Monday, March 30, 2009

Reading Rainbow: A Freewheelin' Time

Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties is 'dont judge a book by it's cover' case in point. You'd recognize it, of course as the cover of Bob Dylan's '63 breakthrough The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, and Suze is of course, most recognizable as the gal on his shoulder. I had asked my Dylan loving daddy for the book a few months ago, and I had largely assumed it would read like the diary of an ex-girlfriend who had finally gotten her publishable forum.

What I learned however, was that Suze could never be cast as the woman behind the man - her story was too valid on its own of being shared. Suze cleverly weaves details of their innocent and passionate love affair (crushing love letters included) through the story of her Red Diaper upbringing (she was the child of Italian communists during the McCarthy era) and her role in the creative community of Greenwich Village. Amongst the anecdotes of characters, events and episodes - Suze never makes claims on Dylan, never alludes to their relationship being any more important than his to other women, regardless of how much the reader might want to protest. She is wholly honest, to the point of being heartbreakingly relateable.

If you've ever wondered how active or passionate you would have been had you been born some 40 years earlier, Suze is pretty hard to beat. You read her story and you just feel, well inadequate...

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