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Baby Driver by Jan Kerouac
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Baby Driver (edition 1981)

by Jan Kerouac (Author)

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1163184,715 (3.44)1
Just as Jack Kerouac captured the beat of the '50s, his daughter captured the rhythm of the generation that followed. With a graceful, often disturbing detachment and a spellbinding gift for descriptive imagery, Jan Kerouac explores the tortured, freewheeling soul of a woman on her own road. From an adolescence of LSD, detention homes, probation, pregnancy, and a stillbirth in the Mexican tropics at age 15; to the peace movement in Haight-Ashbury and Washington state; to traveling by bus through Central America with a madman for a lover, Baby Driver moves with the force of a tropical storm.… (more)
Member:KellyPetit
Title:Baby Driver
Authors:Jan Kerouac (Author)
Info:St. Martin's Press (1981), Edition: 1st, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself by Jan Kerouac

  1. 00
    Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg by Carolyn Cassady (stephmo)
    stephmo: Both books show women that became so much collateral damage in the wake of the living myth of the Beats.
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I have to admit, I first checked this book out of my local library without expecting to like it. Being a tremendous fan of Jack Kerouac, I really just wanted to read Baby Driver out of curiosity. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the family literary gene successfully made its way to Jan Kerouac. This book is excellent; her writing style is fluid and highly commendable. It's not hard reading, but that isn't to say that there isn't plenty here to ponder. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone, and not just those who are interested in Kerouac Sr. For women especially, this book is well-worth reading. ( )
1 vote ijustgetbored | Jul 8, 2010 |
One would expect that as the only child of Jack Kerouac, Jan Kerouac would have been afforded something of note or merit. Instead, not only did she receive the slap of never being officially recognized by her father, her story reveals a mother that largely spent her life chasing down one bad relationship after another resulting in an additional three children in an already rough situation. When a bout with prostitution is a step-up because it represents stability and structure, you know that the memoir is going to be dim on positive moments.

Her father manages only two in-person appearances and one via phone - both in-person ones drenched in liquor. And yet, it becomes apparent that the name will haunt her for better or for worse. During a stint in a mental hospital, a doctor thrusts a copy of On the Road at her with seemingly no regard for her welfare because he's an immense fan. Her mother leverages the name to track her down as a runaway since it is quite obvious that their situation would not otherwise afford a front-page news story. In the expanded edition, letters to her publisher reveal that she's been asked to come up with more stories about her father...something she's unable to do beyond their 3 encounters.

Jan structures her book so that chapters alternate between an older version of Jan and a little-girl until the little girl catches up with the older-version we first met in Chapter 1. This structure gives us insight into the adult's decisions all along the way while making everything that happens to the little girl all the more tragic as it is clear that these adventures will have long-term consequence. ( )
1 vote stephmo | Dec 20, 2009 |
What a tragic life - anyone interested in human psychology will get a wild ride with this one. One can only guess what a different life she would have led if Jack was more involved in her life.
1 vote NateJordon | Feb 26, 2009 |
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Epigraph
They call me Baby Driver

And once upon a pair of wheels

Hit the road and I'm gone ah

What's my number

I wonder how your engine feels

Ba ba ba ba

Scoot down the road

What's my number

I wonder how your engine feels.


© 1969 Paul Simon

Used by permission
Dedication
To my brother and mother

Dearest Peggy Bull,

Wherever you are please come back and bring

our dreams to life again.
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Just as Jack Kerouac captured the beat of the '50s, his daughter captured the rhythm of the generation that followed. With a graceful, often disturbing detachment and a spellbinding gift for descriptive imagery, Jan Kerouac explores the tortured, freewheeling soul of a woman on her own road. From an adolescence of LSD, detention homes, probation, pregnancy, and a stillbirth in the Mexican tropics at age 15; to the peace movement in Haight-Ashbury and Washington state; to traveling by bus through Central America with a madman for a lover, Baby Driver moves with the force of a tropical storm.

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