Book Reviews

DNF Review @ 41%: And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks by Burroughs and Kerouac

I’d say this cover matches the inside of this book. Blah.


In the summer of 1944, a shocking murder rocked the fledgling Beats. William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, both still unknown, we inspired by the crime to collaborate on a novel, a hard-boiled tale of bohemian New York during World War II, full of drugs and art, obsession and brutality, with scenes and characters drawn from their own lives. Finally published after more than sixty years, this is a captivating read, and incomparable literary artifact, and a window into the lives and art of two of the twentieth century’s most influential writers.

The occasional internal laugh is what kept me reading this through the beginning and in hopes that the noise would materialize into a great story . . . but, it kept going on and on with what seemed to be the continuation of well, just more noise. I realize that this book stands for these influential author’s collaboration before they were even famous, but the problem is that I haven’t read anything by Kerouac before and only one book by Burroughs, in which I only remember one thing from the whole book and do not remember the title. My tolerance is 100 pages of noise before something drops to get me hooked and this book, and I either missed the boat altogether or it’s just plain noise and it gets ★★☆☆☆ two out of five stars for what I happened to read.

Guys and gals, until next time – may you find all the happiness that your life can fit in it’s happy spot – S.D. McKinley.

By S.D. McKinley

S.D. McKinley lives in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in the first half of the 1980's and grew up in Wisconsin as a young boy, then moved to Georgia when he turned exactly twelve years old. During teenage years, he raced dirt track go karts and played guitar. He discovered his current love for all kinds of art after his mid-life crisis at 25 years old. S.D. McKinley began writing books in 2017.

17 replies on “DNF Review @ 41%: And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks by Burroughs and Kerouac”

This was your first try at Kerouac? I’m surprised you got that far. He was a bizarre dude. I had to read him in school and could only take a page at a time because it was hard to figure out what he was saying! Now I think he was kind of brilliant, but still bizarre.:-)

Ha, ha. Well bizarre didn’t keep me even from Asher’s The Bosch, but this was turning into one big yawn. Thank you for the input Ms. Bettis, I’m sure there is some worthy writings of his somewhere, but it looks like started with the wrong book and this was for enthusiasts or something. which I am not, at least so far. 🙂

Ha ha, I love this review! Seems like boho writers and artists used to consider being addled on sex and drugs as a mark of true authenticity, when in some cases all it does is ensure you can’t write a coherent story.

I actually like novels and memoirs that deal with various mental illnesses, but … the work itself has to be written in a way that brings actual clarity at some point.

Yep. And the thing about this small book is the drug / booze references were hardly entertaining at that. Thanks Ms. Mugrage. Life is too short to continue with a bad book!

This book spilt the author’s work into different chapters and I liked burroughs work better then kuraucs stuff. But to answer your initial question I would consider it if there was a point to the story before 100 pages. I think I’m being liberal with that number.

That is very generous. I like to use the Nancy Pearl rule:
“subtract your age from 100, and the resulting number (which, of course, gets smaller every year) is the number of pages you should read before you can guiltlessly give up on a book”

I struggled through On the Road. I finished it because I don’t like to DNF, but I couldn’t get into Kerouac’s style. Maybe I’m not hip enough.

Spark the Camp 🔥: