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You'll Be Okay: My Life With Jack Kerouac Paperback – September 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 286 pages
  • Publisher: City Lights Books (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872864642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872864641
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,066,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Kerouac's first wife, Edie Parker, played a pivotal role in his literary evolution, but her side of the story hasn't been fully known until now. A pampered and venturesome 17-year-old when she first spies handsome Jack pushing Cole Porter in a wheelchair near Columbia University, she falls madly in love. Against her family's wishes, she valiantly marries Kerouac in 1944 in order to spring him from a Bronx jail after he was arrested as an accomplice to their friend Lucien Carr's murder of the stalker David Kammerer. Fascinating in her own right, and writing with compelling lucidity and soulful sweetness, Parker vividly recalls her posh childhood, life in Queens with Kerouac and his parents, and her pride in working as a longshoreman. As she shares intimate details of her hectic wartime life, she provides a rare female perspective on the notoriously misogynistic Beat enclave. The story of how Parker's radiant memoir finally reached print 15 years after her death is yet more poignant testimony to life's mysterious ways. Seaman, Donna

Review

"A must-read about a much neglected saga of the legendary iconic Kerouac." -- Paul Maher Jr., author of Jack Kerouac's American Journey

"A quirky and poignant addition to the Beat lore." -- Anne Waldman, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

"An in depth retelling of the story from Edie's perspective...it will add to our knowledge of Kerouac's life." -- Brian Dalton, Beat Scene

"In these pages we meet the young genius of just before 'On the Road,' adored by all and loved by her most of all." -- Andrei Codrescu, author of Wakefield

"Sad and funny, full of pathos and the lost dreams of youth." -- Jonah Raskin, The San Francisco Chronicle

"She also had a front-row seat for the previews of the Sal-and-Dean show, which became the heart of 'On the Road.'" -- Newsweek, August 13, 2007

"We've officially entered what might as well be called Jack Kerouac Awareness Month. . . . and the commemorations include . . . a memoir, 'You'll Be Okay,' from Kerouac's first wife." -- NY Times "Papercuts" blog, August 8, 2007

"the posthumous memoir by Kerouac's first wife, joins more than a dozen memoirs and biographies about Kerouac published since his death at 47 in 1969." -- USA Today, August 21, 2007

"this book offers a fresh look at Kerouac as husband and lover as well as a new chapter on the role of women in the Beat Generation. Highly Recommended." -- Library Journal, September 15th, 2007

"Those who read only the best-known works of the Beat Generation--Ginsberg's Howl, Kerouac's On the Road, Burroughs's Naked Lunch--will be forgiven for thinking that the Beats were a misogynistic lot: women, when they appeared at all, were cast in minor roles, and it is only in recent years that we have begun to hear their side of the story. You'll Be Okay: My Life With Jack Kerouac is Edie Kerouac-Parker's account of her marriage to Jack Kerouac, and though the marriage only lasted from 1944 to 1946, it is clear that those two years came to represent a lost, golden period in her life. Written much later than the events described and published posthumously. . . the account is deeply nostalgic and rich in detail, and it gives a vivid sense of what it was like to be a headstrong young woman in love with a budding author, both of them trying to make it big in Manhattan during the 1940s." --Michael Hayward, Geist Magazine --Michael Hayward, Geist Magazine

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Oglesby on May 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
As the first reviewer mentioned, Edie does cover a lot of the notorious antics of a younger kerouac and if you've studied his life at all you will not be caught off guard by any startling revelations in this book. However what this book offers that others do not, is a personal and real perspective about the Man, not the myth. For instance, his habit of ringing his hands before he launched into something serious, the fact that he kept a toothbrush in his breast pocket, or even his favorite sleeping position. I enjoyed these memoirs thoroughly and came away feeling as though I personally had spent time in the 'libertines circle'.

Definitely worth a read.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Handy on April 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone who, like me, grew-up enthralled by the fact that Jack Kerouac once lived, abeit very briefly, in Detroit, will be thrilled by this book.

That said, while I remain a fan of the art of Jack Kerouac, this book adds more fire to the fuel of his caddishness. While Edie Kerouac-Parker, Jack's first wife, doesn't beat you over the head with this aspect of his character - indeed, one can't help but see that she carried a torch for him throughout her life - the manner in which he treated her, especially right after they were married, can't help but leave one feeling cold.

Edie was one of the few people who were right there as the Beat Generation was founded. Indeed, she helped in it's creation, as she introduced Kerouac to Lucien Carr, who in turn introduced Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs to Kerouac. Anyone who has ever delved into the history of this literary movement will find the information contained in this book to be invaluable.

Beyond that, while a light read, it benefits from this by not being over-pretentious. As with Kerouac's personality shortcomings, Edie Kerouac-Parker does not try and overstate her importance. This is a welcome addition to the biographical cannon of Jack Kerouac's former wives and lovers, and a bit more, as well.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
You'll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac is the true-life memoir of Edie Kerouac-Parker (1923-1992), the first wife of famous novelist Jack Kerouac. Penned long after Jack Kerouac had passed on, You'll Be Okay is a tale of girlhood love - when both Edie and Jack were only 18, and met at Columbia University. The young lovers moved in together, sharing an apartment with the future wife of William Burroughs, and began lifetime friendships with Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and others. A reminiscence of excitement, hope, passion, and dreams, illustrated with a handful of black-and-white photographs and skillfully edited by Timothy Moran and Bill Morgan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KOMET on February 22, 2015
Format: Paperback
'You'll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac' is, for anyone with an interest in Jack Kerouac and the leading members of the Beat Generation group of writers and artists, a fascinating story of how they lived in wartime New York City during the early 1940s. Edie herself was married to Kerouac between 1944 and 1948.

I confess to knowing little about Jack Kerouac and not having read any of his books. But a couple of years ago, I went to see the movie 'Kill Your Darlings' which was centered on the college days of the earliest members of the Beat Generation: Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Lucien Carr, whose murder of David Kammerer in August 1944 - an old acquaintance from St. Louis who had an overweening attraction to Carr and stalked him - is at the heart of that movie. I enjoyed the movie, which reminded me of "You'll Be Okay", which I had purchased at BORDERS a few years earlier, but had yet to read. Now having read it, I enjoyed Edie Parker's reminiscences on an era (the 1940s) that fascinates me to no end. She made the New York of that time as she experienced it so tangibly real to me. Most of her friends were then in their early 20s and they wanted to LIVE and experienced to the full all that life afforded them. And as most of them (with the exception of Kerouac who had entered Colombia University on a football scholarship in 1940) came from affluent backgrounds, they were free --- wartime rationing and privations notwithstanding --- to live and work in New York, then as now one of the most colorful and exciting cities on Earth.

Thus, for its nostalgic value, I give 'You'll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac' FIVE STARS.
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