Title: Doctor Sax
Author: Jack Kerouac
Page Count/Review Word Count: 219
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.