Monday, March 7, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: John Lennon: The Life



For someone of his stature, it's fairly shocking that there is so much conflicting information and misinformation about John Lennon. Certainly, John Lennon: The Beatle has been written about, dissected, and analyzed endlessly over the past fifty-plus years. But in terms of an overall look at his life, there weren't any worthy biographies of him for a very long time. There have been several inferior books written, and then there are books like the controversial and almost farcically fictional dross that is Albert Goldman's The Lives of John Lennon which appeared in 1988, or Ray Coleman's unsatisfying hero-worshipping book John Lennon: The Definitive Biography. It wasn't until Philip Norman's 2009 book John Lennon: The Life, that a definitive (though still not perfect) biography of this very complex and complicated man was finally published.




Philip Norman, who himself interviewed the Fab Four twice in the 1960s, is no stranger to Beatles and rock music fans. He's the author of the widely acclaimed (and, in my view overrated) Beatles biography, Shout!, as well as many rock and musician biographies. His Mick Jagger biography was reviewed here on this site a while ago, and I've been eagerly awaiting his upcoming Paul McCartney biography for several years since I first heard about it (it's due out in May 2016). However, his Lennon book may be his most important insofar as it aims to peel back the layers behind the private and public personas John developed over the years in order to examine who the real man truly was underneath it all. As he describes in the afterword, Norman initially approached Yoko Ono in 2003 with a mind to write an authorized biography (with the proviso from Yoko that it wouldn't actually be called authorized) about John and was given unprecedented access to Yoko and Sean Lennon, John's relatives in England, family archives, and his closest friends and associates, including Sir George Martin and Sir Paul McCartney. His goal was to write the most honest account of Lennon's life, although as he relates further on in the afterword, it was perhaps too honest an account as, when presented with the final manuscript, Yoko revoked her stamp of approval because she did not like the way her marriage to John was portrayed and thought Norman was "too mean" to John. As a lifelong Beatles and Lennon fan who nonetheless finds the whitewashing of his life (especially post-Beatles) and hagiography of the man maddening, I actually took this as a good sign and decided to give this book a fresh re-reading for the review you're now reading.





Philip Norman starts his biography of John Lennon at the very beginning, by which I don't mean John's birth in 1940 Liverpool, but rather his grandfather John "Jack" Lennon in 1800s Ireland. Tracing the ancestry on the Lennon side of the family in a way no one until Mark Lewisohn did in 2013, Norman shows how music and performing were in John's blood. Digging into the lives of John's parents, Alfred ("Alf" or "Freddie") and Julia, Norman really examines John's childhood in deep detail, using information from John's various aunts, uncles, cousins, and step-sisters to show that it was equally more loving and more traumatic than had been previously thought. The truth of how he had to choose between his mother and father on a fateful day in Blackpool in 1946, as well as his relationship with his Aunt Mimi (who raised him) and his strange, almost sibling-like relationship with his mother Julia is all examined. The Lennon side of John's family, which to this point had been all but ignored, is given equal weight and finally, the truth of Freddie Lennon's role in John's early childhood and his relationship with his famous son throughout the years is brought to light. More interestingly is the evidence Norman uncovered showing that there was a strange and taboo sexual tension between John and his mother that, along with her sudden and untimely death in 1958, haunted and inspired his life and music for the rest of his life. The bulk of the book is a parallel Beatles biography as it examines John's life in the most detail from the moment he meets Paul McCartney in 1957 through the Beatles break-up in 1970. While it mainly focuses on John during these years, there's also a healthy look at the other three Beatles, Brian Epstein, and George Martin. However, the author does a good job shedding more light on John's first marriage to Cynthia, his presence (or lack thereof) as father to his first son Julian, and how his attitudes toward stardom and life changed as the 1960s wore on. Perhaps the most interesting, but also most exasperating, segment of the book is the period from 1968 when he took up with Yoko Ono through to the end of his life in 1980. It's interesting because of the light it sheds on the inner workings of their relationship, both personally and professionally, and the candor with which Yoko discusses it; it's exasperating because even though John contradicted himself and changed his mind as often as he changed his socks in the 1960s, his causes and attitudes jumped all over the place during the 1970s. Also, I've never been able to reconcile his revolutionary attitudes during that decade with the privileged and sheltered millionaire lifestyle he led, and this book only throws those contradictions into even more stark relief.



While I think that this is the best Lennon biography available, there are a few things that keep it from being perfect. There are a lot of very minor (but still noticeable) typos, at least in the paperback edition I have, which shouldn't have gotten past a good editor. There are also a few minor factual errors scattered throughout, but nothing too glaring. Along these same lines, while the Beatles were obviously a huge part of John's life, I felt that the book spent too much time on them overall...the book is 800 or so pages long and it didn't get to the Beatles' split until around page 625. Seeing as the decade following the Beatles era was just as interesting and eventful for John, and certainly more controversial, the book suffered from the same thing that Norman's Jagger book did: the final years of both subjects' lives felt rushed and crammed into too few pages.  On the plus side, the rampant anti-McCartney bias from Norman's Shout! is mostly gone...apart from a few mentions of Paul's "big brown eyes" and some subtle swipes at his charisma and people-pleasing personality, Norman does indeed acknowledge Paul's titanic talent and his essential contributions to the Lennon/McCartney partnership. Likewise, George and Ringo are treated much more fairly than in Shout!, while John's Aunt Mimi is presented as a tough, unaffectionate, but loving guardian who was the closest family member to John throughout his life, and the one person whose acceptance mattered more to him than anyone else's to the end of his life. What's confusing to me is how Yoko can claim that she and John were "treated meanly," as described in Norman's afterword. Were they presented as perfect saints? Absolutely not. But neither were they demonized or portrayed in a negative light ala Goldman's putrid book. In my opinion, they and their marriage, activism, art, and rather odd lifestyle were presented factually and accurately, warts and all. If there was one slightly shocking thread running throughout the book, it was the repeated evidence that John, while not homosexual, certainly was curious about it, if not from a carnal point of view than at the very least as an intellectual curiosity.  Norman bases this on quotes not only from associates of John's throughout the years, but Yoko herself. Interesting, and something I wouldn't have even considered given his well-known insatiable sex drive and numerous female/groupie conquests over the course of the Beatles years.




The book ends with a chapter written based on an extensive interview the author had with John's younger son, called "Sean Remembers." It's quite touching as Sean not only discusses his limited memories of his father (who was murdered when Sean was only five years old), but how the legacy of his father has loomed in his life, both personally and professionally. It's a fine way to end the book and gives a nice sense of closure, especially as the final two paragraphs of the book which describe John's death give the main text an unsatisfying and abrupt ending. While John Lennon: The Life isn't perfect, it's a damn good book and the most enjoyable, interesting, and readable biography of John that I've read. Since it was originally the Yoko Ono-authorized book on Lennon before it wasn't, and taking into account all of the access Philip Norman was given to source material and people because of this official approval (before it was revoked), its already strong case as the definitive look at Lennon's life is only bolstered further. It's essential reading for any Beatles and Lennon fan, although if you're a member of the Cult of Lennon, it will definitely open your eyes as to all of the accompanying faults he had alongside his virtues. But if you're a true fan of the man, you'd know that he was all too aware that he was human like the rest of us and that he wouldn't want to be portrayed any other way than how he is in this book: real.

MY RATING: 8/10 




















18 comments:



  1. I haven't read this book, but I first read the excellent,empathetic book,Lennon by award winning music journalist and former Melody Maker editor Ray Coleman in 1985, a few years ago I got the updated version,and I still believe it's the most accurate and the most to be trusted.




    Ray met John as an early Beatle in 1962,and he remained good friends with John right till the end, and he spent a lot of time with him and interviewed him over these 18 years. He does report John's bad sides and behavior,but he also knew and reports his good sides and qualities and he totally understands John and how he was psychologically damaged by the traumas in his childhood and teens and how he worked on himself and changed for the better especially during his last 5 years of his life. He says in the introduction,that to know John was to love him,Phillip Norman never really knew John and wasn't a friend!



    Also if Philip Norman did such a ''good job'' on this John biography,then why do quite a few people say in reviewing it that John was a horrible insensitive person and that reading the book made them hate John!? Like this review on Barnes and Noble.com titled,A good Read But Drags On, that says that John was a horrible insensitive person and that he made fun of black,gay,and mentally and physically disabled people(this was when John was a *very young psychologically messed up guy*!),and said he deserved to survive the bullets and be a brain damaged quadriplegic!



    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/john-lennon-philip-norman/1100555558?ean=9780060754020#reviews-header >:D :-X (puke)



    It's very obvious that Philip Norman writes a lot of sensationalism a lot that isn't even true to sell his books! He's probably going to do the same thing with his new Paul biography too unfortunately.

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  2. John Lennon is a great example of people can change and are not fixed to be a certain way as a man or a woman.Yoko changed John into a much better person as a pro-feminist man and the feminist changes *are* for the better, and many pro-feminist men have recognized this too! They say it has freed them and allowed them to develop and express more of all of the shared common *human* traits,emotions,behaviors,abilities and reduce and prevent male violence against women and children etc. Definitions of "masculine" and "feminine" differ across time periods, and in different societies.




    John Lennon is a great example of how feminism changing limited artificial gender definitions and roles,changed him for the much better. John as a child and teenager had a lot of traumas that permanently psychologically damaged him,but because of his and Yoko's beautiful loving relationship,and as he said she was a feminist before he met her,(and he said that because she was a feminist before he met her,they were going to have to have a 50/50 equal relationship which he never had before) he went in to primal scream therapy and Yoko went with him and he dealt with all of his pain and anger for the very first time at age 29.




    When John was a young guy,he was often drunk getting into fist fights with men,hitting women,and womanizing including cheating on his girlfriends and then his first wife Cynthia.Of course Paul,George and Ringo did the same with all of the groupies all 4 of them had while touring from 1963-1966. I hadn't watched these Mike Douglas shows in years until December 2010 when it was the 30th anniversary of John's tragic crazy murder.




    Out of the 5 Mike Douglas shows that John and Yoko co-hosted for a week that was taped in January 1972 and aired in February,a young criminal lawyer Rena Uviller(she went on to become a Supreme Court Judge) who worked with juveniles was on, and she,Mike Douglas,John and Yoko were discussing the then very recent women's liberation movement. George Carlin was on too.





    Rena said,she agrees with Yoko,that the idea of Women's lib is to liberate all of us,and she said ,I mean we could talk hours on the way men really suffer under the sex role definitions.Yoko agreed with what she said too. Rena said that men don't really realize they have only to gain from Women's Lib,and that she thinks that maybe with a little more propaganda we can convince them.




    John then said,yeah there is a lot to gain from it,just the fact that you can relax and not have to play that male role,he said we can do that,and he said that I can be weak,( but notice how then in a male dominated gender divided,gender stereotyped,sexist society,and even unfortunately still now in a lot of ways,the "female" role was defined as the weak one,and the male role as the strong one) I don't have to protect her all the time and play you know that super hero,I don't have to play that,she allows me to be weak sometimes and for me to cry,and for her to be the strong one,and for me to be the weak one. John then said,and it really is a great relief,after 28 years of trying to be tough,you know trying to show them,I don't give a da*n and I'm this and I'm that,to be able to relax.and just be able to say,OK I'm no tough guy forget it.





    Rena then said,I think in some funny way,I think girls even as children,have a greater lattitude because a little girl can be sort of frilly and feminine or she can be a tomboy and it's acceptable,but a little boy if he's not tossing that football,there's a lot of pressure on him.John said,there's a lot of pressure,not to show emotion,and he said that there was a lot of pressure on me not to be an artist,to be a chemist and he said he discussed this on another Mike Douglas episode.














































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  3. Rena said that unfortunately some of the leaders in the Women's Liberation movement fall victim to being spokesmen,for Women's Lib, and yet at least in public personality they seem to really have a certain amount of contempt for the hair curled housewife and there is a kind of sneering contempt,and she said I think it's a measure of their own lack of liberation.And Yoko said it's snobbery,and Rena said yeah,they really don't like other women,but I'm sympathetic,and Mike Douglas then said a sexist woman-hating statement,saying,well women don't like other women period.Rena said,no see that's very unliberated and Yoko said, in response to what Mike Douglas said,that's not true,that's not true.And John said,you see they are brought up to compete with men.




    Yoko said that even though in Japan they say they don't have much of a woman problem and women already had some liberation,there is still a long way to go that she really agrees with Rena that so many female liberation movement people basically hate women,and we have to first start to understand women and love them whether they are housewives or not,and she said that snobbery is very bad and we have to somehow find out a way to co-existing with men,and she asked Rena don't you think so and she said most definitely. George Carlin said,that actually many successful women are acting out male roles just like a lot of blacks think they escaped are acting out white roles.John also said that he thinks that women have to try twice as hard as to make it as men,and he said you know they have to be on their toes much more than a man.





    On another Mike Douglas episode from the same week,former actress and acclaimed film maker Barbara Loden was on and Yoko had requested her as a guest.John asked her ,Did you have any problems working with the men,you know like giving them instructions and things like that and Barbara said,I did, but I think it was because I was afraid that they would not accept what I said,and I wasn't quite that authoritative in my own self.John said it's certainly a brave thing to do,and Yoko said it is.





    Mike Douglas asked Yoko if John's attitude had changed much towards her since The Female Liberation Movement,and at first Yoko says John's attitude from the beginning was the same,and that they met on that level.John then says,twice, I was a male chauvinist and Yoko says,yes he was a male chauvinist but,and then John says,Can I say how you taught me,and Yoko says yes.John says,How I did it in my head was,would I ask Paul or George,or would I treat them the way I would treat a woman? John then said,it's a very simple thing maybe it's fetch that or do that ,and I started thinking if I said that to them,they'd say come on get it yourself,and if you put your wife or your girl friend in the position of your best friend,and say now would I say that to him,then you know when you're treading on some delicate feelings.































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  4. Mike Douglas said years later that after this week of John and Yoko co-hosting his show,many young people who had never watched his show before,(and his main audience was middle America and people older than their 20's and even mostly their 30's) told him they loved the show,and that it was great and his ratings went up high for those shows.Even if John didn't always live up to his feminist ideals and beliefs in his personal life,(although he did with Yoko because of her and this why and how he emotionally evolved into a caring,nurturing,house husband and father to Yoko and Sean),just the fact that he spoke out as a man in support of the feminist movement on a popular TV show back in early 1972 when most of the sexist male dominated woman-hating society looked down at it and considered it crazy which in some ways it's still unfortunately wrongly misunderstood(and it's really the male dominated,sexist,woman-hating society that has always been so wrong and crazy!),and the fact that John was (and still is) greatly admired and influential to many young people male and female,he did *a lot* to legitimize it and show it was rational,reasonable,needed and right!




    A few months later he was very bravely performing Woman Is The Ni**er Of The World on The Dick Cavett Show and then months after that live in Madison Square Garden.In his very last radio interview done by Dave Sholin etc from RKO Radio just hours before he was tragically shot and killed, John said I'm more feminist now than I was when I sang Woman Is The N**ger,I was intellectually feminist then but now I feel as though at least I've put not my own money,but my body where my mouth is and I'm living up to my own preachings as it were.





    He also said what is this BS men are this way, women are that way,we're all human.He had also said that he comes from the macho school of pretense of course *all* men really are they are just too conditioned all of their lives to realize and admit it.And he said that men are trained to be like they are in the army,and that it's more like that in England but he knows it's this way over here too,he said that they are taught as boys and men don't react,don't feel,don't cry,and he said he thinks that's what screwed us all up and that he thinks it's time for a change.




    Barbara Graystark of Newsweek interviewed John September 1980 and part of what she said to John is,You've come a long way from the man who wrote at 23,''Women should be obscene rather than heard.'' And she asks John how did this happen? And John said that he was a working-class macho guy who was used to being served and Yoko didn't buy that. John then said that from the day he met Yoko,she demanded equal time,equal space,equal rights. He said that he said to Yoko then,don't expect him to change in any way and don't impinge on his space. John said that Yoko said to him then she can't be here because there's no space where you are everything revolves around him and that she can't breath in that atmosphere. John then says in this interview that he's thankful to her for the ( meaning feminist) education.



    http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1980.0929.beatles.html











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  5. Mike Douglas also said to John and Yoko, You're both so different, you had such different childhoods. John said, it's incredible isn't it? Yoko said, Yes! Mike asked, What do you think has attracted you to each other? Yoko said, We're very similar. John then said, She came from a Japanese upper-middle class family. Her parents were bankers and all that jazz,very straight. He said they were trying to get her off with an ambassador when she was 18.You know, now is the time you marry the ambassador and we get all settled. I come from a an upper-working class family in Liverpool, the other end of the world. John then said, we met but our minds are so similar,our ideas are so similar. It was incredible that we could be so alike from different environments, and I don't know what it is, but we're very similar in our heads. And we look alike too!



    Mike also asked John about his painful childhood,and how his father left him when he was 5,and John said how he only came back into his life when he was successful and famous(20 years later!),and John said he knew that I was living all those years in the same house with my auntie,but he never visited him.He said when he came back into his life all those years later,he looked after his father for the same amount of time he looked after him,about 4 years.









    He also talked about how his beloved mother Julia,who encouraged his music by teaching him to play the banjo,got hit and killed by a car driven by an off duty drunk cop when John was only 17 and just getting to have a relationship with her after she had given him away to be raised by her older sister Mimi when he was 5.







    And John also said,And in spite of all that,I still don't have a hate-the-pigs attitude or hate-cops attitude.He then said, I think everybody's human you know,but it was very hard for me at that time,and I really had a chip on my shoulder,and it still comes out now and then,because it's a strange life to lead .He then said,But in general ah,I've got my own family now ...I got Yoko and she made up for all that pain.







    John's psychologist Dr. Arthur Janov told Mojo Magazine in 2000( parts of this interview is on a great UK John Lennon fan site,You Are The Plastic Ono Band) that John had as much pain as he had ever seen in his life,and he was a psychologist for at least 18 years when John and Yoko saw him in 1970! He said John was a very dedicated patient. He also said that John left therapy too early though and that they opened him up,but didn't get a chance to put him back together again and Dr. Janov told John he need to finish the therapy,he said because of the immigration services and he thought Nixon was after him,he said we have to get out of the country.John asked if he could send a therapist to Mexico with him,and Dr. Janov told him we can't do that because they had too many patients to take care of,and he said they cut the therapy off just as it started really,and we were just getting going.























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  6. Also this great article by long time anti-sexist,anti-men's violence,anti-pornography former all star high school football player and author of the great,important 2006 book,The Macho Paradox:How Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help, Jackson Katz.John Lennon on Fatherhood,Feminism,and Phony Tough Guy Posturing http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jackson-katz/john-lennon-on-fatherhood_b_800333.html




    Also Cynthia Lennon is quoted in the great John Lennon biography Lennon,by award winning music journalist and former editor of The Melody Maker Magazine and good friend of John's for 18 years,Ray Coleman as saying somethings like she knew as soon as she saw John and Yoko together she knew that she lost him,and that it was a meeting of the minds and that she knew that they were right for each other.She also said that she told John before he started his relationship with Yoko that she sees and incredible similarity between him and Yoko and said to him that there is something about her that is just like you.She told him that he may say that she's this crazy avant garde artist and that he's not interested in her,but that she can see more into John's future with Yoko then he can.


















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  7. In this January 1971 interview with Red Mole John says that Yoko was well into liberation before he met her and that she had to fight her way through a man's world and he said the art world is completely dominated by men and said so Yoko was full of revolutionary zeal when they met. Then John said there was never any question about it that they had to have a 50-50 relationship or there was no relationship and he said he was quick to learn and he said that Yoko did an article in Nova more than two years back in which she said Woman is the Ni**er of the world. A year later he co-wrote with Yoko the song Woman Is The N*gger of The World,and bravely performed it live on The Dick Cavett show and at Madison Square Garden in 1972 and the song was banned off a lot of radio stations.



    John also says in this same interview that it's very subtle how you're taught male superiority.





    http://www.beatlesinterviews.org/db1971.0121.beatles.html





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  8. I'm sure that Philip Norman left all of this important information out of his John biography.

    ReplyDelete

  9. And to debunk that Yoko was ever ''ugly'',


    Yoko, is very intelligent,and a nice person for the most part who changed John from a sexist psychologically messed up very young guy who was getting drunk,and into fist fights with men,and hitting women sometimes,into a feminist nurturing house husband and father and gave him happiness for the first time in his life. Even Paul has said that he thinks John meeting Yoko was the best thing to happen to him for his personal happiness.





    And I have seen many pictures and video interviews of Yoko when she was younger and she looked very attractive and with no make up on,and Scavullo who was one of the best fashion and celebrity photographers took a glamorous beautiful black and white portrait of Yoko with eye make up on and her hair done fancy and it's on her biography on The All Music Guide online. And Yoko looks more attractive at almost 83 than a lot of young people! And she's always been very intelligent too.





    She looks beautiful as a young woman here as quite a few people said with no make up on her Instagram page,https://instagram.com/p/zAeIgqjzuH/?taken-by=yokoonoofficia


    Also as quite a few people say here Yoko looked really beautiful here in 1981 accepting the grammy award for John and her album Double Fantasy [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpdRp0vVWK4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpdRp0vVWK4[/url]




    Also I once spoke to a former radio DJ who was now a manager of a CD store,and he told me that he was the one who went to Yoko's New York apartment in 1983 to do a very long interview with her by another DJ who hosted a great popular 2 hour Breakfast With The Beatles Sunday radio show. I asked him what was Yoko like and he said that she was a very nice lady.

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  10. And I was right,Philip Norman's new Paul biography is very sensationalistic!


    http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/beatles-paul-mccartney-lovers-documented-new-biography-article-1.2604142

    ReplyDelete






  11. But in the new Paul McCartney biography,Paul McCartney:The Life coming out in the US in May, and the UK in June.In this more detailed description on Amazon.com UK it says that some of Paul's Wings songs are as great as his Beatles songs.It sounds like Philip Norman is finally giving Paul the music credit he so rightly deserves after unjustly underrating and minimizing him in his Beatles book Shout.I'm sure it will have a lot of sensationalism like his Beatles and Lennon book has,to sell his books.







    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-McCartney-Biography-Philip-Norman/dp/0297870769


    ReplyDelete
  12. It also says in this more recent amazon.com UK description of this new book,that Paul is a misunderstood genius who is a complex and insecure workalholic.







    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-McCartney-Biography-Philip-Norman/dp/0297870769




    ReplyDelete
  13. It also says in this more recent amazon.com UK description of this new book,that Paul is a misunderstood genius who is a complex and insecure workalholic.







    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-McCartney-Biography-Philip-Norman/dp/0297870769




    ReplyDelete






  14. But in the new Paul McCartney biography,Paul McCartney:The Life coming out in the US in May, and the UK in June.In this more detailed description on Amazon.com UK it says that some of Paul's Wings songs are as great as his Beatles songs.It sounds like Philip Norman is finally giving Paul the music credit he so rightly deserves after unjustly underrating and minimizing him in his Beatles book Shout.I'm sure it will have a lot of sensationalism like his Beatles and Lennon book has,to sell his books.







    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paul-McCartney-Biography-Philip-Norman/dp/0297870769


    ReplyDelete


  15. I haven't read this book, but I first read the excellent,empathetic book,Lennon by award winning music journalist and former Melody Maker editor Ray Coleman in 1985, a few years ago I got the updated version,and I still believe it's the most accurate and the most to be trusted.




    Ray met John as an early Beatle in 1962,and he remained good friends with John right till the end, and he spent a lot of time with him and interviewed him over these 18 years. He does report John's bad sides and behavior,but he also knew and reports his good sides and qualities and he totally understands John and how he was psychologically damaged by the traumas in his childhood and teens and how he worked on himself and changed for the better especially during his last 5 years of his life. He says in the introduction,that to know John was to love him,Phillip Norman never really knew John and wasn't a friend!



    Also if Philip Norman did such a ''good job'' on this John biography,then why do quite a few people say in reviewing it that John was a horrible insensitive person and that reading the book made them hate John!? Like this review on Barnes and Noble.com titled,A good Read But Drags On, that says that John was a horrible insensitive person and that he made fun of black,gay,and mentally and physically disabled people(this was when John was a *very young psychologically messed up guy*!),and said he deserved to survive the bullets and be a brain damaged quadriplegic!



    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/john-lennon-philip-norman/1100555558?ean=9780060754020#reviews-header >:D :-X (puke)



    It's very obvious that Philip Norman writes a lot of sensationalism a lot that isn't even true to sell his books! He's probably going to do the same thing with his new Paul biography too unfortunately.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Click here for the accessible version










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    John Lennon said in his very last radio interview (just hours before he was so cruelly, insanely shot and killed by a crazy,horrible piece of sh*t who used to be a big Beatles fan since he was a teenager, and John was his favorite Beatle) that like most young men he was more involved with his career than with his children,and he said he regretted not spending enough time with Julian. He also said that he and Julian would have a relationship in the future but sadly they both were deprived of this.




    And John didn't do the same horrible thing to Julian that his father did to him. John's father literally totally abandoned him and literally didn't see, or talk to John from the time he was 5,until he was a successful famous 24 year old.John did see Julian sometimes, and spoke with him on the phone and sent him post cards,birthday and Christmas cards and presents and he bought Julian a guitar when he was 11 as a Christmas present. John's father never did any of these things and John said it was like his father was dead.



































































































































































































































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    ReplyDelete
  17. I didn't mean for that other text to be included and I tried several times to delete my post so I can repost,but it didn't work.I really wish there was an edit button on here.

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  18. Sorry! Yes, I wish comments were easier to edit on here, too...no worries.
    I've heard about the Coleman book and while it's supposed to be good, I've also heard from many others that it's too gushing and uncritical of John. While I understand you mentioning the reviews of the Norman book that John comes off as not very likeable in many instances, the truth is, he *wasn't* very likeable for a lot of his life. I'm one of the biggest Lennon fans you'll ever meet, but one thing I have never had a problem with is acknowledging that he was a real bastard to a lot of people over the course of his life. Yes, he changed and grew and developed, as we all did. But there is a HUGE contingent of Lennon fans who refuse to believe nothing but him as an absolute saint and he and Yoko as the 20th century's greatest love story, when of course neither of those is true. And the slightest mention of any negativity brings them out in droves defending him tooth and nail. Yoko herself has had a big hand in perpetuating this myth. As I said, I'm a massive, lifelong Lennon fan, but I also have no problem still being a fan while admitting his failings as a human. We're all human, no one is perfect, and the irony is John would be the first to admit that himself. So with that being said, I thought the Norman book was excellent in its even-handedness with John's virtues and flaws...it portrayed him not as the perfect genius so many try to paint him as, but as a supremely talented man with demons, flaws, and virtues just like the rest of us.

    As for Norman's new Paul book, yes, you're right in that he's finally giving Paul his due. Reading some of the reasons for his animus toward Paul all those years ago has been rather eye-opening for me as they're very...strange reasons. I'll mention all this in my upcoming review of that book.

    Have you read the Lennon book?

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