Robert's Reviews > Edie: American Girl

Edie by Jean Stein
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's review
Mar 10, 13

bookshelves: nonfiction, biography, own, new-york, boston, california, drugs, 1960s
Read from July 06 to 08, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

Until June 2001, I never had heard of Edie Sedgwick. Right after the school year finished, I took off for a week to Pittsburgh and Cleveland for some baseball games. One day in Pittsburgh I visited the Warhol Museum. What a wonderful place!

While there, there was an exhibit all about Edie. I was mesmerized. Truly. What a fun-loving gal. I purchased this book there. I've yet to read it. :(
It was June 2001 when I traveled to Pittsburgh then to Cleveland and back to the steel town. My purpose was to see baseball games. I think I was unaware of the Warhol Museum until I arrived, but I am not certain. What I do know is I spent all day in that museum.

There was an exhibit about Edie going on. I had never heard of Edie until then. I had an interest in Warhol particularly after seeing the exhibit at MOMA shortly after his death, but didn't know a whole lot about him.

Edie stole the show. They played her movies made at The Factory. I don't know if all were played, but I definitely recall the restaurant. I was mesmerized.

It seems to me Edie affected me then just like she affected everyone she encountered. She drew you in. I needed to know more about this stunning woman; that is why I purchased this book. Back to real life, I guess the intrigued wore off because there it sat for 11 years before I got around to reading it.


That's what Edie's life comes down to. A spoiled rich girl, vapid of thought seeking fame. It's no wonder she hooked up with Warhol. When that was lost, into a junkie's death spiral she slipped until she lost the battle.

Reading this was very much like watching the proverbial car accident knowing the outcome waiting for the details.

Edie wasn't important. Edie was merely another lost soul. The difference is that she had her 15 minutes so someone took the time to write about it.

The book is interestingly composed. Two hundred fifty people were interviewed. The transcripts were passed off to George Plimpton who edited them into a story. I've never read such a composition before. It's an odd construction but not one I would completely dismiss.

There was a lot of Sedgwick history presented initially. It became apparent fairly early on that that was necessary to understand the mental anguish that plagued the storyline. Father was vapid as his children were. A controlling incestuous horn-toad, he is blamed for the death of three of his children (including Edie) at early ages. While his presence/dominance was big, to absolve the others of responsibility for their actions particularly Edie, is ludicrous.

This is a story of a drug addict, plain and simple. She came from wealth, which she exploited. She dabbled in fame, which she relished. But she died at 28 of self abuse.

While I was compelled to read this and kept at it even after I found it was to be a lost-soul story, I found details lacking. My initial interest (and most people's approaching this book) is that of The Factory. Yet, I didn't find much that was really discussed about Edie there. Sure, we learned about Warhol and the cast of characters of The Factory. But when it came to what Edie did there, we really only got generalities and some tidbits about a couple of the movies. It was clear that the story was going to press beyond quickly. And frankly, the next scene was sparse as well, telling of the affair with Dylan only superficially.

But in a way, I guess it is fitting that the story is told in this manner because Edie was merely superficial.

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Reading Progress

07/07/2012 page 82
15.0% "Interesting biography as it told through changing interviews. So far, the history of the Sedgwick family. Pretentious and mentally unstable. No wonder Edie was doomed, which I suppose is the purpose of this background."
07/08/2012 page 188
33.0% "I'm approaching halfway and we're just getting to the Edie part of the story. I suppose it is good to have all this background for it definitely explains why she was like was. Confirmed that Edie was most likely the inspiration for Dylan's "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat". Keep thinking she was a lot like Holly Golightly, but she arrived in NYC well after Capote's novella."

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