4 out of 4 stars
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Dylan & Me: 50 Years of Adventures, by Louie Kemp, is a biography that follows the story of Louie Kemp and Bobby Zimmerman, popularly known as Bob Dylan, from when they met each other at eleven years of age at Herzl Camp in northern Wisconsin in 1953 and through their fifty years of friendship and adventure. At that young age, Bob was already sure that he would become a rock-and-roll star, and while others didn't believe him, this was what attracted Louie to Bob. Their fun, daring, and down to earth nature were attributes they shared. As they grew older and life pulled them in different directions, the status of their friendship was always constant, and they usually found time to meet up, have fun, share experiences, create new memories, work together, and be there for each other.
While I'm not very familiar with many of Bob Dylan's songs, I have listened to a few like Melancholy Mood and Blowing in the Wind, and I, like many around the world, find his songs very relatable. So, a book offering details into the reserved, mysterious life of Bob Dylan is always welcome in my library.
The first thing I was attracted to in this book was the portrayal of Bob and Louie's friendship and how important it was in their lives. Using simple narrative writing in the first person, the author introduces us to the young versions of himself and Bob and their values of believing in themselves and always sticking up for the little guy or underdog. The author classes himself as a protector of his friends, which was evident in various parts of this story. Another key message I got from the book was on the importance of trust in friendships. This was displayed a lot of times, and my favorite was when Bob put the production of his tour (Rolling Thunder Revue) in Louie's hands and believed that Louie could pull it off even if Louie doubted at first due to his lack of experience. Readers will find that there are a lot of lessons to be learned from them on making and sustaining friendships.
Furthermore, the book is heavy on Jewish culture as Bob and Louie are Jews, and it was interesting to learn some new things about Judaism. It was even more interesting to see the influence of their spirituality on their lives. Bob also explores Christianity at some point. I also enjoyed reading about their tours and how Louie felt when he met various superstars like Rob Stoner, Sonny, and Cher. They got to travel to a lot of countries, and I would have liked a more detailed description of the environment in those countries.
Dylan & Me is very well edited, as I didn't find a single error throughout the book. This feature and the fast pace of the story ensured that I finished the book in two sittings. The book doesn't explore any controversies about Bob Dylan the superstar, but it comes across as an honest account of Bob's true personality, influences, and friendships. I enjoyed reading this book and decide to rate it 4 out of 4, as there isn't much to dislike about the book and it is well-executed overall. I would recommend this book to fans of Bob Dylan and biographies. The book is also appropriate for a younger audience.
Dylan & Me
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