Looking for Jack Kerouac

Looking for Jack Kerouac

by Barbara Shoup
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


It wasn't Duke Walczak's fault that I took off for Florida, like Kathy thought. The truth is, we started getting sideways with each other on our class trip to New York and Washington D.C. nearly a year earlier—which, looking back, is ironic since she was the one dead set on going.

From the author of Wish You Were Here andStranded in

…  See more details below

Overview


It wasn't Duke Walczak's fault that I took off for Florida, like Kathy thought. The truth is, we started getting sideways with each other on our class trip to New York and Washington D.C. nearly a year earlier—which, looking back, is ironic since she was the one dead set on going.

From the author of Wish You Were Here andStranded in Harmony (American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults), and Vermeer's Daughter (a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults).

In 1964, Paul Carpetti discovers Jack Kerouac's On the Road while on a school trip to New York and begins to question the life he faces after high school. Then he meets a volatile, charismatic Kerouac devotee determined to hit the road himself. When the boys learn that Kerouac is living in St. Petersburg, Florida, they go looking for answers.

Barbara Shoup is the author of seven novels and the co-author of two books about the fiction craft. She 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 Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, and the 2012 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Regional Indiana Author Award. She was the writer-in-residence at Broad Ripple High School Center for the Humanities and the Performing Arts in Indianapolis for twenty years. Currently, she is the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 06/09/2014
In this strong work of historical fiction set in the 1960s, Paul feels understood for the first time after finding a copy of On the Road during a high school trip to New York City: “Like the book knew who I was, knew what I wanted, and was speaking back to me somehow.” Paul’s mother’s unexpected death upsets his determination to break from his girlfriend’s dreams of marriage, until Duke, a fellow Kerouac devotee, entices him on a road trip to Florida to find their hero. Shoup (Wish You Were Here) creates full-fleshed characters filled with yearning, both those Paul leaves behind and those he meets on his journey. Changes in music, politics, race relations, and attitudes toward Vietnam illuminate the volatile era, rendering Paul’s sense of loss and longing both symptomatic of his era and timeless: “Would it ever stop, I wondered—this constant plummeting backward to that lost time, the happiness, the small comforts and promises I used to take for granted?” A relatable protagonist managing a delicate balance between uncomfortable realities and fertile possibilities makes for a memorable, mature coming-of-age story. Ages 14–up. Agent: David Bennett, Transatlantic Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

"In this strong work of historical fiction set in the 1960s, Paul feels understood for the first time after finding a copy of On the Road during a high school trip to New York City: 'Like the book knew who I was, knew what I wanted, and was speaking back to me somehow.' Paul’s mother’s unexpected death upsets his determination to break from his girlfriend’s dreams of marriage, until Duke, a fellow Kerouac devotee, entices him on a road trip to Florida to find their hero. Shoup (Wish You Were Here) creates full-fleshed characters filled with yearning, both those Paul leaves behind and those he meets on his journey. Changes in music, politics, race relations, and attitudes toward Vietnam illuminate the volatile era, rendering Paul’s sense of loss and longing both symptomatic of his era and timeless: 'Would it ever stop, I wondered—this constant plummeting backward to that lost time, the happiness, the small comforts and promises I used to take for granted?' A relatable protagonist managing a delicate balance between uncomfortable realities and fertile possibilities makes for a memorable, mature coming-of-age story."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Paul encounters truckers and even mermaids in this odyssey about first love, grief, baseball, and breaking away. Shoup gifts thinking teens with a powerful journey towards self-discovery. This is the real thing."—Margaret McMullan, author of Sources of Light and How I Found the Strong

"Like Kerouac’s own writing, Barbara Shoup’s Looking for Jack Kerouac brings you right into his world and gives the reader a chance to spend time with him. Shoup’s portrayal of Kerouac is astonishingly real and provides a whole fresh look of what it was like for those few of us left who spent time with him. Like Kerouac, she is a masterful storyteller. This the rare book that gives you more pleasure every time you re-read it."—David Amram, author of Off Beat: Collaborating with Kerouac

"Barbara Shoup’s Looking for Jack Kerouac brings alive the magic of the man who created The Beat Generation and dramatizes his perennial appeal to youth!"—Dan Wakefield, author of New York in the Fifties

School Library Journal
08/01/2014
Gr 10 Up—While on a high school trip to NYC, Paul Carpetti discovers the West Village and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Paul begins to question everything about his typical Midwestern life. He discovers he no longer relates to or loves his girlfriend Kathy, who had always assumed marriage and children were inevitable, but before he can do anything about this, his mother is diagnosed with a brain tumor. After his mother's death, Paul graduates and gets a job at the local steel mill. He lets Kathy takes on the role of acting wife with the supposition of future marriage. Paul falls into the routine and believes that this is what's in store for him. While at the steel mill, however, Paul befriends the effervescent Duke Walczek, a fellow reader and Kerouac lover. Together, Paul and Duke take to the road themselves hitchhiking their way to Florida to meet Jack Kerouac. This story is well written and well conceived. It immerses readers into life in the 1960s. Shoup takes readers into a world filled with assorted characters caught up in the attitudes and beliefs of the time. Paul's journey of self-discovery will captivate readers. He is a likable character even when he is doing things that aren't very kind or agreeable. A relatable and affecting coming-of-age story.—Kristyn Dorfman, The Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-10
Quiet contemplation reigns when recent high school graduate Paul uses a road-trip search for Jack Kerouac as a possible escape from the pressures of 1964 suburbia.Paul is increasingly disillusioned with his night shift at the mill and his girlfriend’s belief that their engagement is imminent. Breaking free from the yoke of expectations is difficult, especially in the wake of his mother’s recent death. Paul’s admiration for Kerouac’s On the Road sparks an unexpected friendship with fellow overnight-shift employee Duke, whose adventurous nature contrasts with Paul’s reluctance to rock the boat. Indeed, it’s Duke’s idea to run away to Florida to find Kerouac. Readers expecting a wild adventure story will find themselves disappointed. Paul’s cautious approach to travel helps the pair avoid excitement, and his reserved narrative style strips even a romantic interlude with a Weeki Wachee mermaid impersonator of any salaciousness. The pair’s experiences in Florida seem to further emphasize the dangers of impulsivity, as both Duke and Kerouac are revealed to have unstable lives that largely revolve around alcohol-fueled binges. But while Paul lacks a certain vivaciousness, his growing understanding of his role in the world is revealed through moments of self-awareness that are almost painfully unvarnished and at times also starkly beautiful.Ultimately though, a book whose title references Kerouac but lacks outrageous escapades may have difficulty finding its audience. (Historical fiction. 14-18)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781938126475
Publisher:
Engine Books
Publication date:
08/26/2014
Pages:
184
Sales rank:
1,231,433
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Barbara Shoup is the author seven novels—Night Watch, Wish You Were Here, Stranded in Harmony, Faithful Women, Vermeer’s Daughter, Everything You Want, and An American Tune—and the co-author of Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process and Story Matters. Her short fiction, poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in numerous magazines, including The Writer and the New York Times. 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. She 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 Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, and the 2012 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Regional Indiana Author Award. She was the writer-in-residence at Broad Ripple High School Center for the Humanities and the Performing Arts in Indianapolis for twenty years. Currently, she is the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center, an associate faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and an associate editor with OV Books.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >