Born into a wealthy New England family. Edie Sedgwick became, in the 1960s, both an emblem of, and a memorial to, the doomed world spawned by Andy Warhol. Edie was outrageous, vulnerable and strikingly beautiful. Her childhood was dominated by a brutal but glamorous father. Fleeing to New York, she became an instant celebrity, known to everyone in the literary, artistic and fashionable worlds of the day. She was Warhol’s twin soul, his creature, the superstar of his films and, finally, the victim of a life which he created for her. Edie is an American fable on an epic scale - the story of a short, crowded and vivid life which is also the story of a decade.
Author: Jean Stein is an American author born into a Jewish family in 1934 in Los Angeles, California. Jean has worked as an editor for a number of magazines, including “The Paris Review” and “Esquire”. She is co-author, with George Plimpton, of “American Journey: The Times of Robert Kennedy” and in 1990 she became the editor of the literary journal “Grand Street”, until it ceased publication in 2004. It was described by The New York Times as “one of the most revered literary magazines of the postwar era”.
Author: George Plimpton was born on March 18, 1927 in New York City and he died in September 2003 at 76 years. George was an author, an actor and a literary patron. In 1953 he co-founded “The Paris Review” and published many books, including “Truman Capote” and “The Bogey Man”, to name but a few.
My thoughts: I’m so excited to talk to you about Edie, I mean about a book devoted to her short, intense and chaotic life. In the life of Edie there has been worldwide success and fatal degradation. Even though Edie was surrounded by a huge group of friends, acquaintances and members of her large family, she felt alone and unloved.
Edie was the muse of the great artist Andy Warhol - a character I call opportunist and who was described as a manipulator by many members of The Factory.
The Factory was an artists’ studio opened by Andy Warhol in 1964 and located in New York. It was used for the production of Warhol’s pop art works, the making of films and concerts and many party celebrations were held there too.
Returning to Edie, she felt a great emptiness in her life which drove her to get lost in the world of the night: alcohol, parties and drugs, lots of hard drugs. She died prematurely at the age of 28 years from an overdose of barbiturates. Strangely, Edie always knew she wouldn’t live long, according to her close friends. A gipsy, she said, read her palm and told her she had a short lifeline.
Edie had loneliness as an enemy. That came from her childhood as one of many offspring of one of the most prestigious rich and successful old American families: the Minturns, the Forests, the Sedgwicks.
She grew up with her many siblings on the family ranch where she never really felt at home. As a young teenager she was interned in an institution for anorexia. There were rumours of incest involving her father. The family lived in a closed circle, and always displayed a happy air, a facade. Knowing the self destructive fate reserved for some members of Edie’s family, one understands that there was a great lack of love.
In short, (if not I will write a thousand pages... hahaha...), I would say that this book is very rich in details of the American society of the sixties. We also learn about pop culture. This richly documented biography tells us historical facts about the USA, since Edie’s family was strongly linked to the history of the United States of America.
It is written in a pertinent and sincere way with the intervention and testimonies of people who worked at the Factory and members of her family, including a historian.
Edie moved me: a shy, generous, naive girl, very intelligent and gifted in the arts and terribly touching with huge black eyes and a bewitching regard... that’s how I perceive her. In addition to being the greatest model of all time, Edie created, rather than followed fashion. Her trademarks: dark eye make-up, large earrings, black opaque tights, a touch of glitter and all that enhanced by her natural grace. Her full name was Edith Minturn Sedgwick, she was born in Santa Barbara on April 20, 1943 and died on November 15, 1971.
It goes without saying that I loved this book, which is more than just a biography. I read it twice in August 2007 and 2012. “When we love, we don’t count” as we say over here!