Picks and Pans Review: Edie

updated 08/16/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/16/1982 01:00AM

by Jean Stein, edited with George Plimpton

Edie Sedgwick was a Warhol pop icon of the '60s. "The first thing you ever knew about Edie was that she came from this truly remarkable and totally insane family in California." That's the way one of the 250 voices that tell this weird, neo-Gothic drama describes its centerpiece. If there is a villain, it's Edie's father, Francis Sedgwick. His family was old, old Stockbridge, Mass. Francis had a breakdown as a young man, married a wealthy woman and fathered eight children. Two of his sons, after painful episodes of mental illness, killed themselves. Edie, an anorexia victim who was astonishingly pretty, was afraid of men, became the darling . of a gay crowd in Cambridge, a model, an actress in a Warhol film (Ciao! Manhattan) and finally a victim of pills and hard drugs. She died at 28. This book took 10 years of interviewing, according to Stein, a friend of the Sedgwicks and sometime Paris Review writer. Plimpton was called in to help edit. The book is subtitled "An American Biography," but the Sedgwicks, especially Edie, were too odd for such a label. What this book reveals is a shocking, hauntingly detailed portrait of a particular lost young woman in a particular lost time and place. (Knopf. $ 16.95)

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