ONE AND ONLY: The Untold Story of On The Road
by Gerald Nicosia with Anne Marie Santos
Trade Paper, 5 ½” x 8 ¼”, 244 pages
Publishing on January, 2013
Beat historian Gerald Nicosia spent years looking for Lu Anne Henderson, the woman who started Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on their journey, because he knew that if not for her, the two men wouldn’t have taken the road trip that became On the Road. With the help of Lu Anne’s daughter Anne Marie Santos, Nicosia tells the story of the beautiful 15-year-old girl who loved both men, and taught them how to love each other, in ONE AND ONLY: The Untold Story of On The Road, coming out in paperback January 2013, to coincide with the national release of the long-awaited Walter Salles film adaptation of On the Road. Kristen Stewart portrays Marylou, the character based on Lu Anne Henderson.
Nicosia interviewed Henderson in 1978, when she was 47 and he was in his early 20s, and though he said “a lot of Lu Anne was beyond me then,” he understood what a great gift she had given him. She had long avoided the spotlight—Nicosia only found her through an off-hand comment from a fellow Beat aficionado—and she quickly dropped out of sight again after they spoke.
As the author of Memory Babe: A Critical Biography of Jack Kerouac, widely regarded as the definitive work on Jack Kerouac, Nicosia recognized Lu Anne’s secret impact on 20th century literature. ONE AND ONLY includes the never-before-published transcription of the 34,000-word taped interview and is illustrated with fifty-five rare archival black-and-white photographs, including priceless pictures of Neil Cassady and Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and others, many of which have never before been seen. The paperback includes a new preface by Nicosia about the making of the movie.
The lead actors starring in Salles’ film weren’t born when On the Road was published. To educate them, the director created “Beat boot camp,” enlistingONE AND ONLY author Gerald Nicosia as the first instructor. In preparing for her role, Kristen Stewart was having a hard time making sense of how Lu Anne could still love Neal, despite his endless cheating on her. After listening to the taped interview that is at the heart of ONE AND ONLY, Kristen said she found the key to playing Marylou in the movie “as her own woman, not Neal’s.”
Gerald Nicosia is a biographer, historian, poet, playwright and novelist. His biography of Jack Kerouac, On the Road, won the Distinguished Young Writer Award from the National Society of Arts and Letters and was called a “great book” by Allen Ginsberg and “by far the best of the many books published about Jack Kerouac’s life and work” by William Burroughs. It is still widely regarded as the definitive work on Kerouac. His book Home to War: A History of the Vietnam Veterans’ Movement won numerous honors and was named one of the Los Angeles Times “Best Books of the Year” in 2001. He is currently at work on a biography of Ntozake Shange. . He lives in Corte Madera, California.
Anne Marie Santos is the daughter of Lu Anne Henderson. She splits her time between Smithfield, Virginia, and San Francisco.
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I received a copy of One and Only for the purpose of this review.