Sunday, July 29, 2018

Curation #97 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Nobody's Wife: The Smart Aleck and The King of the Beats by Joan Haverty Kerouac

Item #97 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2000 Creative Arts Books Company (no printing number) edition of Joan Haverty Kerouac's Nobody's Wife: The Smart Aleck and The King of the Beats. 216 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in good condition. The provenance is likely that I got it used from Amazon. A stamp on the title page says, "NO LONGER the property of Whitaker Library." The only Whitaker Library I see in a Google search is at Chowan University in Murfreesboro, NC.

Joan Haverty Kerouac was Jack's wife and the mother of his only child, Jan. So Joan knows some things about Jack that no one else can. The book starts with a 4-page introduction by Jan. Admittedly, I don't remember if I read this book or not. That is in part because of my lapsing memory, but also because once you've read a million or so books about Kerouac, they start to become rather indistinguishable. To me, at least.

I didn't find a NY Times review of the book, and the others I found were not from very legit sources. From the ones I did read, it seems that Joan pulls no punches in this memoir. Scanning the book, one finds pretty straightforward details of conversations and interactions with not only Jack, but his mother, Gabrielle, and other notable characters (e.g., Neal Cassady, Lucien Carr, Caroline "Nin" Kerouac).

I guess this goes on my "to-read" list (or maybe it's my "to-read-again" list). Either way, by virtue of the author's credentials alone, this belongs on your Kerouac bookshelf.

Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (17th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Denise Levertov by Linda W. Wagner (Twayne's U.S. Authors Series).

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

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