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Paperback Edie: American Girl Book

ISBN: 0802134106

ISBN13: 9780802134103

Edie: American Girl

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Book Overview

When Edie was first published, it quickly became an international bestseller and then took its place among the classic books about the 1960s. Edie Sedgwick exploded into the public eye like a comet. She seemed to have it all: she was aristocratic and glamorous, vivacious and young, Andy Warhol's superstar. But within a few years she flared out as quickly as she had appeared, and before she turned twenty-nine she was dead from a drug overdose. In a...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Biography of one of Andy Warhol's It Girls.

Back Cover - An American Dream - Her dazzling beauty lit up the neon nights. An American aristocrat, she sprang from wealth and timeless tradition. Girl of the Year, Youthquaker, her unique, evanescent image leapt from the pages of Vogue to inspire a generation. An American Tragedy - She was going where the action was. Society's darling, she became Warhol's Superstar, Queen of the Underground Art and Fashion World. She was everything we wanted to be at a moment when all the rules were being broken - when it was everything to be young and beautiful and free. Then the lights began to dim, the nights turned dark, and she became a legend - the legend of a darkly troubled time. Dead at 28 of a barbiturate overdose. I enjoyed this book - it is the story of Edie Sedgewick's life told in a series of interviews with people she knew. Edie lived during the 60's & was one of Andy Warhol's protegees - she starred in several of the low budget films he made at the factory. She also dated Bob Dillon at one time. This book gives you insight to what it was like to live life in the fast lane (and die young) during this time. I have heard a movie is being made about Edie's life - hope that's true because I would love to see it.

Comprehensive and Fascinating

American Girl traces Sedgwick's ascent to counterculture fame, from her pampered childhood in California to her forays into film and modeling. Compiled interviews with her relatives, lovers, and friends trace the lineage of an entire family, re-create the "Silver Sixties" and provide an exhaustive account of Edie's life. The Sedgwicks were an old-time wealthy family; Judge Theodore Sedgwick, "a political ally of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington," was Speaker of the House following the American Revolution. His descendants have been illustrious All-American lawyers, magnates, artists and actors - all beautiful and, it seems, all in serious emotional turmoil. Edie was brought up in a fabulously luxurious but dysfunctional household. Her Cambridge classmates describe Edie's destructive relationship with her sculptor father, Francis "Duke" Sedgwick. In an attempt to resist Duke's stranglehold, Edie fled to New York at 19. There, she joined the pop art crowd and was Andy Warhol's muse from 1965 until 1966, when she left the Factory to pursue mainstream acting. She had, by all accounts, a marvelous screen presence, but in the end her acting career materialized solely in the inventive but forgettable 1972 release Ciao! Manhattan. Following her failed attempt at movie stardom, Edie died at 28 of a barbiturate overdose. She never fulfilled her promise as a model, actress, or clothing designer - any of which, according to American Girl, she had the resources and potential to be. Sedgwick burst upon the art scene as an actress of great promise, only to die young as another drug casualty. Like many of her contemporaries, Edie faded away before burning out. Stein's book also includes fascinating first-hand accounts of the social circles Sedgwick moved in. Interviews with members of America's elite upper class, the Factory crowd, and Edie's friends in a biker commune provide vivid descriptions of people and communities that have since changed drastically or ceased to exist. Stein warns readers that "Edie kept us all in different compartments," and that is accurate. Interviewees describe her alternately as cold and manipulative, loving and childlike, brilliant and boring. But whether readers consider Edie compelling or just another pretty face, American Girl provides insight on subcultures of wealthy moguls, starving artists, and everyone in between.

Faery Child

The oral history form is perfect for "Edie" little-girl-lost, who streaked across the '60's horizon like a falling star. Despite her grace, fragile beauty and charisma; Edie Sedgewick was almost born to be doomed even before the drugs did her in.She was born into a wealthy old family that had a history of instability. Her father, also breathtakingly beautiful, had crushing psychological problems. Two of her brothers committed suicide. Her mother was ineffectual with her large brood. She was raised on an isolated ranch with her seven siblings with almost no contact with the outside world. When she hit Cambridge at 18, she was pathetically ill equipped to be in the larger world.I couldn't agree more that she found herself in the midst of horribly decadent people. Andy Warhol gets a particularly bad rap in this book, but to me, he was no better nor worse than his hangers-on, just a shade more self-absorbed. What really saddened me was that I don't think it really mattered who Edie took up with. She was destined to spin out of control. She had no focus, no inner strength, and was dangerously self-centered and delusionary. "Edie" is compelling reading whether or not you have experienced the '60's. It is good to keep in mind that Edie herself and the contributors to the book all were a part of a very small stratum that whistled through this confusing decade. They were no more representative of the rank and file than Emmerin is representative of this decade.Such a lovely child, such a terrible waste.

Psychology of a tragic heroine

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.

Disturbing/fascinating look at a lost soul in pop-era NYcity

As a small-town west coast preteen in the 60s and self-absorbed teen in the 70s I was peripherally aware of the "pop" scene in New York City (mostly from my mother shaking her head over the photos and stories in "Life" magazine). When "Edie" was published I ran across it in a book club review and it just sounded intriguing. I ended up reading "Edie" so many times the cover practically fell off. Then a few years ago it mysteriously vanished from my bookshelves -- did I lend it to someone who was as morbidly fascinated as I by the tragic rise and fall of "Warhol's little queen" (as the Cult song says)??? One thing's for sure: Edie was a victim of Warhol's astounding ego -- or madness -- sucked into the black hole of his twisted little soul. Of course, she came from a long line of borderline personalities in a high-society family. The excesses of the 60s were absolutely the end of the road -- or rope -- for many of these types. As one who "missed" the whole self-indulgent and uncontrolled scene, after reading "Edie" I finally realized that I'm much better off having just read about those times. It's a real collage of that generation's high-fliers and fringe dwellers that will not cease to amaze. So why am I writing this review now? I just heard the song I referred to earlier, the Cult's "Edie," and I am now ordering a new copy of the book. Plimpton's word-of-mouth writing style brings the viewpoints of so many people who were there it's like theater in the round, or something -- you see and experience the scene from every angle. You don't hear just from the heads and freaks, you hear from the spectrum of New York's inhabitants, plus many of Edie's kinfolk. I recommend the book to anyone who likes to see how the stranger half live and who wants to experience the story-book coming of age and final degradation of a fragile, lovely girl who was caught in the sordid vortex of the pop culture.

Edie: American Girl Mentions in Our Blog

Edie: American Girl in Days of Distance Learning and Dreaming
Days of Distance Learning and Dreaming
Published by Terry Fleming • March 20, 2020
"It was a scene both heartbreaking and inspiring—the sight of my daughter on her computer on a group chat with her 4th grade English teacher and several of her classmates." Schools all over the country are coming to terms with a new normal, e-learning for kids, meaning they and their caregivers need to make home both work and playground. Terry is facing that himself right now and shares his experience in this blog.
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