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The Beatles - All These Years: Volume One: Tune In
The Beatles - All These Years: Volume One: Tune In
by Mark Lewisohn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nonpareil Beatles' Biography - One of the Best EVER Written!, 18 July 2015
I have been avidly reading Beatle biographies since I was a child and am the proud owner of an extensive Beatles' library and Beatles' collection. The books I have read range from the trashy, silly little pop books such as "The Beatles' Book" which was just an extension of the inane teen 'zines that just make the Beatles sound like innocents instead of the worldly young men that they were to scholarly works such as this book. The Beatle Literati is quite impressed with this book and give it the highest of recommendations.

Mark Lewisohn is plainly a Beatles' fan and someone who appreciates their work; their history and them as people without being a sycophant. He is plainly a gifted researcher and this book contains fresh information that many other works have not included. He digs into great detail aspects of each Beatle's life as well as those closest to the Beatles, such as Klaus and Astrid; their manager Brian Epstein; Good Ol' Freda and others in the music business as well as the Beatles' close relatives. This is also one of the few books that include the details of the senior Harrisons' marriage in 1931, just 3 months before George's sister Louise was born. Only a few books expose the myth that they married a year before their only daughter's birth; Louise Harrison herself discloses this in My Kid Brother's Band... a.k.a. The Beatles and so does Kevin Roach in George Harrison That's The Way God Planned It

This well detailed tome covers the Beatles' post boyhood years starting with the banner year of 1958 and ends in 1962 when Ringo finally joins the band. 1958 is an especially crucial year for the Beatles as John's mother died in a tragic accident; Paul introduced John to George and George was accepted into the nascent band then called the Quarrymen and Louise Harrison took an angry young man named John under her wing when her son George brought him home for tea in early 1958.

Stories that have been bandied about for many years are brought to light in this work. John's Aunt Mimi, who raised him from the age of 5 did not dodge bombs and war balloons to visit her sister Julia in the hospital when Julia delivered John. From all accounts, Mimi told her nephew that Julia and John's father ("that Alf Lennon" as the Stanley Sisters called him) had fallen out of love and at one point "that Alf Lennon" was in jail.

Another myth that has been exposed to light in recent years is that of the senior Harrisons' marriage. Many books reported that they got married in 1930, a year after they met. It is Kevin Roach and daughter Louise Harrison herself who set the record straight on that count. Harold Sr. and Louise French met in 1927 when they were 18 and 16 respectively. Apparently many authors feared tarnishing the boys' image if it was publicly known that the Harrisons enjoyed each other's company which resulted in the birth of their daughter Louise prior to getting married.

Ringo, who from all accounts had the most difficult boyhood of the Beatles is given a turn at bat. In this book, details of his multiple illnesses and protracted convalescenses are provided in fuller detail as opposed to the sketchy, skeletal accounts other books have provided. Another bonus is seeing previously unpublished pictures of the Beatles such as Ringo, then 6 or 7 recovering during the first of his long illnesses and an especially nice picture of Louise and Harold posing on a couch.

Lewisohn is a truly extraordinary author. He does not whitewash anything; he is objective in his portrayal of historical accounts. He does not pretend that the Beatles or anybody else in their circle is anything other that what they are. He takes readers on a Magical Mystery Tour from the Beatles' births in wartime Liverpool to their later meeting and forming a band. The earliest incarnation of the group was known as the Quarrymen after Quarrybank High School where John and Paul were students. Readers are invited to the July 1957 church fete in Woolton where John and his then band gave a public performance. Paul McCartney, then 15 was one of the people in the crowd. Paul knew John was a musician who was going places and he wanted to join him.

The band went through several more incarnations with different members in their line up. Long story short, Ringo joined the group in 1962 after turning down another offer as the pay wasn't as good as what the Beatles were offering. The other Beatles felt that their original drummer Pete Best was not a good fit or match for them personality wise and professionally. It was reported that Pete was chosen because the band was under contract to hire a drummer and he was the only game in town. However, once the band was more or less in place, other drummers such as Johnny Hutch filled in as Pete was not always available. Pete was known for not conforming to the group's universal Beatle mop coiffure; he was consistently late and sometimes absent for rehearsals and shows and it was said that he and Paul were not friendly toward one another.

Readers also get a Ticket to Ride with Ringo during his early band years with the Hurricanes and subsequent trips to Butlin's Holiday Camp and Hamburg, the city where the early pre-Beatles cut their musical teeth. In 1960 the pre-Beatles, led by their intrepid leader John, then 20 made their first trip to Hamburg. The senior Harrisons, after much deliberation agreed to let their minor son George, then 17 join them. In today's world one might wonder about letting these young men travel to Hamburg "In Spite of All the Danger" and no doubt George was delighted that he got to travel out of the country with a group of guys, the oldest of whom was John. Sadly, George was deported as he was underage. Despite that set back, George grew up a lot in Hamburg. He also reconnected with his bandmates when they returned to England later that year and for their 1961 trip to Hamburg.

By 1962 the Beatles had arrived! Freshly coiffed with their iconic Beatle mops that so many, myself included love and dressed like gentlemen in suits and ties per their manager's directive, the boys were ready to conquer the world! Brian Epstein's astute business acumen and professional handling helped the boys prepare for the roles of their lifetimes - selling their talent and image to the world! The Beatles were the best known, best loved band in Liverpool and were regular fixtures at the famous Cavern Club. There is the trajectory or "Long & Winding Road" to recording deals and contracts and world tours.

Fans were also a constant fixture. Each Beatle's boyhood home was considered a Mecca of Music for fans to congregate and hopefully meet a Beatle. Louise Harrison actually wrote fans back, staying up late into the night to finish correspondence with help from Harold. It was not uncommon for her to invite a fan in for tea and light refreshments while chatting each other up about George. Louise always talked about George's three older siblings and even lent her voice to one of his fan club newsletters. This is chronicled in Do You Want to Know a Secret?: The Story of the Official George Harrison Fan Club.

This book ends in 1962 when the Beatles' "Love Me Do" was recorded and hit the Top Twenty. This was less than a year before George Harrison made his first trip abroad to visit his sister Louise who was then living in Benton Illinois. Louise shopped the Beatles' records around and to her credit got area radio stations to play Beatle songs. By 1962-63, music in America still had the last vestiges of the 1950s style. The Beatles brought in a fresh new look, sound and style. They were and are here to stay and they have raised the musical bar.

England has long been known for class distinctions. Voice and whether one lives in the North or South of England has long been a social class distinction. Liverpool, a northern seaport town was not held in high regard by "Southerners." (A reference to "Southerners" is made in the Beatles' 1964 movie, "A Hard Day's Night.") The Beatles changed all that. Music and art is for everybody and not just one demographic. The Beatles made no such distinctions and even as late as 1964 refused to play the Gator Bowl in Florida when they found out that minorities were being denied entry. They refused to perform before a segregated audience. The Beatles helped dismantle some of the bigotry and class dividing lines. They also sparked a world-wide interest in things English and became in effect World Ambassadors. The four young men that the world at large loved invited people from all over the world; from all different backgrounds and all different walks of life to "Come Together."

I am looking forward to the next installments of the trilogy that Lewisohn is scheduled to write. Knowing what I know of Lewisohn's writing and extraordinary flair for detail, I expect his subsequent books to be every bit as excellent and exceptional and outstanding as this one.


[ DEAR KILLER By Ewell, Katherine ( Author ) Hardcover Apr-01-2014
[ DEAR KILLER By Ewell, Katherine ( Author ) Hardcover Apr-01-2014
by Katherine Ewell
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars Simply Quite Atrocious!, 18 July 2015
I didn't like this story DEAR KILLER by Ewell at all and found it most horrid with repugnant characters.

Kit, 17 has been a serial killer since age 9. Kit's equally depraved mother taught her the family business. People contact Kit to kill people who have irked them. It is completely ludicrous to believe that a teen can kill people without being caught and how Scotland Yard can't even find her when people seeking her services can. Add to it is a detective who is twice her age. Sex offender status, anyone?

Although set in England, the Americanisms that crop up undermine an already weak story. I hated this book and just cannot in good conscience recommend it. I wish I could rate it zero stars. It was that bad.


No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars Simply Quite Atrocious!, 18 July 2015
I didn't like this story DEAR KILLER by Ewell at all and found it most horrid with repugnant characters.

Kit, 17 has been a serial killer since age 9. Kit's equally depraved mother taught her the family business. People contact Kit to kill people who have irked them. It is completely ludicrous to believe that a teen can kill people without being caught and how Scotland Yard can't even find her when people seeking her services can. Add to it is a detective who is twice her age. Sex offender status, anyone?

Although set in England, the Americanisms that crop up undermine an already weak story. I hated this book and just cannot in good conscience recommend it.


A Circle of Wives
A Circle of Wives
by Alice LaPlante
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.62

1.0 out of 5 stars Some Ladies' Club!, 9 July 2015
This review is from: A Circle of Wives (Paperback)
Dr. John Taylor, a prominent plastic surgeon is found dead in a hotel room. However, his secret does not die with him. He had three wives, all but one believing she was the only spouse he had. Things take a turn for the worse when a fourth woman claims she was engaged to him.

Dramatis Personae:

Deborah, his legal wife. A cliche ice queen with a cold and calculating personality, she is determined to maintain her wealthy lifestyle and social standing in her West Coast community. A ruthless perfectionist, Deborah is also unlikable and unpleasant. Early in her marriage to Dr. Taylor, she nearly has an affair with a married neighbor named Gerald. She is attracted to his cruel streak. One thing that threw me for a loop was in chapter 20 when Gerald's wife, originally called Joyce suddenly became Cecilia. Upon reading the passage, I initially wondered who Cecilia was. Talk about throwing readers for a loop! Deborah, for the most part is not invested in people. She even admitted to being emotionally distant from her children and not very nurturing, which came as no surprise. However, she practically has a meltdown when somebody spilled wine on her carpet. Her emotional investment is in material goods and not people. She also has 3 children who at the time of their father's death were 31, 32 and 27. They are barely mentioned and are not really a part of the story.

MJ, an accountant with the ideals and wardrobe of a flower child. An avid gardener, she married Dr. Taylor on a beach with few people in attendance. Deborah's opposite number, MJ, the mother of 2 grown sons is perfectly content to do her gardening and also take care of her brother Thomas. Thomas is a drug addict who is 2 years MJ's junior. The two left Gatlinburg, Tennessee after unhappy childhoods. Thomas was sexually abused by a local priest and MJ was gang raped by a group of popular boys who were allowed to walk free. A bad marriage and her brother's trauma as well as her own prompted MJ to pack up her sons and Thomas and leave Tennessee. She and Dr. Taylor were married for 6 years.

Helen, a gifted pediatric oncologist. At 36, she is the youngest of Dr. Taylor's wives. The daughter of a kind librarian and a violent and bipolar man, Helen grew up with a strong determination to remain independent. She met Dr. Taylor during a presentation. He wooed and pursued her and she agreed to marry him, not knowing about the other two wives.

Quite a juggling act. How did he do it? Helen, who lived and maintained her practice in Los Angeles spent a few nights a month with Dr. Taylor. MJ had a house in Los Gatos where he spent time. He would explain his sporadic times at his various homes as being the result of having a busy practice. He would refuse to go to public venues with his bonus wives. True, he was a dick extraordinaire, but his skill in the operating theater made him quite a catch in the eyes of these women.

The three wives meet at Dr. Taylor's funeral after reading his obituary. He died on May 11, 2013 in a hotel room. His cause of death was reported as a heart attack. Still, suspicions crop up upon examining Dr. Taylor post mortem. It is highly implausible that this "well known, well respected" doctor could lead such a secretive and complicated love life without being seen by others and found out prior to his death.

Another woman takes an interest in Dr. Taylor, but for different reasons. Police detective Samantha "Sam" Adams enters the picture, determined to solve the mystery of the 3 wives, the fiancee and the circumstances surrounding the man's death. At 28 she is on the police force and hounds each of the wives with the idea of understanding their arrangement and the death of the doctor. She is also a thoroughly dislikable character.

I found it implausible that Sam was allowed to drop in on each of the wives and question them. I was also surprised that Deborah, who was the most socially connected granted Sam entry even after Deborah contacted the mayor's office to put a freeze on Sam's hounding her. Even the police department placed Sam on administrative leave, but Sam continued to drop in on the wives. Unbelievable. I still think if Deborah had been smart, she would have refused to grant Sam entry or answered any questions without a lawyer.

Naturally the wives and the fiancee are suspects. So is a business partner who wanted to include cosmetic surgery for aesthetic reasons as opposed to limiting the practice to Dr. Taylor's practice of providing cosmetic surgery for people who suffered from disfigurements. That doctor is also on the suspect list.

A light, indulgent read that was very easy to finish in a day. Yes, the book will reel you in. I will admit that I intensely disliked Sam and felt sorry for her common law husband, Peter. I had a good giggle when she asked him to role play a scenario with her involving Dr. Taylor's case and he got into it with gusto, really verbally skewering her. I also felt it served Sam right when Peter made his final statement. Their relationship was very much like the 1965 Beatles' classic "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown.)" I didn't like Sam at all and I also disliked Deborah. The ending was implausible and asinine and felt like a rushed wrap. It was also very unsatisfactory. These women were willing to talk to Sam without having lawyers present was also unrealistic. This was a murder case, for Pete's sake! That having been said, it was a trashy, indulgent read with a very poorly crafted ending that came as no surprise.


Julia
Julia
by Kevin Roach
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Song of Love for Julia, 16 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Julia (Paperback)
This is an excellent book with previously unseen photographs and documents about John Lennon's matrilineal ancestry.

Julia Stanley Lennon (1914 - 1958), John's mother was a very interesting person who did indeed leave her stamp on John. Not only did John inherit the Stanley nose, he inherited Julia's fey, outre humor and high spirited nature. She sounded like she would have been at home during the countercultural 1960s, a time in which her son had an active role. Who couldn't love John?

As practically all Beatle fans/historians know, John was raised by Julia's sister, Mimi. What had not been publicly disclosed until more recent years was that Mimi called the British Social Services because she disapproved of her sister's lifestyle. Julia had been dating John's father for a decade prior to marrying him in 1938. In 1945 she had a daughter by another man when "that Alf Lennon," as the Stanley Sisters called John's father was at sea. The daughter whom Julia named Victoria was placed for adoption and a Norwegian family adopted her. Julia clearly enjoyed male company and Mimi felt that was not a good influence on John. In more recent years it has become known that Julia fought tooth and toenail against John being taken from her.

After the loss of John and Victoria, Julia had two more daughters, Julia in 1947 and Jackie in 1949 by a man named John Dykins whom John called Twitchy. They were a common-law couple which was frowned upon in those days. Ironically, Julia's mother had three babies, none of whom survived prior to marrying their father, John's maternal grandfather. John's sister Julia (b. 1947) has written Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon about her life with her later famous brother, John.

Sadly, Julia was killed in an accident in July of 1958. John, then 17 and already an angry young man became even more so. He even said that he lost Julia twice - the first time when he was 5 and 12 years later when he was 17. One woman who served as a mother figure for the angry young man was Louise Harrison, the mother of George Harrison, John's younger friend and bandmate. On an ironic note in early 1958, Louise overheard John, then 17 telling 15-year-old Paul McCartney, "How can you sit there all normal like that when your mother's dead? If that happened to me, I'd go off me head!" Sadly, John understandably did go off his head and again it was Louise Harrison to the rescue. She even said in an interview 10 years later in The Beatles: The Authorised Biography that she "forced" George to pay John and his aunt a condolence call.

Julia's death left a profound impact on John. Ten years after Julia's death, John wrote "Julia," which appears on the White Album. He also wrote "Mother" in 1970 and "My Mummy's Dead." All three songs are tear jerkers that came straight from John's heart and experiences.

That's just background. The gems in this book are the documents such as John's school papers; his birth announcement (he was named when he was a month old as Julia wanted that Alf Lennon to be present when their son was named) and many lovely photographs. Readers also learn that John's aunt married a man from Egypt and he had an Egyptian cousin. All in all, readers develop a sense of the gifted angry young man who would grow up and make the whole world listen.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Mother's Little Helper, 28 May 2015
Once I started this book, I literally had to stay with it. I could not put it aside. The Rolling Stones' 1966 hit "Mother's Little Helper" is definitely the soundtrack of this book! No contest.

Allison, 40 is a drug addict. She has been taking prescription pills since 2008 following the birth of her daughter, Eloise, 5. Little things send her running to the shelter of her mother's little helper. Allison glosses over her dependence on medication. It was not until she takes her daughter in for her 5-year wellness examination that she takes a quiz in a magazine and realizes that she has been relying TOO much on those pills. Ellie herself is not without her problems. At 5, she is plainly PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). While she does not show overtly autistic behaviors, she is highly charged and finds noises amplified and screams blue murder when she has her hair done. I love the way the author described Ellie as approaching the prospect of hair grooming with the anticipation of a death row march. Her words? "STOBBIT! [sic] YOU ARE MURDERING ME WITH THE COMB!" That gave me a bit of a giggle - at that age, I was not above hiding combs to dodge the comb bullet.

Ellie's PDD-NOS was glaringly apparent even during her early infancy. Even the close proximity of a playground caused her acute auditory pain; so did the sound of telephones ringing and street noises. However, she does manage to stay enrolled in the snobbish Stonefield school and has some friends there.

*Note: The car Allison initially references having is a Honda. Later in the book, it is twice referred to as a Prius and a Prius is a Toyota.

There were times when I questioned Allison's judgment. Why would a 5-year-old need a queen sized bed? That seemed odd to me. I also didn't understand why Allison didn't seem to work with her child on her heightened sensory issues.

Allison also has her friends. As Jacqueline Susann wrote in "The Valley of the Dolls," Allison lives in the "Valley of the Dolls." She finds it initially hard to admit that her growing dependency on those darn pills has pushed her into the category of addict. It is only when she takes money from her boss' petty cash account to finance her habit that she realizes she has fallen down a rabbit hole she might not be able to climb out of again. Her venue? The Penny Lane (yes, like the 1967 Beatles' classic) online shop where OxyContin, Percocet and other painkillers are hers for the taking. She even takes money from the family account to finance her habit.

The name Penny Lane will bring a smile to avid Beatles' fans, but it is also a propos. "a pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray/though she feels as if she's in a play, she is anyway..." -- Paul McCartney from "Penny Lane," 1967. That name and lyric from the 1967 song is also quite a propos in this context.

Allison's husband Dave does not appear to be aware of her growing need for pills; it is only when Ellie's teacher calls him about Allison showing up to school under the influence and in no condition to drive Ellie and her young friends home that Dave puts his foot down. He does an intervention and sends Allison to a rehab center for 28 days.

Naturally, Allison is against the idea of rehab and kicks up a storm. In time, she settles down and the one really kind staff member there, a man named Nicholas really takes her condition and her complaints seriously. Allison was not assigned a caseworker for over a week and the center's rules were that clients had to be assigned for at least 3 weeks before getting an outside pass. Allison is frantic to attend her daughter's 6th birthday party and even tricks Dave into picking her up. Once home, she visits a friend whose kids are friendly with Ellie and is confronted with a pill cabinet. She has those damn pill bottles in her hand and a stash in her pocket....

Luckily for Allison, her mother steps up to the plate to care for Ellie during her stay in rehab. To add to their plate of woes, Allison's father develops Alzheimer's and has to be moved into an assisted senior living facility. Ellie is especially empathetic towards her maternal grandfather. Interestingly enough, during Allison's time in rehab, Ellie improves. Her weekly sleepwetting ends; her annoying preoccupation with princesses abates; she is less loud and strident and irritating. She even gets a sweet little dog.

I enjoyed this book and avidly followed it from start to finish. Yes, there were a few parts that were less than plausible, but heck, this is literature. It's literary license and if it kept you reading, thinking and talking about it, then it served its purpose. Add to it is I liked the book!


All Fall Down
All Fall Down
by Jennifer Weiner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Mother's Little Helper, 28 May 2015
This review is from: All Fall Down (Paperback)
Once I started this book, I literally had to stay with it. I could not put it aside. The Rolling Stones' 1966 hit "Mother's Little Helper" is definitely the soundtrack of this book! No contest.

Allison, 40 is a drug addict. She has been taking prescription pills since 2008 following the birth of her daughter, Eloise, 5. Little things send her running to the shelter of her mother's little helper. Allison glosses over her dependence on medication. It was not until she takes her daughter in for her 5-year wellness examination that she takes a quiz in a magazine and realizes that she has been relying TOO much on those pills. Ellie herself is not without her problems. At 5, she is plainly PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). While she does not show overtly autistic behaviors, she is highly charged and finds noises amplified and screams blue murder when she has her hair done. I love the way the author described Ellie as approaching the prospect of hair grooming with the anticipation of a death row march. Her words? "STOBBIT! [sic] YOU ARE MURDERING ME WITH THE COMB!" That gave me a bit of a giggle - at that age, I was not above hiding combs to dodge the comb bullet.

Ellie's PDD-NOS was glaringly apparent even during her early infancy. Even the close proximity of a playground caused her acute auditory pain; so did the sound of telephones ringing and street noises. However, she does manage to stay enrolled in the snobbish Stonefield school and has some friends there.

*Note: The car Allison initially references having is a Honda. Later in the book, it is twice referred to as a Prius and a Prius is a Toyota.

There were times when I questioned Allison's judgment. Why would a 5-year-old need a queen sized bed? That seemed odd to me. I also didn't understand why Allison didn't seem to work with her child on her heightened sensory issues.

Allison also has her friends. As Jacqueline Susann wrote in "The Valley of the Dolls," Allison lives in the "Valley of the Dolls." She finds it initially hard to admit that her growing dependency on those darn pills has pushed her into the category of addict. It is only when she takes money from her boss' petty cash account to finance her habit that she realizes she has fallen down a rabbit hole she might not be able to climb out of again. Her venue? The Penny Lane (yes, like the 1967 Beatles' classic) online shop where OxyContin, Percocet and other painkillers are hers for the taking. She even takes money from the family account to finance her habit.

The name Penny Lane will bring a smile to avid Beatles' fans, but it is also a propos. "a pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray/though she feels as if she's in a play, she is anyway..." -- Paul McCartney from "Penny Lane," 1967. That name and lyric from the 1967 song is also quite a propos in this context.

Allison's husband Dave does not appear to be aware of her growing need for pills; it is only when Ellie's teacher calls him about Allison showing up to school under the influence and in no condition to drive Ellie and her young friends home that Dave puts his foot down. He does an intervention and sends Allison to a rehab center for 28 days.

Naturally, Allison is against the idea of rehab and kicks up a storm. In time, she settles down and the one really kind staff member there, a man named Nicholas really takes her condition and her complaints seriously. Allison was not assigned a caseworker for over a week and the center's rules were that clients had to be assigned for at least 3 weeks before getting an outside pass. Allison is frantic to attend her daughter's 6th birthday party and even tricks Dave into picking her up. Once home, she visits a friend whose kids are friendly with Ellie and is confronted with a pill cabinet. She has those damn pill bottles in her hand and a stash in her pocket....

Luckily for Allison, her mother steps up to the plate to care for Ellie during her stay in rehab. To add to their plate of woes, Allison's father develops Alzheimer's and has to be moved into an assisted senior living facility. Ellie is especially empathetic towards her maternal grandfather. Interestingly enough, during Allison's time in rehab, Ellie improves. Her weekly sleepwetting ends; her annoying preoccupation with princesses abates; she is less loud and strident and irritating. She even gets a sweet little dog.

I enjoyed this book and avidly followed it from start to finish. Yes, there were a few parts that were less than plausible, but heck, this is literature. It's literary license and if it kept you reading, thinking and talking about it, then it served its purpose. Add to it is I liked the book!


[ ALL FALL DOWN By Weiner, Jennifer ( Author ) Hardcover Jun-17-2014
[ ALL FALL DOWN By Weiner, Jennifer ( Author ) Hardcover Jun-17-2014
by Jennifer Weiner
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Mother's Little Helper, 28 May 2015
Once I started this book, I literally had to stay with it. I could not put it aside. The Rolling Stones' 1966 hit "Mother's Little Helper" is definitely the soundtrack of this book! No contest.

Allison, 40 is a drug addict. She has been taking prescription pills since 2008 following the birth of her daughter, Eloise, 5. Little things send her running to the shelter of her mother's little helper. Allison glosses over her dependence on medication. It was not until she takes her daughter in for her 5-year wellness examination that she takes a quiz in a magazine and realizes that she has been relying TOO much on those pills. Ellie herself is not without her problems. At 5, she is plainly PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified). While she does not show overtly autistic behaviors, she is highly charged and finds noises amplified and screams blue murder when she has her hair done. I love the way the author described Ellie as approaching the prospect of hair grooming with the anticipation of a death row march. Her words? "STOBBIT! [sic] YOU ARE MURDERING ME WITH THE COMB!" That gave me a bit of a giggle - at that age, I was not above hiding combs to dodge the comb bullet.

Ellie's PDD-NOS was glaringly apparent even during her early infancy. Even the close proximity of a playground caused her acute auditory pain; so did the sound of telephones ringing and street noises. However, she does manage to stay enrolled in the snobbish Stonefield school and has some friends there.

*Note: The car Allison initially references having is a Honda. Later in the book, it is twice referred to as a Prius and a Prius is a Toyota.

There were times when I questioned Allison's judgment. Why would a 5-year-old need a queen sized bed? That seemed odd to me. I also didn't understand why Allison didn't seem to work with her child on her heightened sensory issues.

Allison also has her friends. As Jacqueline Susann wrote in "The Valley of the Dolls," Allison lives in the "Valley of the Dolls." She finds it initially hard to admit that her growing dependency on those darn pills has pushed her into the category of addict. It is only when she takes money from her boss' petty cash account to finance her habit that she realizes she has fallen down a rabbit hole she might not be able to climb out of again. Her venue? The Penny Lane (yes, like the 1967 Beatles' classic) online shop where OxyContin, Percocet and other painkillers are hers for the taking. She even takes money from the family account to finance her habit.

The name Penny Lane will bring a smile to avid Beatles' fans, but it is also a propos. "a pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray/though she feels as if she's in a play, she is anyway..." -- Paul McCartney from "Penny Lane," 1967. That name and lyric from the 1967 song is also quite a propos in this context.

Allison's husband Dave does not appear to be aware of her growing need for pills; it is only when Ellie's teacher calls him about Allison showing up to school under the influence and in no condition to drive Ellie and her young friends home that Dave puts his foot down. He does an intervention and sends Allison to a rehab center for 28 days.

Naturally, Allison is against the idea of rehab and kicks up a storm. In time, she settles down and the one really kind staff member there, a man named Nicholas really takes her condition and her complaints seriously. Allison was not assigned a caseworker for over a week and the center's rules were that clients had to be assigned for at least 3 weeks before getting an outside pass. Allison is frantic to attend her daughter's 6th birthday party and even tricks Dave into picking her up. Once home, she visits a friend whose kids are friendly with Ellie and is confronted with a pill cabinet. She has those damn pill bottles in her hand and a stash in her pocket....

Luckily for Allison, her mother steps up to the plate to care for Ellie during her stay in rehab. To add to their plate of woes, Allison's father develops Alzheimer's and has to be moved into an assisted senior living facility. Ellie is especially empathetic towards her maternal grandfather. Interestingly enough, during Allison's time in rehab, Ellie improves. Her weekly sleepwetting ends; her annoying preoccupation with princesses abates; she is less loud and strident and irritating. She even gets a sweet little dog.

I enjoyed this book and avidly followed it from start to finish. Yes, there were a few parts that were less than plausible, but heck, this is literature. It's literary license and if it kept you reading, thinking and talking about it, then it served its purpose. Add to it is I liked the book!


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Beatles Bonanza!, 14 May 2015
"Think for yourself 'cause I won't be there with you." -- George Harrison, 1965

You've just got to love the cover, which is a spoof of the Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road album cover. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I think I did when I judged that this would be one I would like! It's a riot!

Penny Lane, who shares her name with a 1967 Paul McCartney with the Beatles classic is so over boys. (Her two sisters are Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Lovely Rita. I'm surprised one wasn't named Michelle). After a traumatic breakup with her former boyfriend Nate, she forms The Lonely Hearts Club minus Sgt. Pepper. She swears off high school boys as she feels they don't show proper respect for women. Other girls join her club in droves. Her school principal, who is a man naturally chafes at the club as do the male students. Penny Lane does have a change of lonely heart when she meets a boy with a Beatle haircut. Something in the way he moves, perhaps? "I left you far behind/The ruins of the life that you have in mind./And though you still can't see/I know your mind's made up/You're gonna cause more misery." George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"

Penny and her Hearts are in-your face and live by John Lennon's credo in "Instant Karma" about how Instant Karma's gonna get you, gonna knock you right in the face. She is somewhat Lennonesque with her in-your-face rebellion and delightfully zany wit. Like John Lennon, she and her fellow Hearts refuse to compromise their true voices and identity and swear off pretending to agree with someone just to win them over or pacify them. Any time somebody gives up their honest voice by pretending to be something they are not and by saying they agree with something they do not, they are stifling their identity. I hate that kind of toadying behavior and Penny and her Hearts wisely empower themselves to dodge that self-defeatist behavior. John Lennon's 1971 "Crippled Inside" is a good anti-toady song. At no time do the Hearts sacrifice their voices. That makes one think of John Lennon's greeting, "John here, speaking with his voice!" from the 1963 Beatles' Christmas album. What an empowering statement!

The Hearts' theme song could be Paul McCartney's late 1977 hit, "I've Had Enough! (I can't put up with any more)." All Long & Winding Roads lead to the Beatles and that is what makes this book such a treat.

"Although your mind's opaque, try thinking more if just for your own sake.
The future still looks good and you've got time to rectify all the things that you should." -- George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"

The sheer genius of this book, with its empowering story, strong characters and WONDERFUL plethora of Beatle references will delight readers, whether they are Beatle fans or not. Beatle fans will especially enjoy this because not only will they "get" the Beatle references, they will love them! Aspie Beatle fans will love Penny's parents who, while the word is never mentioned are plainly Aspies with the Beatles as a special interest.

Penny is delightfully funny and she bravely shares some horrific experiences. To make a good thing even better, she was born on Beatles' Day, February 7, the anniversary of the day the Beatles came to America! The daughter of two ardent inveterate Beatle fans, Penny develops a love for the Beatles early and even wants a Hey Bulldog for a pet. The social dynamics and social hierchy are given in plain terms and the story is one that pulls you in right away. You will travel down the Long & Winding Road with Penny Lane and her fellow Hearts as they get by with a little help from their friends as they learn that in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. The Hearts convert "A Hard Day's Night" into a "Good Day Sunshine" and soon are singing "I Feel Fine." The Beatles remain a comforting presence throughout the book and a driving force that impels Penny and her fellow Hearts as well.

A heartfelt kudos and thank you to Elizabeth Eulberg. These delightful characters are wonderfully empowering and the Beatle humor brings big smiles to readers' faces. No doubt readers will take some ideas away after having read this book. If you listen to the Beatles while reading this work by this gifted Paperback Writer, you will increase your reading pleasure.

John Lennon's 1970 "Instant Karma," Paul McCartney's 1977 "I've Had Enough" and George Harrison's 1965 "Think For Yourself" underscore a good portion of this book. So do these Beatle classics: "I'll Be Back," "She Loves You," "This Boy," "It Won't Be Long" and "The Long & Winding Road" which are the soundtrack of this book together with "I Want to Tell You," a 1966 George Harrison classic. This gets a high endorsement and a hearty yeah, yeah, yeah from me! I love this book!

Beatles Forever!


The Lonely Hearts Club by Eulberg, Elizabeth ( 2011 )
The Lonely Hearts Club by Eulberg, Elizabeth ( 2011 )

5.0 out of 5 stars Beatles Bonanza!, 14 May 2015
"Think for yourself 'cause I won't be there with you." -- George Harrison, 1965

You've just got to love the cover, which is a spoof of the Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road album cover. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I think I did when I judged that this would be one I would like! It's a riot!

Penny Lane, who shares her name with a 1967 Paul McCartney with the Beatles classic is so over boys. (Her two sisters are Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Lovely Rita. I'm surprised one wasn't named Michelle). After a traumatic breakup with her former boyfriend Nate, she forms The Lonely Hearts Club minus Sgt. Pepper. She swears off high school boys as she feels they don't show proper respect for women. Other girls join her club in droves. Her school principal, who is a man naturally chafes at the club as do the male students. Penny Lane does have a change of lonely heart when she meets a boy with a Beatle haircut. Something in the way he moves, perhaps? "I left you far behind/The ruins of the life that you have in mind./And though you still can't see/I know your mind's made up/You're gonna cause more misery." George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"

Penny and her Hearts are in-your face and live by John Lennon's credo in "Instant Karma" about how Instant Karma's gonna get you, gonna knock you right in the face. She is somewhat Lennonesque with her in-your-face rebellion and delightfully zany wit. Like John Lennon, she and her fellow Hearts refuse to compromise their true voices and identity and swear off pretending to agree with someone just to win them over or pacify them. Any time somebody gives up their honest voice by pretending to be something they are not and by saying they agree with something they do not, they are stifling their identity. I hate that kind of toadying behavior and Penny and her Hearts wisely empower themselves to dodge that self-defeatist behavior. John Lennon's 1971 "Crippled Inside" is a good anti-toady song. At no time do the Hearts sacrifice their voices. That makes one think of John Lennon's greeting, "John here, speaking with his voice!" from the 1963 Beatles' Christmas album. What an empowering statement!

The Hearts' theme song could be Paul McCartney's late 1977 hit, "I've Had Enough! (I can't put up with any more)." All Long & Winding Roads lead to the Beatles and that is what makes this book such a treat.

"Although your mind's opaque, try thinking more if just for your own sake.
The future still looks good and you've got time to rectify all the things that you should." -- George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"

The sheer genius of this book, with its empowering story, strong characters and WONDERFUL plethora of Beatle references will delight readers, whether they are Beatle fans or not. Beatle fans will especially enjoy this because not only will they "get" the Beatle references, they will love them! Aspie Beatle fans will love Penny's parents who, while the word is never mentioned are plainly Aspies with the Beatles as a special interest.

Penny is delightfully funny and she bravely shares some horrific experiences. To make a good thing even better, she was born on Beatles' Day, February 7, the anniversary of the day the Beatles came to America! The daughter of two ardent inveterate Beatle fans, Penny develops a love for the Beatles early and even wants a Hey Bulldog for a pet. The social dynamics and social hierchy are given in plain terms and the story is one that pulls you in right away. You will travel down the Long & Winding Road with Penny Lane and her fellow Hearts as they get by with a little help from their friends as they learn that in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. The Hearts convert "A Hard Day's Night" into a "Good Day Sunshine" and soon are singing "I Feel Fine." The Beatles remain a comforting presence throughout the book and a driving force that impels Penny and her fellow Hearts as well.

A heartfelt kudos and thank you to Elizabeth Eulberg. These delightful characters are wonderfully empowering and the Beatle humor brings big smiles to readers' faces. No doubt readers will take some ideas away after having read this book. If you listen to the Beatles while reading this work by this gifted Paperback Writer, you will increase your reading pleasure.

John Lennon's 1970 "Instant Karma," Paul McCartney's 1977 "I've Had Enough" and George Harrison's 1965 "Think For Yourself" underscore a good portion of this book. So do these Beatle classics: "I'll Be Back," "She Loves You," "This Boy," "It Won't Be Long" and "The Long & Winding Road" which are the soundtrack of this book together with "I Want to Tell You," a 1966 George Harrison classic. This gets a high endorsement and a hearty yeah, yeah, yeah from me! I love this book!

Beatles Forever!


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