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Suze Rotolo's A Freewheeling Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties

Posted by Miss Ess, November 7, 2008 06:05pm | Post a Comment

I just finished reading Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties. Rotolo is most famous for having had a complicated and inspiring relationship with Bob Dylan early in his career and for appearing with him arm in arm on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

the freewheelin bob dylan


Her autobiography is an easy read, and she chronicles not only her time in the Village in the early 60s, but also the trials of growing up thbob dylan suze rotoloe child of two communists in the era of blacklisting, and her post-Dylan trip to then-recently Communist Cuba for several months in 1964. It's interesting to read about a woman's life in the early 60s (I was glad to have recently experienced a visual touchstone of the early 60s in Mad Men) and the limitations that were part and parcel of daily life back then that are now in many ways foreign to us gals. When Suze was with Dylan, everyone expected she would merely be his shadow and have no career or creative pursuit of her own, and, among other things, she was subjected to his own rigid expectations of her looks and her second-class status.

While the book was mainly enjoyable to read, I'm not sure if I was expecting too much, but it was not heavy on details, in my opinion. I respect Rotolo's right to keep some things private, of course, but I also wondered at times why she was compelled to write a book if she wanted to keep so much to herself. Still, the book does give an outline of The Village as an exciting, creative place and also of Dylan as a charismatic but manipulative charmer. She also gives an interesting take on the corrosive effects of fame on individuals, those around them, and their relationships. bob dylan suze rotolo dave van ronk

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