clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Maggie, ah Maggie

Tonight, a love story of sorts for me. Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac.

The story has a very simple narrative tale covering the progression from a young super-speedster with the potential of the world to the deplorable work-a-day disappointment of adulthood.

I enjoyed the immersion of Kerouac. I enjoyed the narrator as someone I never meet but who shapes my view.

I also enjoyed because I knew after reading it that Kerouac had also read An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser. I had labored through the volume myself and thought : really? All of that for this?

Now, I was young when I read Tragedy. Too young, perhaps. A pregnant girlfriend haunted my dreams for weeks.

Maggie - ah Maggie. You feel for Maggie. You feel she's worth your future. When you throw it all away you still feel that she might be worth it if you could get our head on straight.

It's a great book of what it is to want love more than life. Its a great version of Tragedy without the Gatsby-esque morality play of class evils front and center. Oh - the morality play and class structure is a point of the book to be sure. It is however billed beneath the pain you only feel when young.

Somehow this compounded effect of love-first-social-commentary-second does the job.

If you've never read Kerouac (I'm looking at you), this is the one to try. You understand after reading it the effect Kerouac was seeking with his prose. I think it is a clearer message of his intent than displayed in On The Road. That is probably a singular point of view.

It's a quick read. It's a good read. You'll never forget the feel of Chuck Taylor All-Stars on varnished maple gym floors after reading this volume. You'll never forget having too-thin a coat as a kid - even if you always had down jackets.

If you've ever wanted to be loved just to have the security of love and family and you wanted that feeling of contentment more than you wanted the person you were with, read Maggie. Don't tell anyone you felt that way. Just read Maggie. You can fall for Maggie yourself after that. 

You'll understand what she is. You'll understand what you are.

I'm off for a good week. Duty calls. I'll write when I am back.

Read while I'm away. Write something new. Start something you never intend to finish for me.

See how it makes you feel.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

As an English major, I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't read more than excerpts of Kerouac's work. Thanks for the recommendation.

Enjoy your week off!

jack welling said...

No harm, no foul. I've never read _Wuthering Heights_

I just listen to Kate Bush..

Hart Johnson said...

My Kerouac I've read was the Town and the City--I wanted On the Road and the library didn't have it, so I settled... I shouldn't have. It wasnt all that interesting and now I can't sort out what was THAT and what was Billy Bathgate (EL Doctorow--another author for whom I was seeking a DIFFERENT book)... All in all I don't recommend getting the wrong book from a must-read author... This one sounds like it does well, though.