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A Freewheelin' Time


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About the Author

Suze Rotolo (aka Susan) is an artist who lives in New York City with her family.


New York-based artist Rotolo--the smiling young woman walking arm in arm with Bob Dylan on the cover of the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan--has written an account of her doomed love affair with the legendary musician and her own search for identity and fulfillment. Rotolo's poetic style adds charm to an engaging memoir that touches on a variety of personal, musical, and political topics that have long held Dylan fans' interest. Unfortunately, she doesn't dig as deeply as she could, and fans will learn nothing new about Dylan. But this is much more than just Rotolo's perspective of Dylan's meteoric musical ascent and its effect on their on-again, off-again relationship. It is also the story of a creative, politically active, and sensitive young woman struggling to find her voice in the male-dominated Greenwich Village folk and theater milieus. Essentially a collection of amusing anecdotes loosely held together by her connection to Dylan, this book should provide light entertainment to readers who can't get enough Dylan or those looking for a well-written firsthand account of the 1960s Greenwich Village art scene. Recommended for public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/08.]--Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

In July 1961, Rotolo, a shy 17-year-old from Queens, met an up-and-coming young folk singer named Bob Dylan at an all-day folk festival at Riverside Church in Manhattan, and her life changed forever. For the next few years, Suze and Bobby lived a freewheeling life amid the bohemians in the emerging folk scene in Greenwich Village. Rotolo offers brief glimpses of the denizens populating the new music scene below 14th Street in the early '60s and recalls the excitement as writers and musicians like Dylan wandered in and out of each other's lives and apartments, trading music and lyrics to produce a new sound that would change American music. Yet as the woman who's clutching Dylan's arm on the cover of his second album Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Rotolo doesn't give us a very freewheelin' memoir. She offers shallow, almost schoolgirl-like reflections on the man she loved and lived with for three years. In a dull and plodding manner, Rotolo provides no new insights into Dylan, claiming, as have so many, that he is mysterious and enigmatic. In an excerpt from one of her journals, she writes ambivalently that she believes in his genius and that he is an extraordinary writer, but that she doesn't think he's an honorable person. (May) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

A delightful surprise . . . [Rotolo] gracefully captures Greenwich Village as an enchanted lost world. --Entertainment Weekly A portrait-of-an-era . . . through [Rotolo's] eyes, we see Dylan as a unique artist on his way to greatness. --People

Artist Suze Rotolo pays rollicking homage to a revolutionary age. --Vogue

Exhilarating . . . a moving account. --New York Times A perceptive, entertaining, and often touching book about a remarkable era in recent American cultural history, about a way of living, of making art, that couldn't have happened at any other time or in any other place. --Stephanie Zacharek, Salon

Telling her own story more than Dylan's, Rotolo writes with the lightest touch . . . She makes her own textures, so what is left out doesn't feel as if it's missing, and what is left in maps the territory she wants to bring into view. --Griel Marcus, Interview Poignant . . . full of quick, deft sketches of key characters. --Guardian "What a wonderful kid [Suze Rotolo] must have been--brave, openhearted, keenly observant and preternaturally wise, able to rise to the challenge of loving a genius like Bob Dylan and knowing when to let go. I'm glad I finally got to meet her in these pages." --Joyce Johnson, author of Minor Characters "Suze Rotolo digs hard and deep. Then she strolls, frets, and paints a gorgeous picture of a singular place and a time that was simpler but all tangled up. Best of all, she's a natural writer who puts the beguiling voice, skeptical brow, shining eyes, and conductor's hands I know right before you on the printed page. What's her secret?" --Sean Wilentz A welcome, page-turning perspective conspicuously absent from the plethora of books on Dylan and the folk era of the 1960s: that of a woman witnessing it all from its cultural and political epicenter. --Todd Haynes, screenwriter and director of I'm Not There "There have been a lot of books written about Greenwich Village in the sixties, and I've probably read all of them. What makes Suze's story so special is that she grew up in this neighborhood and she still lives here. She knows these crooked streets intimately, and they know her." --Steve Earle

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