Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Freewheelin' Time

I just finished this new book by Suze Rotolo. She is the woman in the picture. An iconic image that opened the door to a new era in American music. The album cover was Freewheelin' by Bob Dylan and there has been much written, mostly speculation over the last 40 years about the blond woman with Dylan.
Suze finally broke her silence regarding her relationship with Bob Dylan when she was interviewed by Martin Scorcese for his Dylan documentary, No Direction Home.
In the book, we learn that Suze Rotolo is a force to be reckoned with. A daughter of an Italian Family from Queens, she grew up in a politically radical house hold. She is an artist and has always been involved with theater. She met Bob Dylan when she was 17 and was involved with him as he was learning the craft and becoming the performer and cultural force he is known as today.
In the book, she sets the record straight and gives many insights into the relationship and speculations which have swirled around her for years. The real craft of her writing is to say enough, but know when to close the door. She reveals herself with out embarrassing the reader.
She gives a unique history of a special time and place. The evolving folk music scene in Greenwich Village in the early 60's. She introduces you to the characters and the places and gives a good taste of what it was really like.
She really seems to have struggled with the very idea of breaking her silence and relinquishing her privacy after living a life and raising her own family in the same neighborhood as much of the book takes place. She makes us appreciate her decision to do so.
More over, though the focus of the book is the relationship, the story is really about Suze and her remarkable life at that time. She travels to Italy and lives there for a while, she protests the travel embargo on Cuba by actually going there and having her passport revoked as an act of protest. She tells all of this from a heart felt personal point of view. She tells of herself at an age when so much can be packed into such a little time.
Above all, this is not a celebrity "tell all" book.
This book is really about change. Living with it, making it and accepting it.
A truly impressive book by a very impressive woman.

A Freewheelin' Time
Written by Suze Rotolo

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