A brilliant, funny and touching memoir of a coming of age in the drug-obsessed, free-love and rock-n-roll world of 1970s America. When Sam Kashner leaves his nice, safe parents and his nice, safe neighbourhood in Long Island to pursue his love of literature, where else would this innocent, geeky 17 year old kid go but the Jack Kerouc School of Disembodied Poets? Because it is there that he hopes to meet his heroes who made up the Beat Generation of the 1950s, those, that is, that are still living. Because this is no longer the 1950s and his beat heroes - and now supposed tutors - are no longer the daring, youthful, beautiful beatniks that Sam had dreamed of becoming part of, but rather an irascible, drug-ravaged and slightly rheumatic bunch of ageing hippies. Kashner describes the embarrassing, frightening, exciting moments that fill he two-year long education - and odyssey. From his first homework assignment - to finish Ginsberg's poetry collection while fending off his amorous advances, to being enlisted by the terrifying William Burroughs to babysit his genius drug-addict son, to falling in love with various mysterious-looking, poetry-reciting, bangle-wearing women to whom he cannot speak for shyness, to getting drunk for the first time. From Buddhism and Bob Dylan to marijuana and hot tubs, Sam discovers an entirely new and absurd world littered with fantastic, dazzling, sometimes horrible personalities; romantic rebels, poets, musicians and shoplifters. A tale of following a dream and surviving its flaws.
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"A refreshingly innocent and comical personal story." -- Time Out
"The valuable insights he provides into their twilight years ensures that, for now, the beat goes on." -- The Big Issue
"This rollicking, wild, witty memoir supplements the earnest biographies wonderfully." -- The Times
"[a] hilarious and affectionate memoir - *****" -- Express
"… enlightened and often hilarious." -- Lads Mag
Sex, drugs, rock 'n roll - and poetry. The intimate and hilarious story of a young writer's apprenticeship to Allen Ginsberg and literature's hippest clique.
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