Cover image for Nobody's wife : the smart aleck and the king of the beats
Nobody's wife : the smart aleck and the king of the beats
Kerouac, Joan, -1990.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : Creative Arts Book Co., [2000?]

Physical Description:
xi, 216 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3521.E735 Z738 1995 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS3521.E735 Z738 1995 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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It was 1950. Strikingly beautiful, 20-year-old Joan Haverty had arrived in New York and was working as a seamstress. During a deteriorating attempt to reconcile with her lover, fate intervened when Joan heard a stranger's voice calling up to her loft from the street below -- It was Jack Kerouac, needing directions to a party Thus began Joan's stormy romance with and brief marriage to the leather-jacketed archangel of the Beat Generation. She bore his tirades, his passion, his troubled poetic genius, and also bore his child while Kerouac was writing his great signature novel, On the Road.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Haverty Kerouac (who died in 1990) has mellowed since her article "My Ex-Husband, Jack Kerouac, Is an Ingrate" ran in Confidential magazine, but her posthumous memoir struggles with how the famed writer fit into her bohemian youth. Indeed, this memoir is as much about Haverty's early grab at independence in 1950s New York and the other men in that period of her life as it is about her brief marriage to the Beat hero, which produced his only child. The 20-year-old Haverty had arrived in Manhattan after working on a fishing boat with Kerouac's friend Bill Cannastra, had found work as a seamstress and was finishing an affair with a Columbia physics graduate student when Kerouac appeared on her doorstep. His impulsive marriage proposal offered some solace for Cannastra's sudden death, as well as, the author admits, a means to motherhood. She was unprepared, however, for Kerouac's conventional ideas about a wife's place, whether in public or in bed. Her memoir ends as suddenly as their marriage, with Haverty headed home to Albany, envisioning neither her ex's later fame nor her protracted legal fight for child support. Unlike the memoirs of their daughter, Jan (Baby Driver; Trainsong), Haverty's straightforward, infrequently lyric prose isn't under the spell of the BeatsÄwhich will probably count against her with Kerouac-worshipping Beat fans. (Jan. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Kerouac aficionados have been salivating for this memoir since two excerpts appeared in Women of the Beat Generation (LJ 10/1/96). They will not be disappointed. Kerouac's second wife and the mother of the late novelist Jan Kerouac began the book in 1980, ten years before she died of breast cancer. Writing in clear, often graceful prose, the author recalls her struggle for self-realization in New York City in the early 1950s, recording how difficult it was for a woman to transcend the gender roles of that particular place and time. She provides an eyewitness account of Kerouac's troubled relationship with his mother and includes new material on her relationship with Bill Cannastra, a Harvard Law School graduate and Beat angel who died in a senseless subway accident. Along with Joyce Johnson's Minor Characters (LJ 1/15/83; Penguin USA, 1999. reprint) and Carolyn Cassady's Off the Road (LJ 6/15/90), Kerouac's memoir is required reading for anyone interested in the role of women in the Beat Generation. Highly recommended.DWilliam Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.