A Freewheelin' Time by Suze Rotolo
A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties

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Synopsis

A Freewheelin’ Time is Suze Rotolo’s firsthand, eyewitness, participant-observer account of the immensely creative and fertile years of the 1960s, just before the circus was in full swing and Bob Dylan became the anointed ringmaster. It chronicles the back-story of Greenwich Village in the early days of the folk music explosion, when Dylan was honing his skills and she was in the ring with him.

A shy girl from Queens, Suze Rotolo was the daughter of Italian working-class Communists. Growing up at the start of the Cold War and during McCarthyism, she inevitably became an outsider in her neighborhood and at school. Her childhood was turbulent, but Suze found solace in poetry, art, and music. In Washington Square Park, in Greenwich Village, she encountered like-minded friends who were also politically active. Then one hot day in July 1961, Suze met Bob Dylan, a rising young musician, at a folk concert at Riverside Church. She was seventeen, he was twenty; they were young, curious, and inseparable. During the years they were together, Dylan was transformed from an obscure folk singer into an uneasy spokesperson for a generation.

Suze Rotolo’s story is rich in character and setting, filled with vivid memories of those tumultuous years of dramatic change and poignantly rising expectations when art, culture, and politics all seemed to be conspiring to bring our country a better, freer, richer, and more equitable life. She writes of her involvement with the civil rights movement and describes the sometimes frustrating experience of being a woman in a male-dominated culture, before women’s liberation changed the rules for the better. And she tells the wonderfully romantic story of her sweet but sometimes wrenching love affair and its eventual collapse under the pressures of growing fame.

A Freewheelin’ Time is a vibrant, moving memoir of a hopeful time and place and of a vital subculture at its most creative. It communicates the excitement of youth, the heartbreak of young love, and the struggles for a brighter future.
 

About Suze Rotolo

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Suze Rotolo (aka Susan) is an artist who lives in New York City with her family.
 
Published May 13, 2008 by Broadway Books. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Freewheelin' Time

Kirkus Reviews

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(A short anecdote about Charles Mingus, however, accurately portrays the jazz musician’s notoriously stormy temperament.) In language that is occasionally poetic, but more often bland and stilted, Rotolo meanders through her memories, stopping to comment on the endless procession of quirky charac...

May 13 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

The New York Times

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She attributes her messy breakup with Dylan, in part, to her inability to give an ambitious but increasingly beleaguered superstar the “committed backup and protection” he needed, “probably because I needed them myself.” (Dylan is more elliptical: “The alliance between Suze and me didn’t turn out...

Sep 05 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

The Guardian

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A Freewheelin' Time by Suze Rotolo Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop The holy grail for Dylan fans?

Sep 14 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

The Guardian

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Suze Rotolo is the girl with the wistful eyes and hint of a smile whose head is resting on the suede-jacketed shoulder of a nice-looking young man as they trudge through the snow on the cover of 1963's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

Sep 21 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

Publishers Weekly

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In July 1961, Rotolo, a shy 17-year-old from Queens, met an up-and-coming young folk singer named Bob Dylan at an all-day folk festival at Riverside Church in Manhattan, and her life changed forever.

Feb 11 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

New York Journal of Books

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Suze Rotolo, the daughter of Italian communists who immigrated to New York, grew up in Queens but soon found herself in the bohemian milieu of Greenwich Village.There, at 17 years old, she met a 20-year-old, transplanted Minnesotan, Robert Zimmerman, who had recently renamed himself Bob Dylan.

May 12 2009 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

AV Club

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Regardless of the contents of Suze Rotolo's A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir Of Greenwich Village In The Sixties, her four-year relationship with Bob Dylan will still be represented in the public imagination by her presence on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, where she hangs on the ...

May 21 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

Entertainment Weekly

There's no less promising strain of memoir than the ''I was that famous dude's girlfriend, 40 years ago'' book — so Suze Rotolo's account of her time with Bob Dylan is a delightful surprise.

May 09 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

Campus Circle

Rotolo is mostly remembered as the girl clutching the cherub faced Dylan’s arm mid-stride in that snowy Greenwich Village street on the cover of Dylan’s breakthrough second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Aug 27 2008 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

The Snipe News

We had something to say and believed that the times would definitely change.” – Suze Rotolo It is almost laughable, the crazy day-to-day of being a bohemian in New York at that time – accounts of parties, gigs and daily life with friends and acquaintances that included John Lee Hooker, Peter, Pa...

May 23 2010 | Read Full Review of A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir...

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