Synopses & Reviews
“You have a unique viewpoint from which to write about Jack as no one else has or could write. I feel very deeply that this book must be written. And no one else, I repeat, can write it.”—William S. Burroughs
Edie Parker was eighteen years old when she met Jack Kerouac at Columbia University in 1940. A young socialite from Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she had come to New York to study art, and quickly found herself swept up in the excitement and new freedoms that the big city offered a sheltered young woman of that time.
Jack Kerouac was also eighteen, attending Columbia on a football scholarship, impressing his friends with his intelligence and knowledge of literature. Introduced by a mutual friend, Jack and Edie fell in love and quickly moved in together, sharing an apartment with Joan Adams (who would later marry William S. Burroughs). This is the story of their life together in New York, where they began lifetime friendships with Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and others. Edie’s memoir provides the only female voice from that nascent period, when the leading members of the Beat Generation were first meeting and becoming friends.
In the end, Jack and Edie went their separate ways, keeping in touch only on rare occasions through letters and late-night phone calls. In his last letter to Edie, written a month before his death, Kerouac ended it with the encouraging phrase: “You’ll be okay.” It was from that note that the title of this book was taken.
"Those who read only the best-known works of the Beat Generation—Ginsberg's Howl, Kerouac's On the Road, Burroughs's Naked Lunch—will be forgiven for thinking that the Beats were a misogynistic lot: women, when they appeared at all, were cast in minor roles, and it is only in recent years that we have begun to hear their side of the story. You'll Be Okay: My Life With Jack Kerouac is Edie Kerouac-Parker's account of her marriage to Jack Kerouac, and though the marriage only lasted from 1944 to 1946, it is clear that those two years came to represent a lost, golden period in her life. Written much later than the events described and published posthumously. . . the account is deeply nostalgic and rich in detail, and it gives a vivid sense of what it was like to be a headstrong young woman in love with a budding author, both of them trying to make it big in Manhattan during the 1940s." —Michael Hayward, Geist Magazine
Jack Kerouac's first wife gives an insider's view of the nascent Beat Generation.
About the Author
Edie Kerouac-Parker (1922-1993) was the author of her memoir, "You'll Be Okay" from the Beat Generation, and the first wife of Jack Kerouac. She and Joan Vollmer shared an apartment on 118th Street in New York City, frequented by many Beats, among them Vollmer's eventual husband William S. Burroughs. Parker was a native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She and Kerouac married in 1944. At the time, he was in jail as an accessory after the fact in Lucien Carr's murder of David Kammerer. This event expedited their intention to marry so that Edie could access an inheritance from her grandfather's then unprobated estate to post Kerouac's bail. The marriage was annulled in 1945. She is represented as "Judie Smith" in Kerouac's novel The Town and the City and is a prominent figure in Kerouac's classic, On The Road.