Dylan’s Chronicles a pop-culture biography

Amy Barrick

Amy Barrick

Bob Dylan, considered the spokesman of a generation, didn’t like to do much talking – at least not about himself. His love and talent for folk music escalated him to great fame during a time when America was in protest, and his songs were considered the expression of restless American youth. This is the version of Bob Dylan that is widely accepted in our culture. Bob Dylan the cultural icon, however, differs greatly from Bob Dylan the man, and Dylan introduces readers to his personal self in his autobiography Chronicles: Volume One.

Although Dylan’s music was most popular before many of today’s college students were born, his music remains popular among young and older listeners alike. With his music, he painted pictures of the world around him, telling the stories of everyday people.

Like his music, his writing invites audience to see life the way he did. He adds an interesting perspective to the events that happened in his life. What he considered the highlights of his life and career are not the same events that were hyped up in the media or what one might expect to see in any other book about Bob Dylan. He instead focuses on points in his life where he had small and great epiphanies, and parts of his life that shaped his music and ideas. He also mentions some of his greatest musical influences and some of his songwriting methods, and describes his love of music as a way to tell stories and express ideas.

Dylan’s writing is very accessible and engaging. He insists that he is a simple family man from Minnesota who simply loved folk music. A large portion of his career, he writes, was spent trying to shake his image as the spokesman of his generation. He cringed when one announcer said, “Take him, he’s yours” while he was being introduced.

Dylan does a great job in this autobiography, as in his music, of bringing characters to life and telling their stories as well. The book is not written in chronological order, but instead printed in five different sections, each representing one part of his life or career. This causes the book to focus on individual events rather than his entire life at once.

Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One is the first in a series of self-penned books about his life. Volume One is supposed to be the most autobiographical of them all and the rest focus on different aspects of his music, life and his career.