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Friday, December 01, 2006

Memoirs of a Beatnik

I picked up a copy of "Memoirs of a Beatnik." It mainly aroused my curiosity because it said the novel was a chronicle of the Beat movement, and the title was inviting enough (also the price: $4.95 used). The novel is closely based on the actual events of one Diane Di Prima. Well, the book begins with highly detailed sexual encounter and becomes an avalanche of youthful experimentation, not always positive or clear. And here I was expecting Kerouac and Cassidy to make a glorious appearance! So far (I haven't finished reading it, I am about half way through) none of the great Beats have appeared and the story line has been little short of soft porn. From lesbian encounters to the author's brief career as a model for pornographic still pictures, the book reads like a piece right off an underground magazine. One chapter deals with the narrator's visit to a college friend out in the "country," and becomes an Elizabethan drama complete with incest and a "rape" scene. The entire account is written in fiction form but the fact that it is admittedly biographical and also the fact that she doesn't change the name of the narrator leads one to believe the author is the narrator. There are some fine characters that cross paths with the narrator, but none of them stick long enough to make an impact (even the really interesting ones). I am sure the book made an impact when it was first published, for the cover includes a dazzling one-liner from "The New York Times." There are some bright points to it so far but I am still waiting for the main guns to show up. I was expecting something like "On the Road," or "Dharma Bums." We'll see if my opinion changes by the time I finish reading it. Which reminds me to stop writing blog entries for books I haven't finished reading.

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At 1:43 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

JCR, Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Also, thank you for signing on for our story. I will go right now and add your link to our list. I can't wait to read your story!

At 1:52 PM, Blogger ipanema said...

Nice template. Interesting posts. Thanks for dropping by my blog. :)

At 4:12 AM, Blogger Susan Abraham said...

Hello JCR,
Thanks for visiting me yesterday and offering those kind words in the face of a story rejection.
Terrific blog you have here.
I have read this review but I need to come back for a proper second read. Your efforts deserve more than a skimming through.
Do you mind if I linked you onto my blogroll?


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