You'll Be Okay
My Life with Jack Kerouac
"The book brings to life several important characters within the life of Jack Kerouac including Lucien Carr, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs—all of whom helped to shape the Beat Generation. Kerouac-Parker’s strength lies in showing these characters as ordinary men instead of ‘mythic’ writers—which rings especially true in her descriptions of Kerouac.
You'll Be Okay is not a memoir that sets out to add new details to the continually growing myth of a man or dish the dirt on Jack Kerouac. It is, quite simply, a story of love and loss—and one that deserved to be told."—Deidre Wengen
"[You'll Be Okay] is an in depth retelling of the story from Edie's perspective and it will add to our knowledge of Kerouac's life...It has been a long time coming..."
"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"
Jan 1, 2008
"Edie Parker secured her yearlong marriage to Jack Kerouac with bail money. And like many of the women connected to Kerouac, Edie was probably most visible to him as a body, not a fellow mind. Kerouac-Parker portrays herself in this memoir as hungry for physical pursuits: She may have flipped through the pages of Proust, but she was at her best charging to the front line of a jazz performance in a seedy bar, making mayonnaise sandwiches for throng of homeless wordsmiths, and joyriding in borrowed cars. . .You'll Be Okay's narrative is simple and honest, and while Kerouac-Parker's prose isn't cleverly assembled, reading the book is like sitting down to tea with a woman eager to tell you her story."
Megan Mayhew Bergman, Bitch Magazine
A Footnote No Longer
Jan 1, 2008
"With considerable editing from Tim Moran, Edie Kerouac-Parker's You'll be okay: my life with Jack Kerouac is, in all other regards, simply written and consistently interesting. Moran's various introductory and epilogical pieces are solid and lovingly portray an aging eccentric who collected stray cats and artists and who chaffed at being reduced to an historical footnote. She is a footnote no longer."
Gilbert Wesley Purdy, Eclectica.org
Ferlinghetti's 'Coney Island' poems celebrated at 50
Apr 24, 2008
"'The world is a beautiful place / to be born into,' writes Lawrence Ferlinghetti, author of "A Coney Island of the Mind," the witty, engaging, yet often disturbing little book of poems that now has been in print for 50 years."
William Lawlor, The Capital Times
Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac On the Road
Nov 9, 2007
"Also, Bill co-edited the just-released You'll Be Okay: My Life with Jack Kerouac, a posthumously published memoir by Edie Parker Kerouac, the author's first wife. Need I add Greenwich Library has copies of these too?"
Ed Morrisey, Ed's First Blog
On the Road Again: Friends and scholars recall the man behind the myth of Jack Kerouac.
Sep 4, 2007
"Sept. 5, 2007, marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of On the Road, the novel by Jack Kerouac that gave voice to his generation's postwar experiences. With its energetic portrayal of the thrills and confusions of being young in the early years of the Cold War, it also helped usher in the "Beatnik" movement and many of the radical changes in American culture that took place in the 1960s. As you might expect, then, the mythology that surrounds Kerouac and the novel is as obscuring as it is fascinating. On the occasion of On the Road's anniversary, Slate spoke to a handful of people who knew Kerouac during this time and shortly afterward, and to scholars who understood firsthand the world he came from."
Meghan O'Rourke, Slate.com
Fall preview: New books from Sebold, Junot Diaz, Roth
Aug 26, 2007
"Go ahead. Call your friends and family now, let them know you'll see them when you see them - most likely in late December. The lineup of fall books this year is that good. . . The following are some of the other fall titles of note. . . Edie Kerouac-Parker's You'll Be Okay: My Life With Jack Kerouac, edited by Timothy Moran and Bill Morgan (City Lights)."
Oscar Villalon, San Francisco Chronicle
Aug 20, 2007
Part of the legend of Jack Kerouac is that in 1951, fueled by Benzedrine, he sat at a typewriter with one long scroll of paper and within three weeks wrote the novel that became On the Road.
A revised version was published on Sept. 5, 1957, and its 50th anniversary is being marked by reappraisals, reissues and the first publication of Kerouac's original scroll.
It was a sensation in 1957 and continues to sell 100,000 copies a year. Among the new books:
You'll be Okay: My Life With Jack Kerouac by Edie Kerouac-Parker (City Lights, $14.95, Sept. 15), 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.
Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today
Aug 5, 2007
"Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road' gets the full 50th anniversary treatment next month . . . City Lights Books, the original publisher of Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl'—which had its 50th anniversary last year—is putting out 'You'll Be Okay,' a posthumous memoir by Edie Kerouac-Parker, who served a brief term as Kerouac's first wife—his 'life's wife,' he said. As usual with his wives, she got time off for good behavior. Kerouac-Parker never got over 'the fulfillment and nemesis of my youth,' and she kept memories of the young man who liked to make love in the morning and carried a comb for his cowlick—'it was the scourge of his vanity.' She also had a front-row seat for the previews of the Sal-and-Dean show, which became the heart of 'On the Road.'"
David Gates, Newsweek
Hey, Jack Kerouac
Aug 7, 2007
"We’ve officially entered what might as well be called Jack Kerouac Awareness Month. It’s the 50th anniversary of the publication of 'On the Road,' and the commemorations include—among many other things—the release of 'On the Road: The Original Scroll,' the New York Times reporter John Leland’s book 'Why Kerouac Matters' and a memoir, 'You’ll Be Okay,' from Kerouac’s first wife, Edie Kerouac-Parker."
Dwight Garner, New York Times Papercuts blog
Kings of the Road
Jul 30, 2007
"Kerouac identified with the down-and-out—with outlaws and outcasts. (For a brief time in the 1940s he attended meetings of the American Communist Party; his first wife, Edie Kerouac-Parker, describes his left-wing sympathies in her memoir to be published in September by City Lights.)"
Jonah Raskin, The Nation
The San Francisco Chronicle
"Sad and funny, full of pathos and the lost dreams of youth, 'You'll Be Okay' will find it's way to the short list of exceptional books by women of the Beat Generation that includes Carolyn Cassady's 'Off the Road' and Joyce Johnson's 'Minor Characters.' This year, on the 50th anniversary of the publication of 'On the Road,' readers may well want to turn to Edie's long-overdue memoir for one woman's soulful view of Kerouac, Carr, Ginsberg and Burroughs, whom she knew intimately and describes in her own inimitable style." -- Jonah Raskin
An insider's account of the birth of the Beat Generation in New York City, this posthumously published memoir by Kerouac's first wife describes their meeting and courtship around Columbia University during World War II. A young socialite from Grosse Point, MI, with a keen interest in art and fashion, Edie at first seemed badly matched with the working-class football hero and tyro writer from Lowell, MA. Before long, however, she was devouring hot dogs, driving a forklift on the Brooklyn docks, and living with her beau. After his arrest as a material witness in a murder investigation, Kerouac wed Edie, who drew on her trust fund to make his bail. Although the marriage was short-lived, the couple remained in touch, exchanging occasional letters and phone calls until a month before Kerouac's death, in October 1969. Joining earlier memoirs by Kerouac's former wives and lovers, including Joan Haverty Kerouac's Nobody's Wife, Carolyn Cassady's Off the Road, and Joyce Johnson's Minor Characters, 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. – William Gargan
"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." – Donna Seaman
"Kerouac's first wife recounts her years with Jack, whom she met when they were students at Columbia, and their friendships with such Beat writers as William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg."
"Neither scholarly tome nor critical analysis, Edie Kerouac-Parker’s new memoir is a warm, intimate, and colorful portrait of the embryonic journey of Jack Kerouac. . . Edie’s prose in You’ll Be Okay is rich with detail and laced with humor, and her vivid memory of everything from what they ate and drank to what films and musicals they saw make even the well-trod portions of this tale newly engaging. . . Above all, however, it’s the unique female voice and point of view that gives this memoir its strength and importance in the otherwise male-dominated canon of Beat Literature."