Memoirs of a Beatnik Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Memoirs of a Beatnik

Memoirs of a Beatnik is a an almost-autobiographical epic poem about a young woman living in New York City as a Beat writer. Diane has just graduated from high school and gone to New York to college. The book documents her move from apartment to apartment and her daily life. She works in a bar for a while. Then she lives with a wide variety of characters. She has a girlfriend who breaks up with her on a family boating trip to an island where her father rapes her. The book goes into explicit detail about Diane's sex life and her fantasies: orgies in bed with Allen Ginsberg and several of her gay male friends. Lesbian orgies in front of a fire, early sexual experiences, rape and countless lovers.
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Best part of story, including ending: The parts that I really loved about this story were the descriptions of her day to day to life and the true accounts of the kinds of places that Beat writers lived in the city.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was probably where Diane was waking up and would go each day and get firewood in a wheel barrel and bring it back down the street and upstairs to her apartment, where her roommates would still be asleep. She describes her nose always being numb when she lived there and I just love the detail that she goes into.

Opinion about the main character: I dislike the main characters easygoingness about sex with such a wide variety of partners and no real descriptions of any history between the partners in the text.

The review of this Book prepared by Meagan Lawson a Level 2 American Robin scholar

Chapter Analysis of Memoirs of a Beatnik

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   humorous Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   American Northeast Other aspects:    -   Hippies! Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   orgies    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   lesbians!    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Boob talk!    -   Vagia talk!    -   Weiner talk!    -   two guys doing it Lot of foul language?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   little dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Memoirs of a Beatnik

Diane DiPrima Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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