Oz-like twist at the end.With the comic characters and the surprise ending, there is a great deal of mad humor in Dr. Sax, but the tone still is predominantly one of melancholy and reflection. In one particularly good scene, Kerouac's dying uncle prophetically tells him: "my child poor Ti Jean, do you know my dear that you are destined to be a man of big sadness and talent-- it'll never to live or die, you'll suffer like others -- more" The Dr. Sax figure, similarly, seems to show the price Kerouac paid for becoming a writer. The book suggests -- with its subtitle "Faust Part Three" that Kerouac's writing was part of a Faustian bargain with Dr. Sax in which Kerouac paid for his literary imagination with a sad and tormented life.Dr. Sax was Kerouac's favorite among his own novels, and many readers would among his work regard it as his best or second-best after "On the Road." (Other works have their own partisans as well.) This book will interest readers who want to see a lesser-known side of Kerouac. The book is written in a variety of styles. It is erratic and not easy reading. Those who are interested in Kerouac's portrayals of his life in Lowell might also enjoy "Maggie Cassidy" and Kerouac's first and underappreciated book, "The Town and the City".Robin Friedman

  • Jessica
    2018-11-27 02:27

    Another book about Kerouac's haunted, dark, sad yet happy childhood. You really get a feel for the town of Lowell, MA.

  • Mike
    2018-12-01 21:27

    Kerouac embellishes images from childhood dreams, interweaves with Depression-era Americana, and creates evil characters more sinister than any old horror movie.

  • Jeff Suwak
    2018-11-23 01:34

    I love Kerouac, and this is hands down my favorite Kerouac book ever.

  • Dane Cobain
    2018-11-21 01:29

    Doctor Sax is yet another one of Kerouac’s experiments with free-verse autobiographical writing, and it tells the story of his childhood in Lowell, Massachusetts. Yet while it might be about his younger years, it was actually written in 1952, when the author was thirty years old and living with William S. Burroughs in Mexico City.You can tell he was living with Burroughs – the other great stalwart of the beat generation had clearly rubbed off on him, and much of his style can be seen in Kerouac’s words. Unfortunately, because of this, it feels like you’re reading a cheap combination of the two, a voice that belongs to neither Kerouac or Burroughs; there’s also less cohesion here than there is in other Kerouac works, although he can be forgiven for that because his work doesn’t really make much sense at the best of times.Still, it’s interesting enough just to read about the enigmatic Doctor Sax, a character which haunted Kerouac as a child and which followed him in to adulthood. The author himself described him as “my ghost, personal angel, private shadow, secret lover” – you’ll understand that description if you read through the book and make it to the end.

  • Peter Aronson
    2018-12-02 00:30

    Three-and-a-half stars, more or less. The beat prose style this is written in is a bit like someone put James Joyce, Virginia Wolfe and Lewis Carroll into a blender, set it on high, and let the results splatter onto a page. But you get used to it. The story seems to be a nostalgic (if somewhat scatological) love letter to growing up in Lowell, Mass. in the 1920's and 1930's, mixed with the the high power apocalyptic imaginings of the narrator, a pulp-loving French-Canadian boy named Jack Duluz, who seems mostly to be a stand-in for the author.

  • Preston Stell
    2018-11-27 21:20

    Bram Stoker's Dracula on LSD...or something of the sort. I picked this up and could not put it down. Kerouac gives you his wonderful imagination and depicts dream in a brilliant manner. I loved the words he used and I loved the images he created. This book is beyond weird and I highly recommend reading it rather than audiobooking!

  • Heather
    2018-11-23 19:17

    An equally genius and insane stream of consciousness that varies from incoherent to mesmerizing. The singsongy style and flashing dreamy scenes don't make for much of a plot, but the imagery and unique turns of phrase are uniquely Kerouac.

  • Red
    2018-12-05 23:31

    Сумасшествие. Контроллируемое. Возможно, что-то в этом всём есть. Возможно, мне чего-то не хватило, чтобы понять и получить удовольствие. Много чего.

  • vi macdonald
    2018-11-23 01:31


  • Brendan
    2018-11-11 19:11

    One of my favorites in the Kerouac canon. The combination of vivid childhood memories and the hallucinatory, almost Burroughs-esque tale of Dr. Sax makes for a bright, highly entertaining tale.

  • Bertie
    2018-11-11 20:17

    For Jack Kerouac and I it's been all delights. On the Road, Dharma Bums - my oh my what treats! Desolation Angels, Big Sur - wow! The Town and the City - sublime! So it comes at quite some dismay to read this and not have an utter clue what is going on. It's basically just Kerouacs droning, rambling thoughts of childhood on a page - but at times it's worse than that. He puts a real effort into making this non-readable and I can hardly remember anything from the book except the last chapter. That's not a good sign is it now? And people say this is Kerouacs best book... I could only read this little by little. I can't even say the writing was interesting. It wasn't. It was fragmented, dull and if anyone else had written it they'd be laughed at and called a nutcase. Sorry Jack, and I mean it, I really am sorry, but this book is just not enjoyable whatsoever. And who is Dr Sax? I had no idea.