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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 23 February 2009
This is a wonderful book, hugely evocative of NYC in the 1960s. It is written as a life story that just happens to include a relationship with Bob Dylan, rather than as a my-life-with-Bob 'kiss-and-tell' memoir.

Suze is extremely respectful of others, and never writes anything bitter or unkind. That's not to say this is bland or sappy. Far from it: it's colourful, rich in detail and beautifully written. There's a lightness and freshness here that makes most books about this era seem cliched and uninspired.

Rotolo comes across as compassionate, funny, wise and philosophical. Great company, in other words.

If you have any interest in New York, the 1960s or Bob Dylan, you will enjoy this book. You certainly don't need to be a Dylan fan or to know his music to get a lot out of this.

Added later: sadly, Suze died on 25 February 2011. This book stands as a great tribute to her.
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VINE VOICEon 5 August 2009
This is a fascinating memoir. True, most will attracted by the links to Dylan (the title clearly exploits this connection) but there is so much more to the book than this.

In fact you should be able to enjoy this book even if you can't stand Dylan.

Suze Rotolo lived in a remarkable time, in a remarkable place amongst remarkable people. It is quite easy from the comfort of 2009 to forget just how different the world was in the late 50s/ early 60s.

Suze's generation believed it could change the world, and some of its aspirations may seem naïve now; but in fact they DID change the political, social and cultural attitudes of the entire planet.

Suze was at the centre of an incredibly creative and volatile "scene" in Greenwich Village. Her observations and memories, as a full participant, are insightful, intriguing and entertaining. She does go off into slightly bizarre flights of fancy occasionally, but this is a minor fault.

For anyone who wants to understand the transition from the essential conservatism of the 1950s West to the cultural changes and political freedoms established in the subsequent decade this book is essential reading.
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on 8 November 2015
I did not buy this book because of Bob Dylan but because I am interested in modern New York social and cultural history. In the end what I got was much more that that. Suze Rotolo's freewheelin' time does include tales and glimpses of Village boho life but is more about a young woman finding her voice and confidence amongst what often is a resistant male environment where the 60s revolution seems to be pretty one sided. Its a personal story but one includes the larger themes of the new left and modern feminism.
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on 24 August 2015
Probably like most people, I bought this book thinking about the insights I might get into Bob Dylan's early life, and there is indeed something to learn from her astute but tasteful observations, but Suze's own story proved to be at least as interesting as any of that. She shows great restraint, compassion, and understanding of many things, but it's perhaps sad that her own baggage proved too great a weight to manage to survive the Tsunami of Bob's fame when there was genuine love between them. Something lost to both people.
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on 23 May 2016
Good Book Gives an unbiased insight into the Greenwich Village scene in what must have been heady times indeed !
Anyone interested in late fifties/early sixties New York seen through the eyes of someone who experienced it all,
should simply read this book.
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VINE VOICEon 5 June 2010
Suze Rotolo is best known as Bob Dylan's girlfriend at the start of his career, but this memoir shows that there's so much more to her than that. It is clearly marketed as a bit of Dylanology, with the famous album cover photo of the couple on the front cover of the book, but it's as much a memoir of a young woman growing up and making a life for herself.

I enjoyed her portrait of the period. She was a red diaper baby - her parents were communists - and brought her up with a commitment to social change and justice and an ability to think for herself. By 17 she was living independently of her family and earning a living with a variety of casual jobs while pursuing her interests in art, reading, music etc.

Her relationship with Dylan lasted a few years though they only lived together briefly for various reasons. He also had affairs with others including a very public liaison with Joan Baez, and in the end they went through a slow and painful split. But this is no kiss and tell memoir - she writes about it all in a very dignified way.

There are also stories which have little to do with Dylan, such as her trip to Cuba with a group of students to test the US government ban on travel to Cuba. After this Rotolo became a bit disillusioned with the politics of her upbringing and of the New Left, and dropped out of political activity.

Recommended reading particularly if you're interested in the 60s, the music or the history of the American left.
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on 5 June 2016
This is a book written by someone a section of society we now call "celebrities". People who're famous on the back of someone else. In this case Bob Dylan. And it is a very disappointing book. I thought we might be given some very personal insight into living with the young Bob Dylan. Not so. The trivial references to Dylan were so bland and irrelevant. The only things I can recall of interest were a few minor details about clothing on album covers. She ends a chapter where she learns about Dylan's affair with Joan Baez. The next chapter goes into a completely different subject and we never learn of the fallout or recovery from the betrayal. The detail on Greenwich Village is pretty trivial and thin.I could moan on about how boring some parts of the book are but I'll not. I'll just say don't read it, it's not very good, interesting or entertaining.
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on 25 October 2009
I thought this was a brilliant book.
I love the line at the beginning where she says she aims to write a memoir of the time: 'It may not be factual, but it is true.'
The book lives up to that. It has all the fluidity of memory - and the fluidity of the time. So much wisdom and emotional understanding underpinning it all.
One reviewer on this site has said she was disappointed because it was too much about Suze Rotolo and not enough about Bob Dylan. But for me that was a great strength of the book. It was about the time, the place, the swirl of ideas. Dylan was part of that - but he wasn't the whole of it, far from it.
It's a superb book. Beautifully written.
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on 14 April 2011
This is a lovely book. An important book. It gave me some freedom. The trials and tribulations
of creative relationships is covered with insight and ultimately tender understanding. She got through
it and remained honest to herself which is what makes this such a good read. Suze Rotolo RIP
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on 26 December 2011
I think this is a great book. Some people were disappointed that it's more about Suze than about Bob, even though it's not advertised as being exclusively about Bob. Of course 90% of readers will pick up the book with a prior interest in Dylan, but if they persevere they will find her interesting in her own right, both as a repository and interpreter of history. I'd actually rate it above Sean Wilentz's academic tome on Dylan ('Bob Dylan in America') which is a more 'scholarly' work but he lacks her acuity and sense of atmosphere.
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