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Social Science Popular Culture

The Time of My Life

Dirty Dancing

by (author) Andrea Warner

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2024
Popular Culture, History & Criticism, Women's Studies, Guides & Reviews
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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An engaging exploration into the enduring popularity of Dirty Dancing and its lasting themes of feminism, activism, and reproductive rights

When Dirty Dancing was released in 1987, it had already been rejected by producers and distributors several times over, and expectations for the summer romance were low. But then the film, written by former dancer Eleanor Bergstein and starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze as a couple from two different worlds, exploded. Since then, Dirty Dancing’s popularity has never waned. The truth has always been that Dirty Dancing was never just a teen romance or a dance movie — it also explored abortion rights, class, and political activism, with a smattering of light crime-solving.

In The Time of My Life, celebrated music journalist Andrea Warner excavates the layers of Dirty Dancing, from its anachronistic, chart-topping soundtrack, to Baby and Johnny’s chemistry, to Bergstein’s political intentions, to the abortion subplot that is more relevant today than ever. The film’s remarkable longevity would never have been possible if it was just a throwaway summer fling story. It is precisely because of its themes — deeply feminist, sensitively written — that we, over 30 years later, are still holding our breath during that last, exhilarating lift.

About the Pop Classics Series

Short books that pack a big punch, Pop Classics offer intelligent, fun, and accessible arguments about why a particular pop phenomenon matters.

About the author

Andrea Warner (she/her) writes and talks. A lot. She's the author of Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography and We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the '90s and Changed Canadian Music. She's the co-writer and associate producer of the 2022 documentary Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On and co-hosts the the weekly feminist pop culture podcast Pop This!. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

Andrea Warner's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“It’s a fun commentary on an enduring pop culture touchstone.” — Publishers Weekly

“When Dirty Dancing showed up on cable, I watched it only half-heartedly, but Andrea Warner’s The Time of My Life brilliantly explains how wrong I was. With memoir, music criticism, reception theory, and feminist politics, she foregrounds how vital a movie this was and especially (but not only) how its depiction of abortion and bodily autonomy has today become even more radical.” — Steacy Easton, critic and author of Why Tammy Wynette Matters and Daddy Lessons

“Andrea Warner is a gift to pop culture commentary, and The Time of My Life is even more proof. Through her rich and thoughtful analysis, Warner reminds us that Dirty Dancing is more than a love story, it’s an absolute triumph, just like this book.” — Anne T. Donahue, author of Nobody Cares

“I had the time of my life reading Andrea’s smart, funny, and insightful take on Dirty Dancing. Meticulously researched, this book expertly explains how Dirty Dancing is more than just a dance film or a love story. Like Baby, this book should never be put in a corner.” — Lisa Whittington-Hill, author of Girls, Interrupted

“What Andrea Warner has achieved here is masterful: taking an iconic cultural touchstone and inviting readers into a timeless conversation on how it marked not only her own life, but also our collective hearts. The Time of My Life is heartbreaking and sweet, thoughtful and radical.” — Niko Stratis, culture writer

“If you are a fan of Dirty Dancing and its significantly timeless story, this book is for you.” — The British Columbia Review

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