A Freewheelin’ Time – books read in 2010

“One night maybe as much as a year later, I went to a party given by the photographer Jerry Schatsberg in his loft near Union Square.  A few of us went by car.  I think Bobby Neuwirth was driving, but I am not sure. We picked up others on the way, including Edie Sedgwick, who was part of Andy Warhol’s Factory and starred in his films.  She squeezed in next to me in the front seat and offered me a cigarette.  I said, No thanks, maybe later.”

– from  A Freewheelin’ Time

Suze Rotolo digs hard and deep into her memory of the 60s in New York and, of course, into her life with Bob Dylan, who she dated for four years or so and was his first real girlfriend.  One must remember that this is Suze’s story, and not a biography of Bob Dylan, so Dylan enthusiasts should slant themselves accordingly.  I was fascinated for a while with Rotolo’s romp into politics to a point, culture, the folk music moments that first surfaced in the 60s and her involvement in civil rights along with loving the rising star, Bob Dylan.  She mentions reading Francoise Gilot’s memoir, Life with Picasso, which ironically is the next book I am reading, in a chapter called “Revelations” which for Rotolo became a revelation in her life about what it meant to be attached to an artist.  She discovers similarities between Picasso and Dylan (????) and what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.

What I did not like was her chapter titled “Ballad” which consisted of three precise paragraphs explaining her unplanned pregnancy after breaking up with the unfaithful Dylan, and her subsequent abortion.  There is minimal emotion expressed here…and I felt nothing too.

I mention again to keep in mind that this is a story about Rotolo’s life, so looking for the Dylan/Warhol/Edie Sedgwick connection proved unfruitful.  I thought perhaps she would have a little slant on the story of the three, but Rotolo seemed to have been oblivious to the affair Dylan had with Edie Sedgwick, or that Dylan even entertained the idea of Andy Warhol as an artist.

“I remember going with Bob to a loft somewhere and watching one of Warhol’s films, a work in progress.  Bob didn’t think much of the film or of Warhol.  His taste in movies could be quite conventional.  Storytelling was important.”

All in all, Suze Rotolo’s storytelling was an interesting one.

3 Responses to “A Freewheelin’ Time – books read in 2010”

  1. This is a really nice review. I may consider checking this out of the local library. Thanks for posting it!


  2. Lisa Chapman Says:

    Hey Jenn,

    After you mentioned you were reading it, I picked it up at the bookstore to look at it. It sounds like maybe she was just young and didn’t have anything very interesting to add to the mix yet. Bob Dylan never really interested me either, so that doesn’t help right? There was a book about Edie a few years back when the film came out, did you read it?



  3. Sarcastic Bastard Says:

    Thanks. I didn’t even know about this book. I always found her very interesting. Nice review, toots.


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