BABY DRIVER: A Story About Myself by Jan Kerouac

BABY DRIVER: A Story About Myself

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Jack Kerouac's daughter Jan is here in all her tattered past and present--but if you're interested in a glimpse of papa Jack, don't blink: except for two short scenes, mere paragraphs, he simply doesn't appear. (And until Jan was in her midteens, she was basically apathetic and/or ignorant about anything he'd ever written.) What's rolled out, bolt on bolt, in this ""autobiographical novel"" (except for family, there are fictional names) is Jan's childhood on the lowest East Side with gritty, hard-pressed mom Joan, and then her fast track into the 1960s demimonde: drugs, petty thefts, drugs, Bellevue, drugs, juvenile detention centers, drugs. An older Jan, in her twenties, is also aired: commune life in New Mexico; working as a hooker; being a heroin-shooter; peyote sessions; a South American odyssey in the company of a scary psychopath named Miguel (the book's only compelling section). And if Jan is hardly an appealing heroine through these strenuous adventures, her prose style doesn't improve matters: ""Repairing to my room with a candle, we dined on crisp lettuce leaves dipped in oil and lemon juice, eating them one by one with our fingers like Romans dangling bunches of grapes. We took turns with the leaves, sending messages in crunching sounds accompanied by glances from our inky irises in the liquid gold glimmer of the flame."" So--nothing for Kerouac fans, and only the familiar, down-and-dirty grind for readers of strung-out flower-child confessionals.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's