Looking for Jack Kerouac
Author: Barbara Shoup
Publisher: Lacewing Books
Release date: Aug. 12, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Paperback, $14.95, 184 pages
About the Book:
When Paul Carpetti discovers “On the Road” in Greenwich Village while on a class trip to New York City, the world suddenly cracks open and he sees that life could be more than the college degree his mother is determined for him to achieve, a good job and, eventually, marriage to his girlfriend, Kathy. But upon his return, his mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer and his world falls apart.
Set in 1964, “Looking for Jack Kerouac” tells the story of how Paul’s dreams of a different life and his grief at the loss of his mother set him on a road trip with his rowdy friend, Duke, that includes a wild night on Music Row in Nashville, an all-too-real glimpse of glimpse of racism; and an encounter with a voluptuous mermaid named Lorelei – landing him in St. Petersburg, where he finds real friendship and, in time, Jack Kerouac. By then a ruined man, living with his mother, Kerouac is nothing like the person Paul has traveled so far to meet.
Yet, in the end, it is Kerouac who gives him the key that opens up the next phase of his life.
When Paul comes face to face with a family tragedy, he starts looking at the world differently and what life means. He decides to pick up and leave with his close friend, Duke, to find the author of his favorite book. What he discovers is not at all what he expected - he finds out what really matters.
This coming of age story was wonderfully captivating. Paul is a character that seems aloof and not caring, but I found myself drawn to him. As he grows and learns about himself and his relationship with his best friend, Paul's view changes. I loved seeing him grown and how he found what things in life were really important. I loved watching him grow and his discovery of how things aren't always as the seem or how we think they are.
Although marketed for the young adult audience, this story will be welcomed by the adult audience as well - possibly taking them back and spurring memories of their own ideals and how things really turned out. I know I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone that understands what it's like being young.
About the Author:
Shoup is the author of seven other novels, including “Night Watch” (1982), “Wish You Were Here” (1994/2008), “Stranded in Harmony” (1997/2001), “Faithful Women” (1999), “Vermeer’s Daughter” (2003/2014), “Everything You Want” (2008) and “An American Tune” (2012). She is the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center and the co-author of “Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process” (2000) and “Story Matters: Contemporary Short Story Writers Share the Creative Process (2006).”
Shoup graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and master’s degree in secondary education. She taught creative writing to high school students for more than twenty years.
Shoup’s short fiction, poetry, essays and interviews have appeared in numerous small magazines, as well as in The Writer and The New York Times travel section. Her young adult novels, “Wish You Were Here” and “Stranded in Harmony” were selected as American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. “Vermeer’s Daughter” was a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults.
Shoup is the recipient of numerous grants from the Indiana Arts Council, two creative renewal grants from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the 2006 PEN Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Working Writer Fellowship and the 2012 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Regional Indiana Author Award.
Shoup has lived in Indiana all her life. She is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.
If you would like to learn more about Barbara, you can find her at:
I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss courtesy of the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.