Sunday, September 16, 2012

Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac

I just finished reading (for the first time) Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac. Considered one of the "Lowell novels"* because of its setting in Kerouac's Massachusetts hometown, and part of "The Duluoz Legend,"** Maggie Cassidy tells the story of the author's school days, focused around his on-again/off-again relationship with an Irish girl from the other side of the tracks. According to Dave Moore's Character Key to Kerouac's Duluoz Legend, here's a picture of the real-life Maggie, Mary Carney.

Typical of Kerouac, the prose is at times more something to experience than to comprehend, taking the reader on a wild ride (Jack's descriptive memories of Lowell are priceless) through adolescent angst over love, sex, sports, friendships, and figuring out one's passions as well as where to fit into the adult world to come. As Kerouac's biggest living fan, and someone enamored of Lowell, I admit bias when I say . . . I loved it.

I only wish my copy had the above cover . . . .

*Can you name all five?

**Kerouac's novels that comprise one vast book (like Proust) telling the story of his life.

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