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Carolyn Cassady (1923–2013)

Autor(a) de Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac, and Ginsberg

7+ Works 454 Membros 4 Críticas

About the Author

Carolyn Cassady was born in East Lansing, Michigan on April 23, 1923. After attending Bennington College in Vermont, she was studying painting and theater design in a graduate program at the University of Denver when she met Neal Cassady in March 1947. She became pregnant, dropped out of the mostrar mais school, and became a member of the Beat Generation. She was as a character in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road. She was the author of Heart Beat: My Life with Jack and Neal and Off the Road: My Years with Cassady, Kerouac and Ginsberg. Heart Beat was made into a 1980 film starring Sissy Spacek. She also worked as the artistic director of the drama department at the University of Santa Clara and as a portrait painter. She lapsed into a coma after an emergency appendectomy and died on September 20, 2013 at the age of 90. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos

Inclui os nomes: Carol cassady, Carolyn Cassady

Obras por Carolyn Cassady

Associated Works

Jack Kerouac: A Biography (1984) — Introdução, algumas edições102 exemplares
Jack Kerouac: An Illustrated Biography (1999) — Prefácio, algumas edições45 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



I read this book last year, but still keep a copy in the passenger door shelf of my car because it is one I can easily dip in and out of when traffic to or from work has gridlocked and I get a chance to pull over and wait it out (Note: I do not read and drive, in case you were worried.)

When I was in my mid-teens, I simply adored Jack Kerouac's writing. I could not get enough of it. His books always promised a sense of freedom and symbolised a defiance of whatever convention seemed to bug me at the time. And how could I not love the writing that inspired so many of my other cultural heroes? It didn't come easy at that time to criticise Kerouac's writing for the sexism and blatant promotion of opportunism that is the foundation of Sal's and Dean's exploits.

Off the Road, which is the story of Carolyn Cassady, Neal Cassady's wife (well, one of them), offers a counterpart to the stories of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. It holds up a mirror to the romanticised notion of the Beats and offers a somewhat more balanced insight to both the man who would be immortalised as Dean Moriarty in On the Road and the man who would create him as a literary hero.

Cassady gives quite an honest and to-the-point account of what lead her to become in volved with Neal Cassady, their ensuing relationship, and the events that have lead her to abandon the life of a society dropout. On occasion, her narration is funny, at other times it come across as bitter, though this arguably is justified.

What struck me most is the level of naivete that she displayed at the beginning of her relationship with Neal. There were quite a few moments that caught me rolling my eyes in disbelief. However, I guess that so would she having the benefit of hindsight. What Off the Road did really well for me was to portray the double standards that build the basis of On the Road - and which are not mentioned by Kerouac.
What I mean is that, as much as On the Road raves on about the aspirations of being an independent single-minded carefree human being, it never mentions that Dean/Neal and his friends relied heavily on the goodwill and hard work of their family and friends.

Review first added at BookLikes:
… (mais)
BrokenTune | 2 outras críticas | Aug 21, 2016 |
self-serving, i'm sure. no one is that saintly. but an interesting story went to london for 2 weeks in the middle.
also read joyce johnson's memoir(married to jack kerouac)
on the road
mahallett | 2 outras críticas | May 18, 2014 |
The tone of Carolyn Cassady's memoir of her time with Jack Cassady has a bit of an undercurrent that is seems hard to believe until she reveals a bit of truth in an incident with her teenage children one night. After finding out that an evening with their estranged father and Ken Keasey's band of Merry Prankster's has not lived up to expectations: Both of them admitted to a certain amount of disillusionment, now that they had seen their idols as ordinary people. My sacrifice had not been in vain.

In reading Off the Road, one realizes that without being a character in Kerouac's novels, her time with him would have amounted to being nothing but being the wife of a serial cheater, general compulsive (drugs, gambling, any other hobby of the moment), absentee father and classic man-child. But he was who he was and this memoir was realized in 1990 - during one of many revivals of all things Beat. One cannot blame the woman for wanting to recount this time with these men she knew before they all became famous, but it is clear that while she feels a need to live up to the legend, she still wants them to be seen as mere men. After all, she sacrificed the better portion of her younger life to living the attitude many individuals are content to read about or play at for a weekend or two.

Carolyn's version of events is well-packed with letters from Ginsberg and Kerouac (the latter who she had her own affair with, the former who she became friends with after he wanted to make up for having his own affairs with Neil). It's also a reminder of the limitations for women in the late forties and early fifties if hey found themselves in the precarious position of being main bread winner for a family. Portions of the memoir do drag when discussing the benefits of Edgar Cayce's Spirituality, but it becomes understandable as both Ginsberg and Kerouac begin their own spiritual journeys. She is very protective of the lives of her children, mentioning them only when absolutely necessary in the story. I do respect this protection, but as the story drags on through Neal's various exploits and her seemingly limitless ability to forgive for the sake of the family, I did find myself wondering why (since this was published in 1990 - nearly 30 years after Neal's death), there was no mention of any impact this rocky relationship had on them later in life.
… (mais)
3 vote
stephmo | 2 outras críticas | Mar 21, 2010 |
This book should only be read by people under the age of 20. It's kind of too late otherwise.
DameMuriel | May 1, 2008 |


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