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John Paperback – 10 Apr 2006
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'fascinating...all Beatles fans will be interested in the book, the best in recent years'. (The Sunday Times)
'an engaging memoir... along the way, it offers a fascinating glimpse into an altogether
more innocent age, before star-makers and svengalis began colluding with marketing
men and TV execs ...'
'vivid and engaging... refreshingly free of bitterness.' (Mail on Sunday)
'A fascinating first-hand account of one of the most bizarre phenomena of the 20th century.' (Sunday Telegraph)
'Fascinating stuff' (Evening Standard)
'loving but candid... vividly captures the time and place and the characters.' (Washington Post)
'A fascinating read that offers an insight into a brilliant and complex man.' (The Sun)
The international bestselling memoir of the most idolised Beatle, John Lennon - by his first wife Cynthia.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
I am sure she and Julian could never reproduce the millionaire lifestyle in stockbroker Surrey that was forfeited when Yoko Ono came along but not having "any money and just scraping by" - well, thats like millions of other kids growing up in the 70's and 80's and they still had a lot more than we did growing up so , not having anything , is only relative in context to what Cynthia had got used to as the wife of a Beatle .
Saddest of all for me, particularly as John himself had been robbed of both of his parents at a very young age , was his almost disregard of son Julian after John met Yoko Ono and the fact that John left nothing at all in his will for Julian . I think this was eventually sorted out the Julian claimed from John's estate but it doesn't replace the loss of John as a father .
Yoko Ono wouldn't be my first choice of stepmother - and I feel sure she set out to trap and capture John Lennon , not caring who she destroyed in the process - I find her controlling and unlikeable but I can see how John needed a Mimi replacement to manage his fragile and rapidly unravelling life .
I like to think that had John lived , he would have found out that he didn't really need her .
One last word. It left me with a great deal of respect for Cynthia, but the greatest thing of all, John's musical genius, remains undimmed.
"John" by Cynthia Lennon is the story about who they were before they met, about Cynthia's marriage to the famous Beatle, how John ran off with Yoko, and how she managed after his rejection to resolve things amicably. We see John the person, and not as much of John the musician.
History knows most of what happened during John's short life. Few details have been left uncovered. Most of what is known about the former Cynthia Powell is in the shadow of John Lennon. What she does here is shine the light on the John Lennon she knew, revealing John's own shadows and dark side.
The bulk of the book is candid.
She remarks how John, the world peacemaker, said, "Give peace a chance," as he lay in bed with Yoko. Young son Julian watched at home, asking his mother why his father was with another woman. John, she asserts, was very good to his fans, even at the height of the Beatles' popularity.
There are plenty of Beatle stories here, retold from the vantage of an active participant. Some of it is familiar territory to any fan of the Fab Four. Because of the Beatles' well-documented history, the context is easy to follow. From John's first time hitting on Cynthia while she was still engaged to someone else, to her description of how she processed John's death and George's deadly cancer, and what happened to all those who were part of the John Lennon story.
"John" is not in the least sentimental. John's drug use is mentioned matter-of-factly. The slow realization that John was methodically cheating on her with Yoko is covered, as is his casual admission that he had otherwise been frequently unfaithful with many other women.
This is not a John Lennon the seer love fest. Somehow, though, despite John's selfish arrogance during their marriage and later rejection, she seems to have loved him throughout.
How much of this is true? After all, wasn't she the one he left? Isn't she bitter that John did not love her as much as he once claimed? Doesn't that anger filter her choice of stories and wording? Cynthia herself ran through three husbands before settling on her fourth and current spouse. She was not then, is not now naive, and surely understands the ramifications of "John" on John Lennon lore.
I fully recommend "John" by Cynthia Lennon. It may not be the whole, unadulterated truth, but it should help hardcore fans sort through the mass of rumor, hogwash and facts residing about Lennon in popular culture.
I always thought of Cynthia as a beautiful and kind woman, which she clearly was. I also find it fascinating that she holds no bitterness in this book and I truly believe she loved John until the day she died. I wish John had had more respect for her and Julian but suspect his own tough childhood made this almost impossible for him to do. Nonetheless, this book also emphasises the charisma and great talent John and the Beatles had and how wonderful it was to be a part of that and the sixties.
I do hope Cynthia is at peace now and has found the love she truly deserved.