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Looking for Jack Kerouac


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About the Author

Barbara Shoup is the author seven novels--Night Watch, Wish You Were Here, Stranded in Harmony, Faithful Women, Vermeer's Daughter, Everything You Want, and An American Tune--and the co-author of Novel Ideas: Contemporary Authors Share the Creative Process and Story Matters. Her short fiction, poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in numerous magazines, including The Writer and the New York Times. Wish You Were Here and Stranded in Harmony were selected as American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. Vermeer's Daughter was a School Library Journal Best Adult Book for Young Adults. She is the recipient of numerous grants from the Indiana Arts Council, two creative renewal grants from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the 2006 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, and the 2012 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Regional Indiana Author Award. She was the writer-in-residence at Broad Ripple High School Center for the Humanities and the Performing Arts in Indianapolis for twenty years. Currently, she is the executive director of the Indiana Writers Center, an associate faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and an associate editor with OV Books.


"In this strong work of historical fiction set in the 1960s, Paul feels understood for the first time after finding a copy of On the Road during a high school trip to New York City: 'Like the book knew who I was, knew what I wanted, and was speaking back to me somehow.' Paul's mother's unexpected death upsets his determination to break from his girlfriend's dreams of marriage, until Duke, a fellow Kerouac devotee, entices him on a road trip to Florida to find their hero. Shoup (Wish You Were Here) creates full-fleshed characters filled with yearning, both those Paul leaves behind and those he meets on his journey. Changes in music, politics, race relations, and attitudes toward Vietnam illuminate the volatile era, rendering Paul's sense of loss and longing both symptomatic of his era and timeless: 'Would it ever stop, I wondered--this constant plummeting backward to that lost time, the happiness, the small comforts and promises I used to take for granted?' A relatable protagonist managing a delicate balance between uncomfortable realities and fertile possibilities makes for a memorable, mature coming-of-age story."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Paul encounters truckers and even mermaids in this odyssey about first love, grief, baseball, and breaking away. Shoup gifts thinking teens with a powerful journey towards self-discovery. This is the real thing."--Margaret McMullan, author of Sources of Light and How I Found the Strong "Like Kerouac's own writing, Barbara Shoup's Looking for Jack Kerouac brings you right into his world and gives the reader a chance to spend time with him. Shoup's portrayal of Kerouac is astonishingly real and provides a whole fresh look of what it was like for those few of us left who spent time with him. Like Kerouac, she is a masterful storyteller. This the rare book that gives you more pleasure every time you re-read it."--David Amram, author of Off Beat: Collaborating with Kerouac "Barbara Shoup's Looking for Jack Kerouac brings alive the magic of the man who created The Beat Generation and dramatizes his perennial appeal to youth!"--Dan Wakefield, author of New York in the Fifties

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