The Awakener - A Memoir of Jack Kerouac and the Fifties
Publisher: City Lights Publishers
“Kerouac’s oldest living girlfriend!” (Helen Weaver’s own description) While there are a number of Kerouac “tell-alls” by former girlfriends and wives, this book differs in that it combines an intimate portrait of Kerouac with a scholarly look at the gradual change in his reputation over the years. Weaver paints a broader portrait of the times, including a brief glimpse into the early sixties when she was involved with another famous American iconoclast, Lenny Bruce. Weaver looks back on her time with Kerouac after an interval of fifty years, and talks about how her feelings toward him as a man, and as a writer, have changed during that period. Weaver admits that while women like Joyce Johnson, Edie Kerouac-Parker, Joan Haverty and Carolyn Cassady spent much more time with Kerouac than she did (she threw him out after a couple of months), their relationship was very intense for both of them. Kerouac changed her life, and Weaver kept careful track of the arc of his life over the years. Her book is an ongoing mediation of his life and work. Weaver reveals the literary Greenwich Village of the 50s and the publishing scene during that time. The book will benefit from renewed interest in the 50s (given the popularity of shows like Mad Men). This book will be embraced by Beat fans based on the never-ending fascination with Kerouac’s life. And, endorsements are coming in from Joyce Johnson, Carolyn Cassady, Ann Charters, David Amram and others well-known for their involvement with the Beat.