One and Only: The Untold Story of On the Roadby Gerald Nicosia, Anne Marie Santos
Lu Anne Henderson was a beautiful 15-year-old girl in Denver in 1945 when she met Neal, a fast-talking hurricane of male sexuality and vast promises. The two married, and soon they were hanging out with a group of would-be writers, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Lu Anne became the secret link between Kerouac and Cassady, helping to ignite the Beat
Lu Anne Henderson was a beautiful 15-year-old girl in Denver in 1945 when she met Neal, a fast-talking hurricane of male sexuality and vast promises. The two married, and soon they were hanging out with a group of would-be writers, including Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Lu Anne became the secret link between Kerouac and Cassady, helping to ignite the Beat Generation, and giving Kerouac material for one of the seminal novels of the 20th century, On the Road.
Lu Anne Henderson did not live to see the filming of On the Road by Walter Salles, but One and Only tells how Twilight’s Kristen Stewart, through her work with both Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos (Lu Anne's daughter), came to find the key to playing Lu Anne in the film.
Free-spirited adventuress? Promiscuous party girl? Proto-feminist? Who was the real Lu Anne Henderson, immortalized as "Marylou" in Jack Kerouac'sOn the Road?
Nicosia (Lunatics, Lovers, Poets, Vets and Bargirls, 2006, etc.) and Santos address many of the labels thrown at Henderson and her reputation in this composite text comprised of scholarly analysis, an extensive interview with Henderson conducted in 1978 and personal memoirs about her. Henderson, the 15-year-old beauty who married Neal Cassady, accompanied Kerouac, Cassady and others on the cross-country adventures later fictionalized inOn the Road. Nicosia makes a compelling case for Henderson's unique perspective on and understanding of Kerouac and Cassady, poster boys for the Beat generation. Henderson was there from the onset of their friendship, when she and a passionate, frenzied Cassady arrived in New York City in a stolen car, carrying suitcases of books but no cash. The two quickly fell in with a group of young students and budding writers, including Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and John Clellon Holmes. Cassady, desperately trying to become a writer and overcome his lack of education, was enthralled, inspired and sometimes jealous of these new peers. The balancing act of admiration and misunderstanding was most pronounced between Kerouac and Cassady, especially in later years. Yet their friendship ran deep and had profound effects on both of their lives, as Henderson directly observed in her role as friend and lover: "I really believe there was something of an umbilical cord between the two of them, because their lives were so entwined, and they really both ran the same gamut, and wound up at the same place." Henderson's extensive interview provides a unique perspective on the development of the seminal Kerouac-Cassady friendship, as well as anecdotes about and corrections to the account rendered inOn the Road. The oft-maligned Henderson, characterized as an oversexed nitwit in many film and memoir accounts of the period, speaks with intelligence, insight and tenderness about her experiences and her genuine affection for both men.
A real find for Beat aficionados, adding verve to a cherished moment in American history and the novel that came to define it.
“Enticing for both new and old Kerouac fans, this audio features measured yet expressive readings of significant tidbits . . . and lively insight into how these zany folks lived an d how they weathered the fame that crushed so many.”
- Cleis Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.78(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.90(d)
Meet the Author
Gerald Nicosia is a biographer, historian, poet, playwright and novelist. His biography of Jack Kerouac, Memory Babe, won the Distinguished Young Writer Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters while still a work-in-progress. Called a “great book” by Allen Ginsberg and “by far the best of the many books published about Jack Kerouac’s life and work” by William Burroughs, it is still widely regarded as the definitive work on Kerouac. From his years of work with Vietnam veterans on their issues of healing from the war came his book Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans' Movement, which won numerous honors and was picked by the Los Angeles Times as one of the “Best Books of the Year” in 2001.
He has written numerous critical articles and reviews for almost every major newspaper in the U.S., and he publishes his poetry widely in the small presses, having earned a number of Pushcart nominations along the way. He has read his own work and organized readings on several continents, and has lectured on the Beats, Vietnam and the Sixties literally worldwide, at such venues as Columbia University in New York, Cambridge University in England, the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, Wales, the Commune in Livorno, Italy and Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. Nicosia was invited by Director Walter Salles to pioneer the "Beat Boot Camp," creating an immersion experience for the actors in the upcoming major movie of On the Road.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
This is a much read after reading both On the Road the original edited version and the On the Road The Original Scroll version. This gives you a clear view of the view of Luanne Henderson rather than just the view of Kerouac in On the Road and throughout the Beat Movement.
As an English major in UC Berkeley, a popular book that's on all the coolest professors' lists is Jack Kerouac On the Road. One and Only provides an insight on the leading lady that made On The Road possible. Gerald Nicosia and Anne Marie Santos investigate Lu Anne's journey with Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. She brought the two together; the peanut butter to the boys' sandwich! Not only do we get to read accounts from Lu Anne and her experiences among Kerouac, Cassady as well as other members of the Beat Generation (like Ginsberg!), but the book contains actual photos from Lu Anne herself. One chapter contains a grueling cross-country trip with Al Hinkle. They were crossing the Rocky Mountains in order to pick up Kerouac. They managed to slip off the roads and land in a ditch while a snow storm was blazing. There are plenty of stories like that and all straight from Lu Anne. It's a joy reading the life of your idols; Nicosia and Santos really take the reader to the grooviest times in America's history and all from the point of view of Lu Anne.If you like history, English, or just love anything to do with the Beat Generation. This book is for you.