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Maggie Cassidy

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"When someone asks 'Where does [Kerouac] get that stuff?' say: 'From you!' He lay awake all night listening with eyes and ears. A night of a thousand years. Heard it in the womb, heard it in the cradle, heard it in school , heard it on the floor of life's stock exchange where dreams are traded for gold." —Henry MillerOne of the dozen books written by Jack Kerouac in the ea "When someone asks 'Where does [Kerouac] get that stuff?' say: 'From you!' He lay awake all night listening with eyes and ears. A night of a thousand years. Heard it in the womb, heard it in the cradle, heard it in school , heard it on the floor of life's stock exchange where dreams are traded for gold." —Henry MillerOne of the dozen books written by Jack Kerouac in the early and mid-1950s, Maggie Cassidy was not published until 1959, after the appearance of On the Road had made its author famous overnight, Long out of print, this touching novel of adolescent love in a New England mill town, with its straight-forward narrative structure, is one of Kerouac's most accesible works. It is a remarkable , bittersweet evocation of the awkwardness and the joy of growing up in America.


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"When someone asks 'Where does [Kerouac] get that stuff?' say: 'From you!' He lay awake all night listening with eyes and ears. A night of a thousand years. Heard it in the womb, heard it in the cradle, heard it in school , heard it on the floor of life's stock exchange where dreams are traded for gold." —Henry MillerOne of the dozen books written by Jack Kerouac in the ea "When someone asks 'Where does [Kerouac] get that stuff?' say: 'From you!' He lay awake all night listening with eyes and ears. A night of a thousand years. Heard it in the womb, heard it in the cradle, heard it in school , heard it on the floor of life's stock exchange where dreams are traded for gold." —Henry MillerOne of the dozen books written by Jack Kerouac in the early and mid-1950s, Maggie Cassidy was not published until 1959, after the appearance of On the Road had made its author famous overnight, Long out of print, this touching novel of adolescent love in a New England mill town, with its straight-forward narrative structure, is one of Kerouac's most accesible works. It is a remarkable , bittersweet evocation of the awkwardness and the joy of growing up in America.

30 review for Maggie Cassidy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike Sweeney

    One of my favorite books. Its mostly over looked by your run of the mill Jack Kerouac fans. Nothing like On the Road, its not about being a beatnik. There are no drugs or road trips or crazy jazzmen...Its a sweet love story set in pure Americana in 20's Lowell. I prefer the stories of his youth like Maggie Cassidy and Visions of Gerard (Dylan's favorite Kerouac book). These books tend to have all the elements of the more beatnik books but without the trendiness of the beats. The kiss scene is one One of my favorite books. Its mostly over looked by your run of the mill Jack Kerouac fans. Nothing like On the Road, its not about being a beatnik. There are no drugs or road trips or crazy jazzmen...Its a sweet love story set in pure Americana in 20's Lowell. I prefer the stories of his youth like Maggie Cassidy and Visions of Gerard (Dylan's favorite Kerouac book). These books tend to have all the elements of the more beatnik books but without the trendiness of the beats. The kiss scene is one the bests. I gave it to my wife. Most people don't realize it but while Ginsburg was having the Be-ins Kerouac was voting for Nixon...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roos

    Fucking hell, Kerouac. It may be that your semi-intellectual idea of 'spontaneous prose' is the source of some deeply poetic-sounding shit. It may be that On the Road is a great book. It may be grand that you wrote a book about your first love and named it after her. This all becomes slightly less grand, however, when you then go on to spend half your time "in love" disrespecting and ditching 'that big love in the wild Lowell whirlwinds of black night'. There's some instant Kerouac for ya. Just ma Fucking hell, Kerouac. It may be that your semi-intellectual idea of 'spontaneous prose' is the source of some deeply poetic-sounding shit. It may be that On the Road is a great book. It may be grand that you wrote a book about your first love and named it after her. This all becomes slightly less grand, however, when you then go on to spend half your time "in love" disrespecting and ditching 'that big love in the wild Lowell whirlwinds of black night'. There's some instant Kerouac for ya. Just made that phrase right up because hey, using loads of adjectives and abhorrent grammar does not equal being a Great Intellectual. Oh, and choosing to express your love only by lavishing all of your Great Intellectual Vocab on her looks..? Really, that's it? Also, any remnant of my glorification of the Beats has been burned to embers by this book. These dudes with their disturbing dreams of rape and everlasting privilege don't have to be excused because they did something new and exciting and poetic for art and literature. I know one might choose to ignore their blatant sexism because of the times they lived in, but no. I choose not to be so easy on them. This was the fucking sixties. 'that little feminate neatness' 'put em in their place 'loose ugly grin of self-satisfied womanly idiocy-flesh, curl of travesty-cruelty' 'I'd want to rip her mouth out and murder her' '"Honey," Maggie says, "it's okay, just go on going to school I dont wanta stop you or interfere with your career, you know what to do better than I do' 'I dream of forcing her to some kind of anteroom … I force myself on her and finally surprise her' 'her sweet shape made me want to cry' GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH such a frustrating book. I only finished it because when you slap enough beautiful words together on your little pretentious typewriter you are bound to end up with some gems. I finished it for the gems. And for my book challenge. Peace out.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicola

    I've just out this book down and am currently torn. On one hand, Kerouac requires patience, a bit of a run-up, time to settle in to his rhythms. At some points, I didn't give him that, but when I did it was fantastic. When I didn't I was disappointed. Equally, it's a first novel and a little messy - in good ways and in bad - at turns not quite hitting the mark and resulting in delightfully madcap, onomatopoeic run-on sentences. When its good, it's really, really good, and following at its natura I've just out this book down and am currently torn. On one hand, Kerouac requires patience, a bit of a run-up, time to settle in to his rhythms. At some points, I didn't give him that, but when I did it was fantastic. When I didn't I was disappointed. Equally, it's a first novel and a little messy - in good ways and in bad - at turns not quite hitting the mark and resulting in delightfully madcap, onomatopoeic run-on sentences. When its good, it's really, really good, and following at its natural pace can feel all too fleeting. My ultimate issue, though, is with the characterisation of Maggie. She's imperfect and temperamental and it's young love and jealousy and rage and disappointment — but it's the crazy and hotheaded but sweet and sexy girl we've see a million times, even for its time, and that's what really lets it down. I never really knew what Jack likes about her, except her looks, and so the ending brought the whole thing to a whimper of an ending. Still, though, Kerouac fans should give it a read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yeshi Dolma

    My first Kerouac. As a story, it's very typical; an adolescent love affair of an American high school athlete, set in 60s maybe, a small town story. However, the writing is sweet as honey. It is the poet in Kerouac that won it all over for me, despite the testosterone driven teenage boy talks. The writing was beautiful, very poetic. :) Recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    robin friedman

    First Love Kerouac's autobiographical novel "Maggie Cassidy" is set in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts in 1939. It is the story of a high school romance in all its innocence and sexual frustration. The book includes wonderful descriptive passages of winter in New England, of shabby urban tenements, of grizzled and failed adults, and of hope, love, and loss. The book captures the yearnings of first love in its confusion and undirected passion. It talks about both how people change and how the First Love Kerouac's autobiographical novel "Maggie Cassidy" is set in his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts in 1939. It is the story of a high school romance in all its innocence and sexual frustration. The book includes wonderful descriptive passages of winter in New England, of shabby urban tenements, of grizzled and failed adults, and of hope, love, and loss. The book captures the yearnings of first love in its confusion and undirected passion. It talks about both how people change and how there are limits to the scope of their change. The perspective of the book is interesting and revealing. Kerouac, the grown writer, is recapturing something of the spirit of the first love of his youth. The story is mostly told in the first person in the voice of the adolescent. Then, abruptly at the end the voice shifts to the third person signalling, I think, the change from the perspective of youth to that of adulthood. There is something poignant about the book in the description of a memory of pure love which doesn't fade, (think of the Buddy Holly song "Not fade away") and about the shift from innocence to overt sexuality. There is a deep conservatism in Kerouac for the familiar, the commonplace, and the local, something which is often overlooked by his critics and admirers alike. It comes through well in this book. Many writers tend to become prisoners of their most famous books. In Kerouac's case, people frequently don't get past "On the Road". "Maggie Cassidy" is a book on a smaller, more conventional scale. In its own way, it is precious. Robin Friedman

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris Meger

    Maybe one of the most approachable of Jack's. Heartbreaking and sincere. There's an upside down kiss in this book that is a thousand times sweeter and sexier than the one in Spider-Man

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Highton

    Published in 1959, after 'On the Road', this novel covers Jack Duluoz (a thinly disguised young Kerouac) through his final year of High School and his first year of college in 1939-40m and his romance with Maggie. Although the characters have different names, this is a prequel for the Sal Paradise character in 'On the Road" which I read 40 years ago. Written in his 'spontaneous prose' style, some of the writing is quite lyrical and the early scenes of his schoolfriends larking about are great. O Published in 1959, after 'On the Road', this novel covers Jack Duluoz (a thinly disguised young Kerouac) through his final year of High School and his first year of college in 1939-40m and his romance with Maggie. Although the characters have different names, this is a prequel for the Sal Paradise character in 'On the Road" which I read 40 years ago. Written in his 'spontaneous prose' style, some of the writing is quite lyrical and the early scenes of his schoolfriends larking about are great. Overall, you have to concentrate hard to catch the best of the style so not the easiest book to read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ed Terrell

    Maggie Cassidy is poetry in motion. Sad smells, candlelight sunsets, and cling-clanging trains rush you along with Jack and Maggie by his side past depots and jazz joints till the black of midnight strikes and you fall asleep clutching your pillow, prose rushing in to sweeten your dreams. When your’e a poet of Kerouac’s skill, every line has its rhythm and they fall together in place like the wonderful impromptu jazz magic that sweetens the darkened fog swept alleys of an inner city night.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Stahl

    A Heartbreak Hipster Review With Kerouac being one of my father's favourite authors - (he takes The Dharma Bums with him whenever we travel. He even named our first dog after him, though we kids were unable to pronounce the name, and so just called him “Wacky”) - I have always been encouraged to read some of his work. Along with Hemingway - and several others of this respected, but unvisited, calibre - I have always intended to read something of his, eventually. And so finally, having finished Ma A Heartbreak Hipster Review With Kerouac being one of my father's favourite authors - (he takes The Dharma Bums with him whenever we travel. He even named our first dog after him, though we kids were unable to pronounce the name, and so just called him “Wacky”) - I have always been encouraged to read some of his work. Along with Hemingway - and several others of this respected, but unvisited, calibre - I have always intended to read something of his, eventually. And so finally, having finished Maggie Cassidy - (one of Kerouac's more unusual stories - they say - as it harkens back to his high schools days, before he became the legendary spokesman of the "Beat Generation") - I can finally tick that box off. So, was it worth it? To be honest, I was worried that it wasn't when I started. I was a virgin to this man's writings ... Fucking it hurt when he punctured my hymen. And Kerouac has a very distinct way of writing. He has a way of unravelling never-ending sentences - (I swear to God, (not literally, of course), there would sometimes be over three pages before a full-stop, or even a semi-colan, made an appearance) - and considering this, coupled with his sometimes overly-obscure way of describing things that seem (from time to time) a little irrelevant, I did find this book kind of hard going at times. Many a time, I would finish one of his 50-page sentences, look up from the book with a smirk of contentment, and then be like ... "wait, what?" - I guess it depends on the angle that you read it from. In some ways, I would sympathise with somebody that stopped me randomly on the street, and told me that they couldn't stand Kerouac's style, because it didn't make any damned sense. I would sympathise with them; I would pat them on the back, buy them a nice cup of coffee, and then gently explain that I understand ... some people just don't like books that actually have creative and original storytelling … “now walk your ass into Dymocks and buy the new James Patterson book (Naughts And Crosses, or Sign Of The Cross, or something with the word “Cross” in it, for fuck’s sake) you fucking idiot - get out, you ... and don't randomly talk to me on the street again!! I’ve got to get to Kmart, where I can stand behind the till for nine hours, thinking of reasons not to kill myself … “I’m going to go back to college, and suddenly change the way I am, and everyone is going to love me all of a sudden” … Yeah, that will do. So yeah, I will admit that it did take a little while for things to get going. But so does masturbation … especially with all the anti-depressants I’ve been taking. After a long and jumbled introduction to Senior Protagonisto and his high school chums - which, in itself, was unsettling for its long-windedness, and refusal to keep to the point, or make much sense - the story thankfully zones in on the strange but endearing relationship between Jack Duluoz and Maggie Cassidy. Though Kerouac applies a most painstaking effort in conveying the attractiveness of this sad, dark, contradicted girl, his efforts soon become overwhelming (unless, of course, you’re taking note of all his highly colourful and bizarre descriterions … which I’m afraid to say, I was - Oh, for fuck … would you get a load of my Evernote's auto-correct? Des-crit-pions? "Who programmed this crap? I bet he’s a fucking dumbs shit. Why, I shall go have a word with him right now. Now look here, sir. Turn around so I can tell you what a fucking idiot you ... "Oh. Oh dear. I am so, so sorry". But as I was saying - (before that redicuolous spelling error pissed me off and prompted me to purposely slam my fingers in the backdoor) - Kerouac’s descritpions of Maggie Cassidy’s youthful perfection is done so profoundly over-the-top … like, pretty damned profound, mate … that the images it evoked in my mind were nothing but obscure suggestions, which my subconscious ... (you know, that word from 50 Shades Of Grey And by the way, I would still have to think twice about seeing that shit, even if I had myself a girlfriend … which I don’t, of course. You can apply for that on www. you’re-the-worst-thing-that-happened-to-me .com) … just kind of fashioned into its own vague image of beauty. I suppose that Maggie Cassidy can just be however you want her to look. She’s pretty, mate. What else do you need? Do you need to be constantly reminded about how her clothes are “hanging off her”, like with Christian Grey? ”You’ve had six orgasms so far, and all of them belong to me”. The story itself isn’t anything too special. It’s a very simple, though somewhat charming, coming-of-age tale, about a boy who grows up in a small milling town in northern Massachusetts. His life up to this point has been focussed on his sporting passions; it’s made clear from the start, that Jack Duluoz isn’t starved for attention or friendship. Lucky bastard already has one girl in love with him before he falls in love with someone else. He’s a burly, athletic young man, with a close and loving family, and though his friends harbour questionable prioties - (DAMN YOU, EVERNOTE!!!) - they are all still there for one another. But school is coming to a close as he begins his budding romance with Maggie Cassidy. And after the main section of the book - which details his on-and-off relationship with the girl, who inflicts a form of emotional torture on him, by being, within moments, a passionate sex pot, a clingy friend who says weird shit like “Oh, fer krissakes, you millin er sumpen” ( … fucken, learn how to talk) … and a total bitch who kicks him out of the house, and tells him to walk home ... three miles through a fucking New England blizzard, you understand? The story then moves on to what awaits our protagonist after school. But I won’t give away anything more. What I think really helps this book ... what allows it to transcend the somewhat opaque prose of its author … is (though I contradict myself), the writing itself. For as many times as it may come across as a little weird, and not really make complete sense ... more often than not, it does, in fact, have a peculiar way of streaming into your mind and evoking some fantastic imagery that appeals not just to the visual sense, but on a more emotional level, as well. Sometimes I struggled with interpreting the sentences … but other times, I almost forgot I was reading; it was as if his words had swept me away to the snowy town of Lowell itself. Such moments included the part when Maggie leans over the chair and kisses Jack, upside down ... the feel of her breats pushing into the back of his neck ... her hair lying tickingly over his face. The part when Jack weighs up the Negro athlete at the tracking marathon. The part when he sits at the kitchen window, watching all his friends trudging through the snow, past his house and up to another where there is to be a surprise birthday party for him. For a while, I was planning on giving this book three stars. But after reaching the end, I realized that, while there have been many books I enjoyed reading more, none have provided an experience quite like this. There is something powerful in this story, but it’s very understated … almost missable. And in the end, I had to reward it for that. All things considered, Maggie Cassidy is a nice, simple story about a boy and girl who find a connection in the prime of their youths … it explores the beauty, the heartache, and the confusion of falling in love … and essentially, it encourages us to see that, at the end of our lives, such momentous encounters like this are really not as big and infinitely dominant as they might sometimes seem to be. They are just yet another of life’s great experiences ... something beautiful and natural ... sometimes happy, sometimes painful … and something that we all must come to experience and remember, in whatever shape or form, if we are to call ourselves human. Except being the frozen coil of unexpressed sorrow, there were a few things I can’t quite get off my chest. Well, not without unblocking my Ex-Girlfriend on Facebook, and telling her to leave her boyfriend, otherwise I’ll do something drastic. 1) When Jack goes to college in New York, and his friend writes to him by letter, he keeps on referring to their hometown as being “down here”. Now, if your brain is normal, then this really shouldn’t bother you. But for me, it caused substantial mental torment. Even my psychiatrist throws his hands up and tells me I’m a nutcase. But I just can’t get my head around why this guy would refer to his hometown as the more southern point, in relation to New York City, when Lowell, Massachusetts, is obviously further north. I literally had to reason with myself here … eventually coming to the desired concsluion that his friend was just a little dumb, and didn’t know the geographical setting of his own country. 2) When I lapse in the throngs of midnight twilight sad dreams owl asleep in dripping tree, I picture life like flower petal opened blooming hopes like new waxed car in sheen of morning glow. The stars are like the speckled ground of litter fires broken dreams small remnants of what once had seemed like more than merely grand ideas. If you found this sentence annoying - fucking, though I doubt anyone is even reading this false hope letters hanged with faded times of better minds, loser in the dread of dark - then think about how I had felt. This book is full of stuff like this. The guy did not like using commas, it seemed. “Spontaneous Prose”? That meant to justify it? My bowels are spontaneous, but I don’t glorify that shit, do I? 3) This book explores the joys and woes of having a high school sweetheart. How come I never got to have a high school sweetheart? Oh ... That's right. More of these reviews here: https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Irenski

    Jack Kerouac embodies Americana. Plain and simple. Father-Son relationships. Blue Collar America. Wild, silly friendships. Small(ish) towns. All some of my favorite things. One of the greatest love stories I've ever read, "Maggie Cassidy" so accurately exemplifies friendship, young love, and adolescence. To fool friends and family for the heart of a woman, as flawed as she may be, while simulatenously battling the confusion of growing up, Kerouac illustrates that our decisions as youngsters really Jack Kerouac embodies Americana. Plain and simple. Father-Son relationships. Blue Collar America. Wild, silly friendships. Small(ish) towns. All some of my favorite things. One of the greatest love stories I've ever read, "Maggie Cassidy" so accurately exemplifies friendship, young love, and adolescence. To fool friends and family for the heart of a woman, as flawed as she may be, while simulatenously battling the confusion of growing up, Kerouac illustrates that our decisions as youngsters really do shape our future as well as the relationships of those closest to us.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    4* On the Road 4* Maggie Cassidy TR The Dharma Bums TR Big Sur I should read more books written by Kerouac since each one brings always a great surprise to the reader.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Love the passion of Kerouac's prose even if it gets tiresome after a while. I read this book when I was a teen, around 1965, and still have a fond spot for passages like this: "Can I make you happier with powder on my chest? Do you need a thousand movie shows? Sixteen million people to ride the bus with, hit the stop—I shoulda never let you go away from home—" Rich lips brooded in my deaf ear. “The fog’ll fall all over you, Jacky, you’ll wait in fields—You’ll let me die—you wont come save me—I wo Love the passion of Kerouac's prose even if it gets tiresome after a while. I read this book when I was a teen, around 1965, and still have a fond spot for passages like this: "Can I make you happier with powder on my chest? Do you need a thousand movie shows? Sixteen million people to ride the bus with, hit the stop—I shoulda never let you go away from home—" Rich lips brooded in my deaf ear. “The fog’ll fall all over you, Jacky, you’ll wait in fields—You’ll let me die—you wont come save me—I wont even know where your grave is—remember what you were like, where your house, what your life—you’ll die without knowing what happened to my face—my love—my youth—You’ll burn yourself out like a moth jumping in a locomotive boiler looking for light—Jacky—and you’ll be dead—and lose yourself from yourself—and forget—and sink—and me too—and what is all this then?” “I dont know—“ “Then come back to our porch of the river the night time the trees and you love stars—I hear the bus on the corner—where you’re getting off—no more, boy, no more—I saw, had visions and idees of you handsome my husband walking across the top of the America with your lantern..." Out of her eyes I saw smoldering I’d like to rip this damn dress off and never see it again!

  13. 5 out of 5

    ☮ mary

    All I can say is that reading this book is good for the soul ( I'm not even kidding ) the Kerouac style sends my heart affluter, in "Maggie Cassidy" he explores a sort of Elusive Flighty Poetry #Love #Freedom #Childhood All I can say is that reading this book is good for the soul ( I'm not even kidding ) the Kerouac style sends my heart affluter, in "Maggie Cassidy" he explores a sort of Elusive Flighty Poetry #Love #Freedom #Childhood

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    An exhilarating, lively novel about the ambitious teenage Jack Duluoz and his love for Maggie Cassidy. Occasionally a victim of its time as far as attitudes are concerned this still ranks near to the top of Kerouac's novels for me, so far. Great poetic prose, a memorable group of characters getting to grips with what life has to offer them; all you could want from a writer doing what he does best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melica

    An ordinary story but the way Kerouac tells it makes it something wonderful.There's something in this book I can't describe the feeling of being a teenager and in love,growing up, the sadness of first love and knowing that you can't have a future with your first love but not accepting it. Sad,sweet and inoccent.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Good quotes: "The second-hand kisses the minute hand sixty times an hour 24 hours a day and still we swallow in hope of life." "I can't face my own conculsions."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Appleton

    177th book of 2020. Not a bad Jacky... But when put against the nine others I've read, it doesn't hold as well. Full review to come.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Guy Portman

    Set in the close-knit working-class French-Canadian community of Lowell, Massachusetts, Maggie Cassidy is a semi-autobiographical account of Kerouac’s adolescence. The story is recounted through the teenage mind of the author’s alter ego, Jack Duluoz, a high school athletics and American football star. Maggie Cassidy is a meditation of love, of being in love and youthful innocence. A memoir of the fantasy-filled memories of adolescent years spent male bonding with his ‘corner boys’, recollecting Set in the close-knit working-class French-Canadian community of Lowell, Massachusetts, Maggie Cassidy is a semi-autobiographical account of Kerouac’s adolescence. The story is recounted through the teenage mind of the author’s alter ego, Jack Duluoz, a high school athletics and American football star. Maggie Cassidy is a meditation of love, of being in love and youthful innocence. A memoir of the fantasy-filled memories of adolescent years spent male bonding with his ‘corner boys’, recollecting on his mother’s expectations and time spent with his father, it is above all an account of his first love, high-school sweetheart, Maggie Cassidy. The romantic relationship is adeptly portrayed as a pure, passionate, exuberant love, narrated with deep and profound insights. Towards the end of the book Jack moves to a school in New York on a sports scholarship, leaving Maggie behind in Lowell. The culmination of the story comes three years later when Jack, now a man, visits her there. With the passage of time and the resulting altered motives and desires, the innocence has been lost and the resulting liaison is unfulfilled. Perhaps the ending is illustrative of the nature of Kerouac’s own adulthood relationships. Though one of the author’s less well known books, Maggie Cassidy is a captivating work that utilises long sentences and a fluid narrative style - the hallmark of the experimental, spontaneous writing form, pioneered by Kerouac, the reluctant leader of The Beat Generation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    It's always interesting reading Kerouac because his style is so unusual, even in the this pre-On The Road book published after he became famous. Since all of his books seem to be semi-autobiographical, it was fun to read a story about young Jack Kerouac, how he relates to his friends, what he thinks about his home town Lowell, MA, what he thinks of girls, his star athleticism, and a little about his family's dynamics. Ultimately though, I'd give this book two and half stars because it's main sto It's always interesting reading Kerouac because his style is so unusual, even in the this pre-On The Road book published after he became famous. Since all of his books seem to be semi-autobiographical, it was fun to read a story about young Jack Kerouac, how he relates to his friends, what he thinks about his home town Lowell, MA, what he thinks of girls, his star athleticism, and a little about his family's dynamics. Ultimately though, I'd give this book two and half stars because it's main story is not very captivating. Jack's relationship with Maggie Cassidy is not well fleshed out. He never divulges too much about how he really feels about her or much else about his inner thoughts. It's more of a story about a kid in transition from high school to college, giddy with excitement about the future, than it is a story about lost love or lack of love or whatever kind of love was supposed to be between Maggie and Jack. The book might be more appropriately titled "My Senior Year."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kalen

    My lovely husband read me this book over several nights before going to bed and I think that's the only way I can appreciate Jack Kerouac since I have a hard time understanding his prose when I am reading it on my own. In comparison to my experience reading On the Road, Maggie Cassidy felt real and soulful whereas with On the Road, I never understood what was going on or why the story was written. One of the things I love about this book is that it really shows how similar teenagers from the 193 My lovely husband read me this book over several nights before going to bed and I think that's the only way I can appreciate Jack Kerouac since I have a hard time understanding his prose when I am reading it on my own. In comparison to my experience reading On the Road, Maggie Cassidy felt real and soulful whereas with On the Road, I never understood what was going on or why the story was written. One of the things I love about this book is that it really shows how similar teenagers from the 1930s are to millennials. Both stay out late, drink, party and chase love interests. At the end of the book Jack come to Maggie's house and waits for her in her car and once she comes out he says he's not going to go inside to say hello to her parents. This is similar to many things I've read decrying today's youth from not going to the door to pick up their dates. People think dating and romance was better in the past, I think it's always been the same just on different platforms.

  21. 5 out of 5

    John

    A frustrating book to read. The writing at times is elegant but also clunky. I really wondered what he saw in Maggie as she seemed moody and temperament. Pauline seemed a much better match. What I did like was his description of the town, landscape and that three mile walk home in winter from Maggie’s house with the porch and swing. The description of his foot races was also excellent and giving his all. There are also some great lines such as ‘I sneaked off to the lazy unresponsive girl three m A frustrating book to read. The writing at times is elegant but also clunky. I really wondered what he saw in Maggie as she seemed moody and temperament. Pauline seemed a much better match. What I did like was his description of the town, landscape and that three mile walk home in winter from Maggie’s house with the porch and swing. The description of his foot races was also excellent and giving his all. There are also some great lines such as ‘I sneaked off to the lazy unresponsive girl three miles across town by the tragic-flowing dark sad Concord’. This line pretty much summed up Maggie.

  22. 5 out of 5

    J.C.

    Here, I think, Jack leaves plain where his life diverted from someone who could have a traditional life, faithful in his religion and devout in a monogamous marriage, to someone who brags about sleeping with a prostitute, even to his school crush. I enjoyed Kerouac’s messy prose still, and I think sometimes the misogyny is more a product of his time— but I do think Kerouac was at the same time aware of it, but would do nothing about it. Maybe add it to his guilt list. But the ending is so abrupt Here, I think, Jack leaves plain where his life diverted from someone who could have a traditional life, faithful in his religion and devout in a monogamous marriage, to someone who brags about sleeping with a prostitute, even to his school crush. I enjoyed Kerouac’s messy prose still, and I think sometimes the misogyny is more a product of his time— but I do think Kerouac was at the same time aware of it, but would do nothing about it. Maybe add it to his guilt list. But the ending is so abrupt and honest, and doesn’t put him in a good light at all, and I feel like that is deliberate. He couldn’t see her beyond more than a goal or object, and by that point there was no turning back.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    I found this book in the library, and having heard of Kerouac, but never read him, I loaned it. But I can't read it. I admire the way Kerouac creates words, but what he writes about - an American teenage boy of a previous generation - is too far removed for me to find it in the full-on fussy sentences. Perhaps, if the scenario was something I felt some empathy with, I would sink into the language - but as it is, I see the book as a little story padded and swathed with description until it can fi I found this book in the library, and having heard of Kerouac, but never read him, I loaned it. But I can't read it. I admire the way Kerouac creates words, but what he writes about - an American teenage boy of a previous generation - is too far removed for me to find it in the full-on fussy sentences. Perhaps, if the scenario was something I felt some empathy with, I would sink into the language - but as it is, I see the book as a little story padded and swathed with description until it can fit into a slender novel.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's been a long time since I read a book by Jack Kerouac. When I was younger and first read "On The Road", "Dharma Bums", "The Subterraneans", "Visions Of Cody", and the several others of his that I've read, I loved his stuff. But as I've gotten older, and the distance between me and the last time I read any Kerouac has grown, the criticism that the guy comes in for in certain circles has gotten to me a bit, and I've found myself wondering at times whether or not he's as awesome as I remember. It's been a long time since I read a book by Jack Kerouac. When I was younger and first read "On The Road", "Dharma Bums", "The Subterraneans", "Visions Of Cody", and the several others of his that I've read, I loved his stuff. But as I've gotten older, and the distance between me and the last time I read any Kerouac has grown, the criticism that the guy comes in for in certain circles has gotten to me a bit, and I've found myself wondering at times whether or not he's as awesome as I remember. Well, I've got a few Kerouac books that I've picked up over the years that I still haven't read yet, this being one of them, and for whatever reason, a couple days ago when I hit up the bookshelf in my room for something new to read, my eyes lit upon "Maggie Cassidy". This book tells the story of Kerouac's first serious relationship, which happened when he was in high school, and I remembered liking the first chapter when I picked it up several years ago and read through it in a bookstore. I thought I'd probably enjoy it if I picked it up again now, since it isn't one of the weirder, less linear Kerouac books--like "Visions Of Cody", which I struggled a bit with, or "Desolation Angels", which I've owned for years and still haven't made it through. The opening few chapters are a pretty straightforward story about Jack Duluoz, Kerouac's literary stand-in, going to a New Year's Eve dance with his friends. It's told in third person, and has that lyrical mix of straightforward description and stream-of-consciousness rambling that is so intrinsic to everything I've read by Kerouac--it sucked me right in. I knew I'd enjoy the book from there. Of course, it soon changed; once the scene described in the opening chapters of Duluoz/Kerouac stumbling and howling down the road to the dance with his friends had ended, the book switched to first person and became a heartfelt narrative about young love as told by a much older man looking back. There's a wistful tone that carries throughout the book, often taking the form of stream-of-consciousness digressions into the then-unknown future of the characters, in which Kerouac laments the sad times that would come to befall them all. The transition between chapters 4 and 5 is particularly poignant, marking as it does the transition between third-person omniscient narrative and first person. At this point, and at many other times in the book's narrative--especially during the stream-of-consciousness ramblings, seemingly inspired by memories of a happy time now lost--I was forcefully reminded of what I always loved, what I still love about Kerouac: the way he does such a great job of making you relate to the way he feels, of showing you the depths of the love and feeling in his heart, of putting you in there with him and reminding you of the things in your own life that relate to the things he's feeling as he writes. Kerouac was a French-Canadian drunk and an over-emotional drifter who never amounted to much on any material scale, who bounced around and crashed on couches even as he was gaining serious literary fame, who sponged off his mom all his life, and who died before he hit 50 because he just couldn't quit drinking. But boy, he had so much emotion overflowing within him, and he did such an uncannily great job of putting it down on paper, I for one can't hold an ounce of it against him. I just wish he coulda lived 30 more years to write a whole bunch more books and maybe be around making TV appearances when I was growing up so I could see him instead of always having to hear his voice on old recordings, talking over the end of a Jawbreaker song or tracks he recorded with Zoot Sims in the 50s. Reading "Maggie Cassidy" made me sorry that he isn't some old man sitting on a porch in Massachusetts right now. I'd love to have an 8 hour conversation with Jack Kerouac right now. But OK, that's all a shame but let's talk about the book a bit. Its only real weak point, so far as I can tell, is that he never put enough into telling the factual details of his relationship to Maggie Cassidy for me really to get the idea of what had happened that drew him to her so intensely. He actually tells more than shows the emotion he felt towards her, which makes me wonder if he was really right when he mentions towards the beginning of the narrative that she was his first and only real true love. Shouldn't there have been more emotion flowing through the passages that related to her and their relationship, if that was really the case? I don't know, maybe the 20 years it had been since the events of the book faded some of those emotions a bit, but the places where his love really shines through in this book's storytelling are when he talks about his father and his boyhood friends. The wistful tone I mentioned earlier comes out a lot during these points, as he once makes a reference to the death of his father and at a couple of other points to the sad fates of his boyhood friends; it's obvious to me that by the time he was writing this book, he looked at the time it described as a wonderful time in his life, much better than where he was when he wrote it, and something that he regretted taking for granted back when he had it. Something he wished he could have back, but knew he never could. And the ache of his heart comes through in his beautiful words, at points making me tear up in sympathy with him. The most surprising part of the book comes at the end, at a point when I thought I never would really understand his feelings for Maggie, after the relationship was basically over. For the last two chapters, the last 5 or 6 pages, he switches back to an omniscient third-person narrative voice, and tells the story of himself, 3 years after the rest of the book's events, back in Lowell working a crappy job and having one last reunion with Maggie Cassidy. It isn't the same, and the second he picks her up in his borrowed car, he knows it isn't the same, and it comes through so clearly just how disappointed he is, to have permanently lost the connection they once had. It reminded me of a lot of my own heartbreaks, my last pitiful attempts to salvage relationships that were beyond repair. Maybe Kerouac is better at describing lost love than love in full flower--God knows I am, so I can hardly criticize him for it--but it was only on the last page, in the last paragraph, when I really understood how he felt about all he'd had and all he'd lost with her. The 20 or so pages before it had been way less powerful than the beginning and middle sections of the book, and I was expecting the ending to kind of peter out, so when it suddenly brought itself together and hit with great force, I was stunned. Not so much pleasantly as just powerfully. And I'm glad it ended powerfully, even if it did once again cause me to choke up a bit. Reading this book has made me want to tear back into the other Kerouac books I have, both that I've read ("Visions Of Cody" and "The Dharma Bums" in particular) and that I haven't read ("Big Sur" and the long-despaired "Desolation Angels"), but I think what I may actually do next is pick up Gerald Nicosia's "Memory Babe", a huge and supposedly definitive critical biography of Kerouac that I've owned since the day I bought "Maggie Cassidy" and never read either. I think I might like to see what someone other than he himself would say about the great events of his life. And then, of course, I'll probably go ahead and read a few more of his books.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tyson

    I see the appeal of this book, especially for those who find Kerouac's more well-known novels to have been written in the wrong spirit- for money more so than any other driving reason. And while it keeps in tradition with his style of writing, it does seem to stray away a tiny bit from the ramblings and incoherent sentences that are scattered among works like On The Road and even moreso in Dharma Bums. And, of course, nobody goes camping, lives off the earth, or does drugs. But who's counting? On I see the appeal of this book, especially for those who find Kerouac's more well-known novels to have been written in the wrong spirit- for money more so than any other driving reason. And while it keeps in tradition with his style of writing, it does seem to stray away a tiny bit from the ramblings and incoherent sentences that are scattered among works like On The Road and even moreso in Dharma Bums. And, of course, nobody goes camping, lives off the earth, or does drugs. But who's counting? One of the reasons I find myself circling back to Kerouac's books is because I enjoy the freedom he shares with us. Dharma Bums, regardless of the amount of times the hipster culture wants to rub their nutsacks all over it, is inspiring to me. His view of th world is his own and he has a lot to teach us, regardless of whether his blood stream is pumping copious amounts of drugs through his system. It's ok to take something away from that book and not have to feel bad about an alcoholic, drug-induced hippie giving you the opportunity to see the world a little differently. I'm going to go out on a limb here. You probably enjoyed Ken Kesey's One Flew Over The Cookoo's Nest? Yadda Yadda Yadda, introspective ideals, love for the outsiders, and in the end, while damning that man, we join Chief as he tromps off into the sunset? You know, the novel he wrote while most likely tripping on acid? Oh, you didn't realize that?Well your ignorance doesn't keep you from being just as bad as me according to your prude standards, you close-minded jackalope. But I digress. Maggie Cassidy contained everything Jack Kerouac does minus the drug influence. Somewhere I read it was a take on 1930's New England America which isn't entirely true because of several references, most obviously the line "I'm just putting on my shirt, comb in my hand, making a Hitler mustache at Jimmy Jeeheever with it." Spoiler alert- Jimmy Jeeheevers wasn't born in the 1930's you blithering idiot (that's not true either- even a two minute Google search for that name brought no info to the table). It was wonderfully well-written, with everything you expect from Kerouac. From his run-on sentences to his over-expressive characters, Kerouac writes a novel about young love and the loss we feel as we outgrow each other. He builds a relationship that all of us can relate to from when before we were adults; Where everything takes a back burner to the connection you share with someone who your young self, full of little responsibility and non-acknowledgement of priorities, finds to hold the simplicity of growing up in the same, important high fashion as you. Was it sad? Absolutely. The entire book, despite the time period, is a reminder of a life to which, as adults, we will never be able to return. Kerouac gives us an outlet to get as close to it as possible; His novel has the uncanny ability to churn our internal waters and stir up memories of our own time growing up, when nothing was quite as important as which girl we had a crush on, what our friends were doing for summer vacation, or how good our own little league sports teams could be. It was sad because memories of anything we know we can never have again are always sad. But, while the urge for childhood is never necessarily a joyful feeling, and the longing to reverse time and go back never disappears entirely, it does teach us to enjoy life in its moments. And that is what I can draw from this book, reading between the sorrowful lines about lost love and spent younger years. Because, there is no way to stop this train; We are forever moving forward and having the carpet pulled out from under us. But, to draw from one of the greatest movies, 'Ghostbusters', no matter how many times that rug is yanked, "the flowers are still standing". 'Maggie Cassidy' reminds us of that with a not-so-subtle bash on the head by giving us a story full of characters that represent people we all knew growing up. And it's as good of a means and method as anything else to get us back to the innocence of childhood, where everything was a little simpler.

  26. 5 out of 5

    abatage

    This may be the day dreamer's handbook and a road map for anyone who has ever grown up and felt the world shift through the eyes of another. This is beat writing at its best, but there's no politics and spirituality; there's satisfaction in that mystifying poetry of love's unmeasurable angle. Maggie Cassidy draws you in with an enticing narrative frame that clicks the zoom lens down to Zagg's formative years in a lucid dream. It's one that I personally recognised - being amongst the fog while eme This may be the day dreamer's handbook and a road map for anyone who has ever grown up and felt the world shift through the eyes of another. This is beat writing at its best, but there's no politics and spirituality; there's satisfaction in that mystifying poetry of love's unmeasurable angle. Maggie Cassidy draws you in with an enticing narrative frame that clicks the zoom lens down to Zagg's formative years in a lucid dream. It's one that I personally recognised - being amongst the fog while emerging into life - whatever that means. I've fallen for girls like Maggie (I suspect a lot of others have too) and throughout this tale there are many moments of recognition. The boy grows up while the girl keeps her head in the clouds. It's tragic - it's beautiful - it's poetic - it's real. With elegance Kerouac has documented the flow of infatuation with a masterful hand. He once again creates vast landscapes with words that are noisy, silent, colourful, bleak and visceral. A must read for any Kerouac fan.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    I found Kerouac's style in this book to be truly phenomenal. It was some of the most beautiful writing of his. What made it an odd contrast was how it portrayed the life of a high school jock, a little shy and inexperienced, compared to the poor alcoholic of later books. The subject matter was an honest look at the frustration of high school relationships. I felt sorry for Maggie, stuck in what appeared to be a fairly small town, trying to decide at 17 if she should get married or not, more out I found Kerouac's style in this book to be truly phenomenal. It was some of the most beautiful writing of his. What made it an odd contrast was how it portrayed the life of a high school jock, a little shy and inexperienced, compared to the poor alcoholic of later books. The subject matter was an honest look at the frustration of high school relationships. I felt sorry for Maggie, stuck in what appeared to be a fairly small town, trying to decide at 17 if she should get married or not, more out of boredom more than anything else. The book was an odd contrast between idolisation and disappointment. Nobody seemed to know what they really wanted. It did a good job of capturing the frustration of youth. While I prefer Kerouac going on a bender with because his cat died, or failing at relationships because of his alcoholism, it was a sweet touching story and really really well written. Probably the 2nd best of the Dulouz stories I read. (The first being Visions of Gerard).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Damien

    It was good. About half-way through, I consciously realized how two-dimensional the characters were. (And that's not exactly a GOOD thing.) But the writing is beautiful, lyrical. The plot is strong, and it kept me turning pages. "Maggie Cassidy" probably doesn't get the attention it deserves in the Kerouac lexicon, to be honest. And the last two chapters are, in my opinion, among the finest commentary on the so-called "American Dream" that I've read in years. *SPOILER:* This novel's ending is not It was good. About half-way through, I consciously realized how two-dimensional the characters were. (And that's not exactly a GOOD thing.) But the writing is beautiful, lyrical. The plot is strong, and it kept me turning pages. "Maggie Cassidy" probably doesn't get the attention it deserves in the Kerouac lexicon, to be honest. And the last two chapters are, in my opinion, among the finest commentary on the so-called "American Dream" that I've read in years. *SPOILER:* This novel's ending is nothing short of brilliant. If the first 180 pages breathe air into the balloon, the novel's last 9 pages see it fly maniacally around the room as that air escapes. I'm not much of a romantic--though I was rooting for Jack & Maggie--but the ending seemed absolutely perfect.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Proudfoot

    Since this was one of his early books, I believe he hadn't developed the stream-of-consciousness style he'd later become famous for. In the beginning, Maggie Cassidy told the story of the golden age of the main character's youth and love in Francophone New England. The community had a faintly mythic quality, as though seen through a child's eyes. However as the story developed and the main character grew older, the charm was lost and the story floundered. Although interesting because of the desc Since this was one of his early books, I believe he hadn't developed the stream-of-consciousness style he'd later become famous for. In the beginning, Maggie Cassidy told the story of the golden age of the main character's youth and love in Francophone New England. The community had a faintly mythic quality, as though seen through a child's eyes. However as the story developed and the main character grew older, the charm was lost and the story floundered. Although interesting because of the description of a small Francophone community in America, and for Kerouac fans, interesting to imagine Kerouac's childhood, ultimately the plot and characters are too underdeveloped to stand with his later books.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aike

    The fact that the main character in this novel is actually Sal Paradise - Kerouac wanted them to share the same name but publisher stopped that - made me like the book a lot more. And the fact that that made me like it a lot more isn't very good 'publicity' for this book. I've read two other Kerouacs, On the Road and Lonesome Traveler, that I both enjoyed very much. I love reading about travelling and all the adventures on the road, and I think Kerouacs spontaneous prose fits those stories very The fact that the main character in this novel is actually Sal Paradise - Kerouac wanted them to share the same name but publisher stopped that - made me like the book a lot more. And the fact that that made me like it a lot more isn't very good 'publicity' for this book. I've read two other Kerouacs, On the Road and Lonesome Traveler, that I both enjoyed very much. I love reading about travelling and all the adventures on the road, and I think Kerouacs spontaneous prose fits those stories very well. I didn't think it fit this story very well. It was an interesting read, and great to expand my knowledge of Kerouac, but not something that will stay with me for a long time.

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