by Harvey Pekar

Reviewer Rating:


Reading The Beats: A Graphic History is a unique way to learn about the lives of three Beat Generation authors: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs.  After giving complete biographies of these three authors, the remainder of the book gives a blurb about some other influential authors of the time as well.  The first part of this book was perfect for someone like me, who doesn’t know much about this generation of authors or even why they’re called Beats.  The nice thing was that since it’s in graphic novel format there isn’t much reading and you get a really nice, quick synopsis of the most well-known people to have come from this generation.  I actually wish I had read this book before reading any of their novels so that I could have an understanding of the minds that were producing these works.  Once you get past the sections about the authors, the pictures get more and more hectic and busy.  The nice, clean lines that were originally set forth begin to blur into a jumbled mess that perhaps parallels the lives of the Beat Generation and its drug abuse.  I would recommend this book for anyone wanting to gain a little insight into this generation of writers, but honestly, for me, the book could have ended after the biographies of the most famous writers.

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