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Maggie Cassidy (Duluoz Legend)

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,270 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
Maggie Cassidy, a 1959 novel by Jack Kerouac written about his times in Lowell, MA from 1938 to 1939. It chronicles Kerouac's real life relationship with teen age heart-throb Mary Carney. It is unique for Kerouac for its high school setting and teenage characters. He wrote the novel in 1953 but it was not published until 1959, after the success of On the Road.
Published 1968 by Avon Books, New York (first published 1959)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mike Sweeney
Aug 01, 2007 Mike Sweeney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books. Its mostly over looked by your run of the mill Jack Kerouac fans. Nothing like On the Road, its not about being a beatnik. There are no drugs or road trips or crazy jazzmen...Its a sweet love story set in pure Americana in 20's Lowell.
I prefer the stories of his youth like Maggie Cassidy and Visions of Gerard (Dylan's favorite Kerouac book). These books tend to have all the elements of the more beatnik books but without the trendiness of the beats.
The kiss scene is one
Chris Meger
Jun 02, 2008 Chris Meger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe one of the most approachable of Jack's. Heartbreaking and sincere. There's an upside down kiss in this book that is a thousand times sweeter and sexier than the one in Spider-Man
Benjamin Stahl
Feb 27, 2016 Benjamin Stahl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Heartbreak Hipster Review

With Kerouac being one of my father's favourite authors - (he takes The Dharma Bums with him whenever we travel. He even named our first dog after him, though we kids were unable to pronounce the name, and so just called him “Wacky”) - I have always been encouraged to read some of his work. Along with Hemingway - and several others of this respected, but unvisited, calibre - I have always intended to read something of his, eventually. And so finally, having finished Ma
Jan 13, 2014 Roos rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat
Fucking hell, Kerouac.

It may be that your semi-intellectual idea of 'spontaneous prose' is the source of some deeply poetic-sounding shit. It may be that On the Road is a great book. It may be grand that you wrote a book about your first love and named it after her.

This all becomes slightly less grand, however, when you then go on to spend half your time "in love" disrespecting and ditching 'that big love in the wild Lowell whirlwinds of black night'.

There's some instant Kerouac for ya. Just ma
Jan 20, 2014 Nicola rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just out this book down and am currently torn. On one hand, Kerouac requires patience, a bit of a run-up, time to settle in to his rhythms. At some points, I didn't give him that, but when I did it was fantastic. When I didn't I was disappointed. Equally, it's a first novel and a little messy - in good ways and in bad - at turns not quite hitting the mark and resulting in delightfully madcap, onomatopoeic run-on sentences. When its good, it's really, really good, and following at its natura ...more
Michael Irenski
Nov 05, 2013 Michael Irenski rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack Kerouac embodies Americana. Plain and simple.

Father-Son relationships. Blue Collar America. Wild, silly friendships. Small(ish) towns. All some of my favorite things.

One of the greatest love stories I've ever read, "Maggie Cassidy" so accurately exemplifies friendship, young love, and adolescence. To fool friends and family for the heart of a woman, as flawed as she may be, while simulatenously battling the confusion of growing up, Kerouac illustrates that our decisions as youngsters really
Apr 25, 2016 Kalen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My lovely husband read me this book over several nights before going to bed and I think that's the only way I can appreciate Jack Kerouac since I have a hard tie understanding his prose when I am reading it on my own.

In comparison to my experience reading On the Road, Maggie Cassidy felt real and soulful whereas with On the Road, I never understood what was going on or why the story was written.

One of the things I love about this book is that it really shows how similar teenagers from the 1930
Vi MacDonald
When it works, it really works - wrapping me up in some lovely prose and heartbreaking character moments. When it doesn't, it really doesn't - awkwardly slipping into the same vaguely sexist discomfort that all too often permeates his work.
Good quotes: "The second-hand kisses the minute hand sixty times an hour 24 hours a day and still we swallow in hope of life."
"I can't face my own conculsions."
Sep 10, 2009 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's always interesting reading Kerouac because his style is so unusual, even in the this pre-On The Road book published after he became famous. Since all of his books seem to be semi-autobiographical, it was fun to read a story about young Jack Kerouac, how he relates to his friends, what he thinks about his home town Lowell, MA, what he thinks of girls, his star athleticism, and a little about his family's dynamics. Ultimately though, I'd give this book two and half stars because it's main sto ...more
Guy Portman
Nov 11, 2013 Guy Portman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat-generation
Set in the close-knit working-class French-Canadian community of Lowell, Massachusetts, Maggie Cassidy is a semi-autobiographical account of Kerouac’s adolescence. The story is recounted through the teenage mind of the author’s alter ego, Jack Duluoz, a high school athletics and American football star.

Maggie Cassidy is a meditation of love, of being in love and youthful innocence. A memoir of the fantasy-filled memories of adolescent years spent male bonding with his ‘corner boys’, recollecting
Nov 30, 2009 Mandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in the library, and having heard of Kerouac, but never read him, I loaned it. But I can't read it. I admire the way Kerouac creates words, but what he writes about - an American teenage boy of a previous generation - is too far removed for me to find it in the full-on fussy sentences. Perhaps, if the scenario was something I felt some empathy with, I would sink into the language - but as it is, I see the book as a little story padded and swathed with description until it can fi ...more
☮ mary
Mar 20, 2016 ☮ mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All I can say is that reading this book is good for the soul
( I'm not even kidding )


the Kerouac style sends my heart affluter, in "Maggie Cassidy" he explores a sort of Elusive Flighty Poetry #Love #Freedom #Childhood description
Jan 30, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jackie Duluoz, lo pseudonimo che Kerouac scelse per se stesso all’interno di quella leggenda che fu la sua vita — autore complesso, la cui opera è strettamente legata al substrato sociale dell’America degli anni ’50 e ’60, le lotte di classe, la guerra fredda, il Vietnam, avvenimenti di cui fu testimone con la sua generazione — prima delle scorribande in lungo e in largo per il continente ampiamente narrate nei suoi libri più famosi (per esempio in Sulla strada) e di cui il pubblico ha spesso tr ...more
Nov 04, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the passion of Kerouac's prose even if it gets tiresome after a while. I read this book when I was a teen, around 1965, and still have a fond spot for passages like this:

"Can I make you happier with powder on my chest? Do you need a thousand movie shows? Sixteen million people to ride the bus with, hit the stop—I shoulda never let you go away from home—" Rich lips brooded in my deaf ear. “The fog’ll fall all over you, Jacky, you’ll wait in fields—You’ll let me die—you wont come save me—I w
May 01, 2008 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2009 abatage rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This may be the day dreamer's handbook and a road map for anyone who has ever grown up and felt the world shift through the eyes of another. This is beat writing at its best, but there's no politics and spirituality; there's satisfaction in that mystifying poetry of love's unmeasurable angle.

Maggie Cassidy draws you in with an enticing narrative frame that clicks the zoom lens down to Zagg's formative years in a lucid dream. It's one that I personally recognised - being amongst the fog while eme
Jan 02, 2013 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found Kerouac's style in this book to be truly phenomenal. It was some of the most beautiful writing of his. What made it an odd contrast was how it portrayed the life of a high school jock, a little shy and inexperienced, compared to the poor alcoholic of later books. The subject matter was an honest look at the frustration of high school relationships. I felt sorry for Maggie, stuck in what appeared to be a fairly small town, trying to decide at 17 if she should get married or not, more out ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Damien rated it really liked it
It was good. About half-way through, I consciously realized how two-dimensional the characters were. (And that's not exactly a GOOD thing.) But the writing is beautiful, lyrical. The plot is strong, and it kept me turning pages. "Maggie Cassidy" probably doesn't get the attention it deserves in the Kerouac lexicon, to be honest. And the last two chapters are, in my opinion, among the finest commentary on the so-called "American Dream" that I've read in years.


This novel's ending is not
Leslie Proudfoot
Since this was one of his early books, I believe he hadn't developed the stream-of-consciousness style he'd later become famous for. In the beginning, Maggie Cassidy told the story of the golden age of the main character's youth and love in Francophone New England. The community had a faintly mythic quality, as though seen through a child's eyes. However as the story developed and the main character grew older, the charm was lost and the story floundered. Although interesting because of the desc ...more
The fact that the main character in this novel is actually Sal Paradise - Kerouac wanted them to share the same name but publisher stopped that - made me like the book a lot more. And the fact that that made me like it a lot more isn't very good 'publicity' for this book. I've read two other Kerouacs, On the Road and Lonesome Traveler, that I both enjoyed very much. I love reading about travelling and all the adventures on the road, and I think Kerouacs spontaneous prose fits those stories very ...more
Beth Weeks
Apr 02, 2014 Beth Weeks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less profound than Kerouac's seminal work On the Road, Maggie Cassidy is nevertheless a thoughtful read that reflects on the innocence and nihilism inherent in teenage romance. Written in a sometimes-narrative, sometimes-stream of consciousness format, Kerouac recounts the tale of his formative years as a high-school athlete in 1930s New England as well as his frustrations with his first love, Maggie Cassidy. Perfect for a quiet winter night, Maggie Cassidy is a must-read in the Kerouac canon.
Maggie Cassidy is a largely autobiographical account of Kerouac's youth, growing up in Lowell, Massachussetts in the 20s and 30s, written in his signature reportage style with all of the immediacy of tone and sense of energetic movement. It is easy to suppose that he wrote this as he was reputed to have written On the Road, that is without editing anything, all of a piece. However, there is an integrated feel to this cyclical telling in cameos of the scenes and characters in his home town and th ...more
Ling Xian
"She'd cradle my broken head in her all-healing lap that beat like a heart; my eyes hot would feel the soothe fingertips of cool, the joy, the stroke and barely-touch, the feminine sweet lost bemused inward-biting far-thinking deep earth river-mad April caress..."

I had been meaning to read a book from Kerouac for some time. On the Road was the book I had initially wanted to read, but could not find it in a library, so I simply made do with this.

Now onto the review itself. The quote above was on
Aug 07, 2013 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the book takes place in Lowell, Massachusetts in a small yet urban neighborhood pre-World War II, the defining generation of a melting-pot society, it's easy to inhibit the main character, Jack Duluoz, as you ride along his experience as an adolescent clutching for the answers of friendship and true love. Although my first Jack Kerouac read, the writing style delivers a very realistic approach to how a young adult may interpret love while also dealing with family, school, and future expect ...more
Feb 10, 2013 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this as I love On the Road, but this book was difficult to read. The characters weren't interesting and didn't have depth. Due to the writing style I did not read this wanting to know what happens next or feel any investment in the characters lives. Kerouac's writing is a great improvement in On the Road. This is a good book to read if you are curious about Kerouac's teenage years but in terms of story and readability there just wasn't enough to keep me entertained.
Sairam Krishnan
Dec 22, 2014 Sairam Krishnan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are those who will maintain that Jack Kerouac was a pretender, a boy-man who drunk his way through the wild streets of America to his death, and along the way wrote some hallucinatory drivel in drug induced marathons.

They don't know what they are talking about. They should read this book.

Maggie Cassidy, Kerouac's tale of small town boyhood, friendship, overpowering first love, and growing up is far more than beautiful. It's transformative. Reading it, and in scenes like when Jack Duluoz wa
Gabriel C.
Dec 23, 2012 Gabriel C. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: angela, 2012
If I never read another coming of age novel, it'll be too soon. There was a lot of pretension in here, like he read some fancy modernists and felt like he had to keep pace. I don't remember that kind of pretension in his other work--there was plenty of other pretension but not that. The ending got to me but I think that might just be the lonely tequila speaking. This was hard to work through, boring and somehow at the same time dread.
GK Stritch
Nov 28, 2013 GK Stritch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(What is it about Jack and those Cassidy Cassadys?) Maggie is poetic prose, warm and rich and heartfelt . . . 1939 was a very good year, so spin your Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw and have a read and listen to the gorgeous, gorgeous poetry of Kerouac. Note how using few words, "freckles, powder, a little rose in her hair" Jack masterfully explains so much.

"Maggie" by GK Stritch
Apr 08, 2015 Zena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first attempt at Kerouac and I loved it.
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Born on March 12, 1922, in Lowell, Massachusetts, Jack Kerouac's writing career began in the 1940s, but didn't meet with commercial success until 1957, when On the Road was published. The book became an American classic that defined the Beat Generation. Kerouac died on October 21, 1969, from an abdominal hemorrhage, at age 47.
Early Life

Famed writer Jack Kerouac was born Jean-Louis Lebris de Keroua
More about Jack Kerouac...

Other Books in the Series

Duluoz Legend (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings
  • Visions of Gerard
  • Dr. Sax
  • The Town and the City
  • Vanity of Duluoz: An Adventurous Education, 1935-46
  • On the Road
  • Visions of Cody
  • The Subterraneans
  • Tristessa
  • The Dharma Bums

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“She brooded and bit her rich lips: my soul began its first sink into her, deep, heady, lost; like drowning in a witches' brew, Keltic, sorcerous, starlike.” 23 likes
“In the variety of the tone of her words, moods, hugs, kisses, brushes of the lips, and this night the upside-down kiss over the back of the chair with her dark eyes heavy hanging and her blushing cheeks full of sweet blood and sudden tenderness brooding like a hawk over the boy over the back, holding the chair on both sides, just an instant, the startling sudden sweet fall of her hair over my face and the soft downward brush of her lips, a moment's penetration of sweet lip flesh, a moment's drowned in thinking and kissing in it and praying and hoping and in the mouth of life when life is young to burn cool skin eye-blinking joy - I held her captured upside down, also for just a second, and savored the kiss which first had surprised me like a blind man's bluff so I didn't know really who was kissing me for the very first instant but now I knew and knew everything more than ever, as, grace-wise, she descended to me from the upper dark where I'd thought only cold could be and with all her heavy lips and breast in my neck and on my head and sudden fragrance of the night brought with her from the porch, of some 5 & 10 cheap perfumes of herself the little hungry scent of perspiration warm in her flesh like presciousness.” 17 likes
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