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One and Only: The Untold Story of On the…
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One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Road (2011)

by Gerald Nicosia

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Saddest damn book I ever read. Tears were rolling down my face at the end at the sad fate of Jack and Neal -- Jack turned into a hopeless alcoholic calloused over and trying to feel nothing inside, and Neal transformed from American legendary living hero into Ken Kesey's dancing bear.

And it was caused by Jack's genius. That the horrible irony. The better he wrote,the worse their fates would get.

The book is based a long interview with LuAnn Henderson (the Mary Lou of the story)and remains true to its origins. It's spoken in her voice. She skips around and doubles back to thoughts she's already had like real people do. And she's retelling a story On The Road readers already know very well, but from her woman's perspective.

LuAnn went through four husbands herself, became a junkie for a while but cleaned up, ran nightclubs in North Beach San Francisco, had a whole big life of her own. She maintained a friendship with them both to the end and tells the tragic story of their decline as she saw it. Her daughter writes the last part.

It's just a heartbreaking book, but essential to anyone who has been affected by Kerouac's writing.
I'm still sort of stunned this morning. But it's a good stunned. ( )
  ChrisNewton | Mar 18, 2016 |
Reading this after finishing a re-read of On the Road was one of the best decisions I ever made in my reading life.

Reading On the Road one can't help but thinking: What was going through that girl's head? What drew her in to that crazy, high strung crowd?...Well, this book has the answer. In the words of Lu Anne Henderson "Marylou" herself.

Lu Anne was fierce, she was larger than life, and getting to understand her was absolutely wonderful. As a young, relatively-sheltered, woman I can't help but to marvel at her independence and zest for life. She wanted to live and to love and that's what she did, she went for it! How many of us can say the same?

Absolutely loved reading the bits about shooting the movie and all the many wonderful people that were involved in it. I have high hopes that it will acurately portray the journey that inspired generations. ( )
  joanasimao | Sep 28, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I would have loved to listen to my complementary copy of this audio book on CD but unfortunately it wouldn't work. I wrote to the company and they responded promptly with suggestions but those did not work (and frankly the instructions given to me were a bit condescending in tone, putting me off from wanting to further ask for help.) Perhaps if the glitch gets fixed I'l give it a listen. For now I'll just have to wonder.
  Bridget-Eileen | Jul 25, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this audio book and my husband grabbed it for a road trip to North Dakota. He liked her but didn't know why. Still doesn't !

What I found was that Lu Anne opened my eyes to a generation of change I was unaware of. Now I want to learn more. Women of her generation had little options. Virgin or Whore. It was as if she just went where the next door opened. I was angry at her and frustrated by her actions, she was a child and seemed to remain one though out her life. I finally found compassion for her, through her daughter, at the end of her life. I am still mad at her...I wanted her to be more. ( )
  marycrear | Mar 16, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book-on-CD was disappointing to me. While it was kind of interesting to get a fresh viewpoint of the whole Beat scene, I found myself growing bored with the constant repetition in Lu Anne's narrative. I think the author failed her in this endeavor. Although I understand that he wanted to stay true to Lu Anne's "voice", I still feel Nicosia should have done some serious editing to make it more listenable. In the end, I just wanted to read some Kerouac instead. ( )
  4daisies | Mar 10, 2012 |
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Lu Anne was a beautiful 15-year-old girl in Denver in 1945 when she met Neal, a fast-talking hurricane of male sexuality and vast promises. The two married, and soon they were hanging out with a group of would-be writers, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. But Neal and Jack initially didnt like each other very much. Lu Anne taught them how to love each other in effect, making the Beat Generation possible, as well as giving Kerouac material for one of the seminal novels of the 20th century, On the Road. One and Only traces the immense struggles of Lu Annes own life, which ranged from the split-up of her family to the ravages of abusive men, lingering illness, and the grief of losing the two most important men in her life. -- From publisher description.… (more)

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Viva Editions

2 editions of this book were published by Viva Editions.

Editions: 1936740044, 1573449555

HighBridge Audio

An edition of this book was published by HighBridge Audio.

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