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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb oral biography of a hedonistic and exploited icon
Like the other reviewers here, I can also wholeheartedly recommend this biography. I became interested in Edie Sedgwick having seen the Factory Girl biopic and was so intrigued - more by the narrative than the film - that I picked up this 400+-page tome. Who was this girl-woman who became one of the central icons of 1960s counterculture, but whose actual output remained...
Published on 22 Nov 2007 by cathy earnshaw

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13 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Subject Unworthy of the Approach
I love oral biographies (and highly recommend, by the way, SAVAGE GRACE and THE TRUE GEN), and EDIE certainly held my attention. But why? Because Edie Sedgwick was such an interesting personality? Hardly. She was a dime-a-dozen degenerate and, of course, a bore. The same is true of all her godawful cronies, including the insufferably peculiar and talentless Andy...
Published on 1 July 1998


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb oral biography of a hedonistic and exploited icon, 22 Nov 2007
By 
This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
Like the other reviewers here, I can also wholeheartedly recommend this biography. I became interested in Edie Sedgwick having seen the Factory Girl biopic and was so intrigued - more by the narrative than the film - that I picked up this 400+-page tome. Who was this girl-woman who became one of the central icons of 1960s counterculture, but whose actual output remained so small? What did she actually do? Was she a talented actress? Did she really have a relationship with Bob Dylan? What was the deal between her and Andy Warhol? Some of these questions are fascinatingly answered in this book, but not all veils of mystery are lifted here (as can only be expected of a figure with such cryptic appeal).

Jean Stein quotes - without interpretation or commentary - the recollections of not only her family, friends (e.g. Richie Berlin, Bobby Anderson) and her husband (whom she married less than 4 months before she died), but also quotes Edie herself from the Ciao! Manhattan tapes as well as key figures of that time (e.g. Nico, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg). They dispel the myth once and for all that Warhol's desire to make Sedgwick famous was self-effacing - he clearly profited from her presence and not only financially. "Edie brought Andy out," says René Ricard, "she turned him on to the real world...Edie legitimized him". Truman Capote claims that "Edie was something Andy would like to have been; he was transposing himself on her á la Pygmalion". Warhol is portrayed here - as in Factory Girl - as a disturbed and manipulative individual; upon being told of Edie's death the previous night, Andy simply asked Brigid Berlin whether that meant her husband "was going to get all her money now". An equally black view of Edie's father, Fuzzy Sedgwick, also emerges: a brutal man with an indefatigable grandiosity complex (he sculpted a huge statue of Saint Francis, for example, as a kind of homage to himself), his own son calls him "pathologically hostile". Two sons killed themselves (followed, of course, by Edie herself who died of a barbiturate overdose at 28); it is claimed he brutalized his wife as well as other family members. Saucie Sedgwick, his eldest daughter, states that "he made a sort of pass at [Edie]". "She had so many mixed, tortured emotions about that man," says Bobby Anderson, "she loved him, she worshipped him, she hated him".

Psychological problems manifested themselves early in Edie's life: the "bleak little pictures" she drew, the bulimia she suffered, the "strong sexual relationship" she felt towards her father (even her youngest brother is quoted as having contemplated sleeping with her), the kleptomania, the copious drug use... It seemed Edie, reckless and extravagant, was hurtling head-first towards an early grave. But Stein does not - in contrast to her portrayal by Sienna Miller - present her simply as a victim. Sedgwick had her fair share of detractors; very few, if any, of whom seem motivated by jealousy about her sudden fame and abundant wealth. Filmmakers and actors recall having to do countless retakes on set because Edie deliberately fluffed her lines, wanting to remain for as long as possible in the white-heat of the spotlight. Almost permanently tripped out on acid and heroin, and requiring a friend-nurse to administer drugshots into her bottom during day and night, she put her life repeatedly in the hands of others, and others - particularly filmmakers - took advantage of her. Her legacy is a confusing one: her death certificate reads "actress", her gravestone "wife", but she would seem to be remembered more for her excessive lifestyle and flamboyant sense of fashion than for the Warhol short films and her marriage to Michael Post. "There was something expressing itself through Edie which I could repond to," says John Anthony Walker towards the end of this biography. That ever-elusive something - her glamour? her problems? her boundaryless drugtaking? - which still draws us back to her over thirty-five years later, fascinated and perhaps repelled.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psychology of a tragic heroine, 27 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
It's funny how a person's childhood experiences can set a person up for success or failure as an adult. However, in the case of Edie Sedgwick, her failures as an adult were definitely unfunny. I loved that this book relied only on quotes from the people who had met/known her. Exceptional research into every stage of Edie's life to uncover people who experienced her in each incarnation and brilliant editing make this an extremely special biography. It is evident that the choices the adult Edie made which were ultimately destructive were foreshadowed by events in her childhood. I don't think it's necessary for you to be fascinated by the scenes Edie lived through to enjoy the book. If you approach this as a psychological study of an individual, it becomes mainstream reading, not just a pop-culture chronicle.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Edie: Life is in the details..?, 25 Nov 2005
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This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
I have just finished reading "Edie: American Girl" and I loved it. I must admit, that the first couple of chapters I found very hard going as they were mostly(if not entirely) about Edie's ancestors such as her Great great great grand uncle, as if we are interested? I bought this book as I wanted to read about Edie Sedgwick, not her geneology in its entirity. But once the book gets to the birth of Edie and her siblings, the book takes off. Family problems galore, glamourous college days, underground art fame and tragedy, all are present in the life of Edie and the book has wonderfully indepth accounts of various aspects of Edie and her life from friends and family which really do help you grasp a little of what Edie was like.
Worth the read (once you skip the first chapter or so, unless you particularly like American aristocratic family histories from the 18th-20th century).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly fascinating character, 17 Oct 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
Even though Edie only appears after about 200 pages, the rest of the book more than makes up for it. Very rarely do archetypes actually exist, but Edie was, at her peak, pure decadence. Almost more like a character in a novel than a real person, reading this book should disabuse anyone of the notion that living like Edie did was something worthwhile- she is truly best worshipped from afar.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbound, 24 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
Fantastic book. Told from a quirky angle, but is able to get opinions pinned down. Shows a neat look into the life of Edie and has some great side plots and stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 5 Mar 2014
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A tragic icon, abused from birth then brought into the clutches of the evil Warhol who plagiarized every credible artist he ever came in contact with. Bless you Edie.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read, 21 Jan 2013
It's hard to read about someone so self destructive and also held back in so many ways , if you have seen factory girl. Get this book and read the full account of the tragedy that was Edie Sedgwick ,the poor girl never had much of a chance really with a peadophile father and vampire like Andy Warhol have read this book so many times and always find something I missed. Hope she is now at peace
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stein shows us the brutal truth of American life., 12 Jun 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
The story of Edie Sedgwick is a refreshing eye-opener of the reality that, to the outside world, the ideal American family is not so ideal on the inside. With well-written honesty, Stein guides us through a life that was inspiring, fast-paced, short-lived and yet too amazing to be forgotten thirty years later. Stein brings to us a sense of how we want to see, or do see a piece of ourselves in Edie. A work of art in sea of confusion and change, we now know why she is remembered as an icon rather that an addict.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTY AND DECAY, 8 July 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
For an all too brief space of time Edie Sedgwick was the bright light of Andy Warhols' insular world of self proclaimed superstars.Beautiful, wealthy and emotionally troubled, her life of excitement and excess withered rapidly into debt, drug abuse and isolation. Discarded by the social glitterati when her instability became increasingly difficult to ignore, Edies' position as the girl of last year and eventual unremarked death stand as a scathing indictment of the fickleness of fame.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All wrapped in silver and gold, 28 Nov 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Edie: American Girl (Paperback)
Edie was a superstar of the Warhol factory and Vogue magazines girl of the year, she never fails to sparkle and fascinate with her glitter and poise.
A short life (sedgwick died at 28) she talks of her endless days and nights in mental homes as a teenager the death of her brother who she found hung in her room. She was given a drug called nebutol when she was a child whenever she got out of her mothers schedule.
She proceeded to live in excess of everything her extravagant spending and drug taking (she was introduced to drugs at the factory) even Andy Warhol once said he had never been to so many parties. A wonderful book with quotes from the people who knew her best. Engaged to Bob Dylan who left her before their wedding, this book is a must for anyone interested in the silver 60's or Edie one of the most fascinating people of the 20th century.
Edie, Manhattan will never be the same without you. Ciao baby
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Edie: American Girl
Edie: American Girl by Jean Stein (Paperback - 25 Aug 2000)
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