Saturday, August 16, 2008

Book Review of 'John', by Cynthia Lennon

Book Review For "John" by Steph Burkhart

Cynthia Lennon starts her autobiographical tale reflecting on the death of her famous ex-husband, John Lennon and within the first chapter reveals two insights into John's personality that haven't really been discussed before in books about the Beatles. It's a catchy start to a heartwarming, sweet, yet tragic tale.

As the book starts, Cynthia is a teenager beginning art college. Shortly thereafter she encounters John Lennon. The two make an unlikely couple. She was raised in a nice neighborhood to be a "good" girl and John Lennon is a teenager rebel with only one cause - rock and roll.

Cynthia points out they had several things in common in the book - they were both short sighted and bonded over losing their parents when they were seventeen. (Cynthia lost her father when she was seventeen and John lost his mother.) Soon, Cynthia and John embark on a relationship. Her love is what John needs. She's a steady constant in his life which is filled with uncertainty.

Cynthia is there before John and the Beatles make it famous. She talks of their humble beginnings and John's family. We learn John's Aunt Mimi, the woman who raised him, is a very totalitarian matriarch who very rarely showed John small, simple, loving gestures. John also has two younger sisters who adore him, Jacqui and Julia. There are so many sides to John. He's in love, yet has a ferocious jealous side to him. He can be kind and tender, yet John dislikes confrontation. An example of this is how Pete Best is told to leave the band. Brian Epstein breaks the news to Pete and John never sees him again.

Cynthia and John had been with each other four years before their son Julian is conceived. John marries her right before the Beatles begin to take off. As the Beatles ride the wave of fame, Cynthia is by John's side. It isn't easy for the couple, but their love gets them through.

The book shifts when Cynthia begins to talk of John's drug use. It's his use of drugs that drives a wedge between them. John's decline and destruction is sad to read about in such a personal way. The way he cuts Cynthia and Julian out of his life is quick, deliberate, precise, and very hurtful. Cynthia must find her own way with little financial support from John.

It's hard to put this book down. The beginning draws you in and the reader barely has a chance to catch their breath. Happiness quickly turns to misery, pain, and despair much in the same manner as the Beatles overwhelming success turns sour at the end of the sixties.

Cynthia offers fresh insights on a musical history that has been practically hashed to death by the number of books written by the Beatles. Her thoughts and impression on Yoko are not put out there in a mean-spirited way - instead Cynthia presents the facts as is and lets the reader come to their conclusions. This is a wonderful read for those who are true fans of the Beatles and John Lennon.

Written by: Cynthia Lennon
Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 0-340-89511-X
404 Pages
20 pounds
5 Stars

StephB is an author who can be found at In her spare time she likes to read many books and a variety of different genres. Steph B is an author at http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing.

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