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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sad childhood of John's little sister
The flood of biographies of the Beatles and their friends and families shows no sign of abating. Most of them repeat much of what we already know, with the occasional new insight or anecdote. This book stands out from the rest. As another reviewer puts it, this is "worthy in its own write [nice allusion!] as an autobiography of Julia Baird". Her story of her childhood...
Published on 5 Jan 2008 by Bob Sherunkle

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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A melee of houses and bitterness.......
Lets get one thing straight about this book. Much of it is sad, touching and extremely open and honest, almost Julia's version of John's Primal Scream album from 1970.
Where Julia lets herself down, and having heard her story develop over many years at each Beatle Convention in Liverpool, is her obsession about houses, who owns them, who should own them and who has...
Published on 20 Oct 2007 by L. Curtis


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sad childhood of John's little sister, 5 Jan 2008
By 
Bob Sherunkle (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
The flood of biographies of the Beatles and their friends and families shows no sign of abating. Most of them repeat much of what we already know, with the occasional new insight or anecdote. This book stands out from the rest. As another reviewer puts it, this is "worthy in its own write [nice allusion!] as an autobiography of Julia Baird". Her story of her childhood would hit home even in an alternate universe where the Beatles had never happened.

We have long known that John was brought up by his Aunt Mimi, and that his mother's death in a road accident cruelly ended his chance to form an independent relationship with her. This book portrays as never before the stern matriarchy of the Stanley family, in which "keeping up appearances" was paramount. Although John's mother (Julia senior) was adored by her sisters, they came to see her as the black sheep of the family, and this contributed to the fractured, unhappy life of her and her children.

Julia Baird tells us about the sunshine as well as the shadows, and her love and admiration for her charismatic mother and brother are very evident. However, without stating the obvious she leaves us in little doubt why John, once plunged into the goldfish bowl of Beatlemania, had his own share of relationship problems.

Much of the book hinges around Mimi's alleged moral hypocrisy. According to Julia Baird, Mimi on her deathbed said she was frightened of dying because she had been so wicked. In her own biography of John, Cynthia Lennon (who is just as well-qualified to judge Mimi) quotes Julia's allegation, so it rings true.

Hopefully it is some small consolation to Julia Baird that her mother's name lives on in John's touching ballad "Julia" and in Julian's name too.

As in many accounts of John, Yoko is depicted in less than flattering terms.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open, honest, & excellent!, 29 Mar 2007
I recently finished reading this book and found it to be (what I consider) a truthful account of what John & his sisters life was like as children and the life-long affect it has had on them. Most books written about John 'gloss' over the early years with Aunt Mimi, Uncle George, his mother Julia and his sisters. We have always read about the puritanical Mimi and the fun, beautiful,carefree Julia. Ms. Baird however, introduces us to everyone through her eyes and in doing so, offers the reader a very rare insight into their lives and the emotional rollercoster they had to ride. With great clarity we can sense the raw, heart wrenching pain they experienced in losing their mother and ultimately, their determination to survive.

As stated in the previous review, the only other account that we have of John that is written with complete honesty are those written by Cynthia Lennon; 'A Twist of Lennon' and 'Lennon'.

Thank you Julia, for this wonderful glimpse of 'Growing up with John'.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful. Worthy in its own write as an autobiography of Julia Baird., 28 Mar 2007
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This is a very moving and intimate account of love and anguish, intimacy and permanent longing.

I really enjoyed reading the recent biography of John Lennon by Cynthia. It opened up a substantive and new angle from which "Lennonologists" could view the object of their interest. In particular, there were shadings of Aunt Mimi in a slightly less than a "couldn't put a foot wrong" light. Having read Julia Baird's earlier book on John I was anxious to read this one, especially as there were initial reviews saying there would be much more information on the early years of John's life.

From the outset I wish to stress that this book is not really one for Beatles / Lennon fans who do not want to scratch beneath the surface. Much of the already overly published accounts of the Beatles and their rise to fame are thankfully mentioned in passing. This book has the resounding theme of the woefully premature loss of a beautiful (inside and out) mother and "wife" by her children and her "husband". (The quotation marks are not meant to convey disrespect; only legal accuracy.)

It explores the pain and betrayal of those affected by the stigma of not having had a stable family, and the loss of identity that ensues. I wish to stress once more: it is worth reading this book for the author's own life story; the John Lennon theme is almost an additional merit of its content.

The portrayals of the usually encountered personae from the Lennon history in this book are eye-opening, or even revolutionary. The inclusion of those not normally mentioned helps to build up a clearer picture. I don't want to spoil any of the surprises. Let's just say that anyone wishing to know more about the reasons why John Lennon was the way that he was should not hesitate - buy it. If you've ever wanted to know more about John's family... Julia (snr), the Stanley sisters, Albert Dykins, his sisters and cousins, this is the only book to my knowledge that contains the necessary information.

As with the other, aforementioned Lennon biography, this one has a tone of intimacy and open honesty. There is almost a potted history of how a severely wronged person goes through the various stages of denial, anger and evolving into forgiveness or at least acceptance.

I don't think there will be another Lennon book written which will be worth reading after the two mentioned in this review. I'd like to be proven wrong, but I don't think there is anyone else who knew him as well as these two authors and who would be able to write such human and intimate recollections.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A personal story, 7 Dec 2010
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I just finished reading this book, and it's a very personal story about John Lennon's childhood.
It cleared up all sorts of misconceptions for me, and Ms Baird achieved what she set out to do, and that was to clear their mother's name. I certainly felt a great deal of sympathy for Ms Baird, and I hope that by writing about the series of tragedies that blighted her life, she has felt some relief.
It was an eye opener to know what really happened in John's childhood. His sister's account comes across as very honest, and balanced. I didnt detect any bitterness from the author. Just a desire to tell the true story.
It's hard to understand the actions of Yoko Ono towards John's sisters, and I could understand the feelings this would create in Ms Baird's mind. She wanted to hang on to John, her brother, and the house he gave her and her sister was a link with him. They shared a mother and they shared the grief of losing her, and Yoko's attitude seemed callous in the extreme.
I also felt sympathy for John himself. He was basically used as a pawn by his Aunties, and even his father tried to take him away from his mother. Poor boy must have been totally confused and insecure.
This book is well worth reading if you are interested in John Lennon's upbringing and family history. I found it very readable, and it was interesting to see where his musical talent originated.
The saddest part for me was that his mother never lived to see his success.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute must!, 9 Jan 2010
For anyone who has loved and grown up with the Beatles, who 'knows all about them' this book cannot be ignored. It is a revelation seeing John through the eyes of his sister and Julia through the eyes of her eldest daughter. And though this book is not specifically about John Lennon , in it John 'The Legend' becomes John the human being and Julia the flighty, child dropping scatter-brain, becomes an absolutely extraordinary woman and and a mother who gave herself so totally to her children - all of them - that the tragedy of her death is all the more heart-breaking. As anyone who has lost their mother prematurely knows. The more so because her children have had to live with pain and humiliation of the lies told and published about their mother which must have been bitter indeed. It was a wonderful book to read and long overdue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleeping sand, silent cloud..., 31 Dec 2012
By 
I absolutely loved this book, & found it very hard to put down once I started reading.
Julia has done a first-class job in putting the record straight over the public persona of her mother, who has all-too-often been the victim of unfair & untrue misrepresentation by many who have written (or even made films) concerning her famous brother's life.

Julia's a very talented writer, & has really brought her lovely mother to life to me through her honest & heartfelt words. She shares her precious childhood memories here (often tinged with tragedy & loss) in a very intimate & moving way, as we gradually move from the 1940s & through her life's journey to the present day.

This is very much Julia's story (where John is a side-character) & charts her own life, seeing her much-loved brother (& her relationship with him) through her own eyes. We finally learn the truth of John's lovely mother, & the tragic fall-out that her sudden & untimely death caused to those closest to her.

I found the whole book very touching & inspiring, & felt humbled in the way that Julia has always strived to lead a quiet life (very rarely revealing to others her claim to fame, or basking in her brother's reflected glory when she so easily could have done).

She has, in a less public way, played her own part in affecting the world in a positive way through humanitarian affairs, helping others through charitable causes, & making life better through her work with disadvantaged young people with whom she feels so much empathy.

This has been such an honest, touching & illuminating read, and I thank Julia so much for sharing her precious memories with me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imagine This - Book on John Lennon, 29 Nov 2012
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I was curious to see what a family member would have to say about John Lennon. His half sister Julia tells her story, much of which is focussed reasonably enough in the early part of John's life in Liverpool. It's clear she loses touch somewhat as the Beatles take off and then completely when John gets together with Yoko. An interesting read for any Lennon fan. If you also read Cynthia's book 'John' the picture does become clearer in my view. I bought this book in used - good condition, and for a couple of pounds I have no complaints whatsoever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real story, 17 April 2012
I enjoyed watching the film 'nowhere boy' on which this book was based, but the book tells quite a different story. If you are a Lennon fan you must read this book. It has been beautifully written by his sister and tells a heartfelt story about a complicated and multi layed family life which ultimately affected the whole family, including John, forever
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A REMARKABLE FAMILY, 7 Jan 2012
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I have read several books on the Beatles over the years and I have to say this is the best one. It deals with Johns early life and just as importantly that of his family. They certainly had more than their share of unpleasant trials and tribulations in their lives and life must have seemed very bleak indeed. John loved his mother unreservedly untill the end of his life as did his sisters Julia and Jackie although her own sisters could have been kinder to her. All in all the author is to be congratulated on a very well written and absorbing book, a credit to the Lennon family. I love a good read and this was certainly one of them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 24 Sep 2009
It beggars belief that a whole family would scheme together to hide the death of their mother from two small girls. What on earth did they think it would achieve? Anyway, this is an interesting read and gives a good insight into the complicated family that John Lennon was born into and the relationship between him and his two younger sisters. The Stanley family come across as quite tough and emotionless and it is very, very sad that the girls were not allowed to stay with their father.

Yet again Yoko gets a pasting but I do find it staggering though how conniving, scheming and manipulative she was. It seemed petty beyond belief to keep houses that she didn't want, need or care for rather than hand them over to the family. He left his entire family relying on the whims of one strange woman.

Don't read this book if you are looking into the music of The Beatles or the background of any of the songs. It is a very personal story

Give John's family their inheritance Yoko. How Do You Sleep?
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