And since you think it'd be better if people didn't approach OTR as BIG GREAT IMPORTANT LIT, it's also worth noting that people who approach the book as something that predicts the 60s will be disappointed because frankly the "crazy adventures" Sal and Dean go on aren't going to seem that "crazy" at all. Drinking, drugs, prostitutes...yer standard issue kit, right?
But some of it's going to be woke/cancel culture's response to Neal Cassady's excesses who, let's face it, really was just a deadbeat punk and male #### whose free-spiritedness probably seemed admirable to a desperate young man in 1947. But that's just it, and that's the message I took from the book the second time I read it: that era was so desperate for rebels and heroes that a young guy could mistake Neal Cassady for one, and Neal Cassady is a d*ck. And Kerouac realizes it at the end of the book when Cassady leaves him stranded. How conservative, I guess conformity won after all (and Derrick was always quick to point out that Kerouac died in his mom's basement embarrassed by the whole beatnik thing and devoted to God and country.) It's not surprising that the little-talked-about 2012 movie version of OTR added a scene where a despondent female character played by Kirsten Dunst chews Dean out for leaving all those underage prostitutes knocked up.
Big Sur was a decent book but I don't remember what happened in it at all--I seem to recall it was Kerouac's "getting older, ouch" book. Tristessa and The Subterraneans were pretty disposable and I flat out hated The Dharma Bums where Kerouac really did seem like a whiny teenager and he was past 30 by then to boot.
It's amusing that the band hated "Mind Gardens"; on the bonus tracks for YTY, you can hear a song called "Don't Make Waves," which the band recorded in a hurry to be included in some cruddy film that you can see the poster for in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and you can hear Crosby himself sarcastically mutter at the end of the song something like "let's do that again. Masterpiece!~~~"