A Freewheelin' Time A Freewheelin' Time

A Freewheelin' Time

A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties

    • 4.0 • 13 Ratings
    • $13.99
    • $13.99

Publisher Description

“The girl with Bob Dylan on the cover of Freewheelin’ broke a forty-five-year silence with this affectionate and dignified recalling of a relationship doomed by Dylan’s growing fame.” –UNCUT magazine

Suze Rotolo chronicles her coming of age in Greenwich Village during the 1960s and the early days of the folk music explosion, when Bob Dylan was finding his voice and she was his muse.

A shy girl from Queens, Suze was the daughter of Italian working-class Communists, growing up at the dawn of the Cold War. It was the age of McCarthy and Suze was an outsider in her neighborhood and at school. She found solace in poetry, art, and music—and in Greenwich Village, where she encountered like-minded and politically active friends. One hot July day in 1961, Suze met Bob Dylan, then a rising musician, at a concert at Riverside Church. She was seventeen, he was twenty; they were both vibrant, curious, and inseparable. During the years they were together, Dylan transformed from an obscure folk singer into an uneasy spokesperson for a generation.

A Freewheelin’ Time is a hopeful, intimate memoir of a vital movement at its most creative. It captures the excitement of youth, the heartbreak of young love, and the struggles for a brighter future in a time when everything seemed possible.

Biographies & Memoirs
May 13
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Harry Caddell ,

A Freewheelin time

This book is a must for anyone interested in the Greenwich Village folk scene during the early sixties.

caseyjoanz ,

That Girl on the bob Dylan Album

Like a lot of guys, I looked at the album cover for "The Freewheelin'' Bob Dylan" and wondered who that sweet little thing was, hanging on his arm so affectionately.
Was she hired to pose in that picture, or was she a girl he was genuinely involved with in real life? Her face is too blurry to blow up the size and get a good look at her, but it never mattered. She exudes such warmth and affection - the way she's putting herself under his arm, that smile! She had to be beautiful in the way that really matters to men.
A little research turned up the name "Suze Rotolo". Press releases and old news stories acknowledged her beauty, but they tended to make her sound like the spoiled rich daughter of some 'radical-chic-privileged-bohemians.'
And there were obvious questions. Was she a serious love in his life? More so than Joan Baez? Before Joan? After, during, or maybe even shared with Joan Baez? Then there was the obituary. She had succumbed to lung cancer. It mentioned this book.
It wasn't until Scorcese's "No Direction Home" that I got any sense of Suze Rotolo - her voice, her mannerisms, that sweet smile put to voice and expression. I was amazed at how accurately I had imagined her looking and sounding.
She reads the same way. She's sophisticated, but fragile. Rich and spoiled? She was from a less-than-priviledged family of confirmed Marxists. Their political bent was counter-culture, but not in the hip sense. She was never a zealot for her family's beliefs, she was an outsider, growing up - facing American culture like a child from a home of Jehovah's Witnesses. She wasn't the cool queen of school one might surmise, having a few cherished friendships and a deference to her older sister.

Dylan hurt her, but she has a loyalty to him that tells you what an S.O.B. he was while explaining - though not excusing - the Zeitgeist that prevailed as a cafe folk singer became a world phenomenon. At times she does defend the behavior that brought him such notoriety. You see it in "No Direction Home" when she responds to allegations that he was a hustler.
The storytelling is sometimes uneven. Not every anecdote is justified by its pay-off. But you get the feeling that a real person is talking to you. And this real person really knew Bob Dylan during the most interesting time of his rise to fame. Without taking apart a song like "Positively Fourth Street", she successfully manages to show the circumstances that would have produced such angry respite from someone overwhelmed by sudden fame and fortune dealing with the jealously of those who looked around and asked, "Why him?"
If her purpose was to tell of a limited artist, inspired by a an adorable muse in such a way that he was able to transcend his limitations far beyond his or anyone elses' expectations; telling us of fame and fortune beyond rational expectation, propelled by her, but - as the storyteller - taking little or no credit for the role she played, that's what Suze Rotolo manages to do.
There are many who would argue (myself included) that the red hot magic of Bob Dylan began to simmer a bit and cool as his relationship with Suze Rotolo did the same. She doesn't even go near to implying that. She doesn't have to. Like that picture on the album cover, we knew who she was before we tried to blow it up and examine it.

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