As It Turns Out
Thinking About Edie and Andy
by Alice Sedgwick Wohl
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Pub Date 16 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 20 Oct 2022
The story of the model, actress, and American icon Edie Sedgwick is told by her sister with empathy, insight, and firsthand observations of her meteoric life.
As It Turns Out is a family story. Alice Sedgwick Wohl is writing to her brother Bobby, who died in a motorcycle accident in 1965, just before their sister Edie Sedgwick met Andy Warhol. After unexpectedly coming across Edie’s image in a clip from Warhol’s extraordinary film Outer and Inner Space, Wohl was moved to put her inner dialogue with Bobby on the page in an attempt to reconstruct Edie’s life and figure out what made Edie and Andy such iconic figures in American culture. What was it about Andy that enabled him to anticipate so much of contemporary culture? Why did Edie draw attention wherever she went? Who exactly was she, who fascinated Warhol and captured the imagination of a generation?
Wohl tells the story as only a sister could, from their childhood on a California ranch and the beginnings of Edie’s lifelong troubles in the world of their parents to her life and relationship with Warhol within the silver walls of the Factory, in the fashionable arenas of New York, and as projected in the various critically acclaimed films he made with her. As Wohl seeks to understand the conjunction of Edie and Andy, she writes with a keen critical eye and careful reflection about their enduring impact. As It Turns Out is a meditation addressed to her brother about their sister, about the girl behind the magnetic image, and about the culture she and Warhol introduced.
"As It Turns Out is a revelation. Alice Sedgwick Wohl reveals herself to be a remarkably talented writer who, with finely turned sentences and lyric passages, paints an unforgettable picture of the strange and singular childhood that produced both herself and her sister Edie Sedgwick . . . Wohl shrewdly analyses the unlikely but perfect partnership between Edie and Andy. Edie and Alice’s vast Santa Barbara ranch, in which appearances were everything, corresponded perfectly with Warhol’s vision of an art in which under the surface of everything there was only more surface." —Alexander Stille, author of The Force of Things
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 8 members
A thought provoking look at the life of Edie Sedgwick by her sister Alice Sedgwick Wohl.
Raised one of eight children by controlling, parents on a Santa Barbara ranch, Edie’s family was one of wealth and social status whose environs were the polar opposite of what was to come.
As a teenager, she caught her father in an extramarital affair which led to her father labeling her as crazy. Placing a call to a doctor, he arrived at the home, placed her in bed and administered tranquilizers beginning her lifelong troubled path and extreme vulnerability.
Alice’s reconstruction of Edie’s life is one of wonderment, research and thoughtful commenting. She desires to understand the who, why and what that captivated Andy Warhol to bring Edie into his orbit. What made them a celebrity pairing? As a model and actress of Warhol films, she became an icon with her meteoric rise that unfortunately ended in her untimely death at the age of 28 from a drug overdose.
Alice unveils her sister with accounts from Factory members that provides the depth and breadth of her life in New York City and her post-Warhol world following her estrangement from Andy, his circle and her downward spiral.
This is a highly recommended read.
My thanks to NetGalley, the author and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review.
I am really interested in anything related to Andy Warhol and the Factory Scene (including recent documentaries). I also read the Jean Stein book on Edie Sedgwick so was very intrigued when I saw this book written by Edie's older sister, Alice. At first I was surprised because I was many pages in before Edie is even mentioned (when she is born) - however, Alice's story is fascinating in its own right so I was not at all disappointed. Alice had extensive access to others in the Factory who knew Edie and so we get a wider perspective on Edie's life. She even sets the record straight on some of the assertions raised by Jean Stein (who she knew when she was younger). I enjoyed reading this book and learning about Alice and Edie and their family. I recommend this book.
Alice Sedgwick Wohl’s book is a kind of revelation for those of us who don’t know anyone who was alive during the 1960s and stayed Artsy Enuff to be here in the 2020s and confused by Instagram. Wohl doesn’t think Edie Sedgwick would have one?! This is why it’s important to listen to yr elders! Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC - we will purchase this title at my library and it will have a good time on its ILL journey from all the burnt-out glamour grrl geniuses it gets to visit.
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