10 Things You May Not Know about Jack Kerouac

27 Sep

Here are ten things you may not know about Jack Kerouac.

  1. His parents were French-Canadian immigrants, and he didn’t learn to speak English until he went to school.  It wasn’t until he was a teenager that he began feeling comfortable conversing in English.
  2. He was the baby of the family.  He had an older sister named Caroline (nicknamed “Nin”) and an older brother named Gerard, who died when he was just a boy.
  3. He was a Classicist.  He used to skip school just to go read the Classics in the library.
  4. He attended prep school.  Graduating a year early from high school, he had a scholarship lined up to attend Columbia University, but they required him to attend Horace Mann Preparatory School first.
  5. While in school, he wrote music reviews.  He also had a job as a sports writer for his hometown paper.
  6. He joined the US Navy and the US Merchant Marine.
  7. His go-to food while hitchhiking across the country was apple pie.
  8. His first book, The Town and the City, was published under the name John Kerouac.  When he drew the cover he envisioned for On the Road, he also wrote his name as John Kerouac.  His parents had given him the name Jean-Louis, and John was the closest Americanization of his name.
  9. His first marriage took place in prison.  He had been arrested as a material witness after his friend murdered a man who had been stalking him.  Kerouac’s girlfriend agreed to post bail if he married her.
  10. In addition to writing, he also was a painter.
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2 Responses to “10 Things You May Not Know about Jack Kerouac”

  1. JHaeske October 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    But was he also a ‘excellent piano player and singer’ as David Amram stated in a recent documentary (sort of)? Or was Mr. Amram kidding when he said that, I certainly am not aware of this facet of his creativity.
    J
    http://www.retracingjackkerouac.com

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos October 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      When the Kerouac family lived in Queens, they had a piano that Jack used to play. I’ve read other people write about his piano playing, but I haven’t actually heard any recordings.

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