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Off The Road My Twenty Years With Cassady, Kerouac, And Ginsberg
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Off The Road My Twenty Years With Cassady, Kerouac, And Ginsberg

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,360 ratings  ·  72 reviews
Neal Cassady was a living legend, his dauntless, wild spirit immortalized in the bible of the Beat generation, Jack Kerouac's On the Road. In this vivid account, Neal's wife captures the turbulence and raw excitement of her years with Cassady, with Kerouac (her sometime lover), and with poet Allen Ginsberg--an intense rival for Neal's affections. The love triangles, nomadi...more
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Published January 1st 2005 by Penguin Books (first published June 1st 1990)
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Nicola
It’s hard not to get caught up in the romance of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady travelling across America in the 1950s. I keep thinking I’ll grow out of my fascination with Beat writers, but I haven’t yet. However, Carolyn Cassady’s memoir presents a starkly different perspective on Beat history: her story fills in the ‘inbetween’ times; a life of not being on the road, but at home with children and a real life.

In other books about Kerouac et al, both Neal and Carolyn are typically described in b...more
Connie Fulks Mullins
If you are interested in the Beats, this is a must-read. It offers a much more balanced look at the lives of Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac, especially, while adding the perspective of a wife/mother/girlfriend. While it's rather lengthy, it's very intelligent. There were times when I wondered why she stayed with Neal, but by the end I think I understood her inability to let go of a mainstream cultural perspective on marriage, though minus the religious trappings, while falling in love with a "bad...more
Whitney
This book seemed very faithful about capturing the personal writings of "the Beat Generation," via letters and conversations. But the woman didn't seem to leave out a single gawddang thing . . . EVERYTHING is in there, so much that the reader should feel content to skim.

Carolyn Cassady entirely deserves to have her story voiced. Her writing style is both patient and intelligent. However, the story of her marriage to Neal Cassady reads as if she wants to be nominated for a sainthood, as if she ha...more
Mel
I found this book really interesting. It started with Carolyn meeting Neal and ended with his ashes being scattered on Jack's grave. I think I liked Carolyn better than Joyce though she was definitely a little strange. While her writing was very emotional and insightful there was definitely something or rather sometimes when it felt a little dishonest about it. Sometimes she'd talk at great lengths about her drug experiences and affairs, and then she'd spend ages talking about what a prude and h...more
Leslie
Carolyn Cassady wrote this book about her marriage to Neal Cassady and her relationships with many beat writers, especially Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. I read this in a couple of days and never got bored with it. I've seen several reviews on her calling her a doormat. I think that's applying today's mindset to what people did fifty years ago. Also, why judge her at all? I didn't get the idea she wrote the book to justify her actions, she seemed to just want to tell what happened. I'm really...more
Amy
I read this book immediately after "On the Road". It added another dimension to Neal Cassady (Dean Moriarty) such as his belief in the teachings of Edgar Cayce and the A.R.E., his homosexual tendencies, and his involvement with Ken Kesey (author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and the Merry Pranksters. Neal was wild but he was also an inconsiderate and possibly mentally-ill person. I can't believe she stuck with him through (most of) it. I hesitate to call her a doormat though because it's...more
Sandra Foy



Off The Road
By Carolyn Cassady


This book provokes all sorts of emotions: anger, shock, horror, disbelief, mortification, but most of all sadness. The story tells the other side of the Neal Cassady - Jack Kerouac - Allen Ginsberg show, that Kerouac wrote about in On The Road, which was published in 1957 and became a cult novel selling millions.

This account comes from the point of view of Carolyn Cassady, wife and mother of three of Cassady's children. The writing is very good, she is always inter...more
John Molina
This book had its up and downs. It does provide some fascinating insight into the seminal figures in the beat movement and those anecdotes are fun and exciting. The writing is lackluster though, very timid and has a gossipy tone throughout. I did like some of it though and I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the Beat Generation.
Momchil
A sobering book for the admirers of Neal Cassady (Dean, Cody,...) and Jack Kerouac. While we do get another glimpse at their extraordinary lives, we also see the implications that this type of living inevitably carries: the other side of the coin that's usually missing from Kerouac's work. The line "the best-laid schemes of Mice and Men go oft awry" was constantly ringing in my head while reading, due to the persistent dreaming by all the protagonist of the joyful future they would share togethe...more
Jeff Tucker
The beat generation took place in Carolyn Cassady's living room. I don't know how she put up with Jack and Neal but her book is a great inside story for those who want to know more about the boys in the car "On The Road" and the women they left behind.
Anne


Living a chaotic life, sharing it with incredible men, she wrote this book not as a witness but as a true participant of the literary and musical movement I love. Was lucky enough to hear her read in Brighton many years ago,what a woman!
Colleen
This book really captured the day-to-day life with Neal, Kerouac and, to a lesser extent, Ginsburg and Burroughs. It's a disturbing life, certainly not one I'd want, rife with addiction, mental illness, narcissism, and codependency. I don't get the allure of the beats, maybe they were like such a bunch of freaks in the 50's that they were given attention disproportionate to their talent.

So, while I don't like them and think they're overrated as writers, I did gain sympathy for Neal through Carol...more
David Horn
I started reading this book greedy for information about Ginsberg, Burroughs and Kerouac. I wasn't the least bit interested in Carolyn Cassady's (Camile from Kerouac's On The Road) personal life and her attempts to raise her family while her husband was missing most of the time. But by then end of this book, my interests reversed. I could have cared less about the drunken Kerouac and Neal Cassady's overindulgences. It was clear that the fathers of the beat and hippy movements in the US were dyin...more
Teresa
It's a good thing the men of the Beat Generation were good writers because for the most part, they sucked as husbands and fathers.
P.
I read Off the Road my first year in college, that very fall. I'd spent the summer before reading On the Road and becoming obsessed with the Beat Generation, but especially Neal Cassady, who seemed to be the source of inspiration for the artists despite not really being one himself. Interest in him led me to this book.

While reading On the Road and Bukowski's books, I became aware that women weren't the protagonists. Their stories weren't being told. It made me feel strange. I wanted to go on adv...more
Ann Blonston
If you're interested in the Beats or maybe you encountered Cassady later as a Merry Prankster,this book is a good addition to your reading. Carolyn Cassady died just last year. She raised 3 of Neal's kids, and was part of his life from the period covered by Kerouac's On The Road, until his death. It's an interesting look at the life of nonconformists during the post war period of great social conformity.
Cem Aksal
Bir nevi, On The Road'un devamı gibiydi. Kerouac'ın kitabındaki, eksik bakış açılarından birini ve aslında en önemli olanın, giderilmesini sağlar, Carolyn'in kitabı.
Eğer, On The Road'u okuduysanız veya okuyacaksanız muhakkak, Yoldakiler'i (Off The Road) de okumanız gerekir.
Brian
A different perspective on beat writers Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and beat icon Neal Cassady. This is "Mrs. Dean Moriarty" and someone applying today's relationship rules to her situation would probably call her a doormat to her husband's comings and goings and his dalliances on the side. However, her love for both Cassady and Kerouac is evident and she (rightfully?) concludes that her life was much more interesting than it otherwise would have been had she not met either of them or had the e...more
Adam
I've read quite a few books about and by The Beats and really enjoyed them. Their relentless willingness, and enthusiasm, to experiment and the way they supported each other towards success has always struck a chord with me.

I was quite curious to read this book about those years from Carolyn Cassady's point of view. Unfortunately, while the the stories and change in perspective were interesting, I found it an incredibly depressing book.

To be clear, it's a skilfully written book and I think the w...more
Toni Apicelli
Jul 20, 2014 Toni Apicelli rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the Beats and the Merry Pranksters
If you're interested in Neal Cassady, Jack Karouac and Allen Ginsberg as well as the Merry Pranksters who travelled with Ken Kesey, this book gives you insight into the personal life of Cassady. Although Cassady is a legendary figure, being married to him and having three children by him sounds like a total nightmare. I couldn't help wondering all through the book why Carolyn Cassady stayed with him. "I loved him" didn't seem possible, but that's not for me to say. She tells her story well and t...more
Tricia
One of my all time favorite books. After reading Kerouac's On the Road in high school and nursing dreams of hopping trains, hanging out in jazz clubs and enjoying life with leisure, this account brings the reality into focus. She does a wonderful job shedding light on the realities of the beat lifestyle and those who had to pick up the pieces and pay the bills. She also manages to show the vunerable sides of many of the romantisized charaters of the beat generation.
Sean Pfile
If you love Jack & Neal....this will give you the inside scoop.
Lauren Biggs
When I started this book I found it interesting. I've always enjoyed the beat generation (and their antics), but as the book went on, it became repetitive and dull. How many times can you let one person treat you badly and forgive them? At first you feel bad for Carolyn but after a whole it's like give it up already. Basically the beginning is good, the middle is redundant and the end is pretty anti climatic. One good this is the beautiful descriptions it gives of san francisco and the bay area,...more
Laura Grace
Sep 25, 2008 Laura Grace rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brinson
So often the men of the Beat generation are revered for their poetic, stream of conscience, semi autobiographical/culture study style of writing; but many are less aware of the women of the Beat generation. Carolyn Cassady is a heroin, an honest artist with insight into how the men in her life truely acted and how it affected her life as well as society. I have read and re read this book and she truely is one of the women I revere the most at this point in my life; you will never read anything b...more
Christina
This was wonderful. You can't help but feel completely heartbroken for Carolyn, although she is somewhat of a saint. I know that I will never have to go through what I went through, but I hope I can always be as strong as she was and is. This memoir helps you to see what Jack and Neal and all those guys were really like, although I didn't necessarily have any illusions. Jack idealizes Neal a lot, so it was interesting to read this other side of him. This book made me feel a lot closer to some of...more
Robert
A lovely book which fills the heart with both despair and an appreciation of life upon finishing its last sentence. However, the only real issues with this book are her writing style which I found dry and void of any real quality but I'm certain this was on purpose to give the impression of 'bare to the bones' fact. Second, her obsession with filling passages with her progression in spiritual beliefs which if you aren't attracted by their ideas (which I wasn't) then they drag down otherwise inte...more
Jess Kogel


I read this book years ago and had to read it again after I read One and Only by Nicosia (Luanne Henderson's story/ Marylou). It was quite different and if not for reading both books my view on both women would have been quite positive but it does seem that she was trying to capitalize on fame of being with Neal Cassidy and Jack Kerouac after the fact. But the story is well written and does detail the life with all the famous writers. Must read for any Beat generation follower.
Rob
An interesting look at the founders of the Beat Generation from a womans perspective. I look forward to the On The Road years.

I was a bit disappointed in this book. Neal put her through some relly rough time and after hearing her whine about it and do nothing the story got old. It was an interesting look at the life of the beats but a bit redundant after awhile.
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Carolyn Elizabeth Robinson Cassady was a memoirist/ American writer associated with the Beat Generation through her marriage to Neal Cassady and her friendships with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and other Beat figures. She became a frequent character in the works of Jack Kerouac and became a prominent figure in documentaries, movies, lectures, books, and events discussing the legacy of the Beat G...more
More about Carolyn Cassady...
Heart Beat: My Life With Jack and Neal Off the Road Collected Letters, 1944-1967 Jack Kerouac: An Illustrated Biography Jack Kerouac: A Biography

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