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Interesting, but hardly letters
on 13 May 2013
A hefty book at a hefty price (pick it up cheaply!) this would be worth the top price if it did in fact contain lots of letters. It doesn't. As has been pointed out elsewhere (I haven't read every review) these pieces range from the fascinating to the mind-bogglingly banal - shopping lists, requests for certain tasks to be done, etc.
On the plus side, they do reveal sides of Lennon's personality you don't often find in regular biographies. He comes across as more human, more caring, often more interesting, than the cliches about him that have been trotted out over the years. The bread-baking househusband or the anxious recluse? These scraps show John Lennon as a person.
Another plus, and what makes these 'letters' different from the usual letters collections, is that they were clearly not written for publication. That might sound obvious, but then John Lennon wasn't a writer, except of songs. Many letters collections are of writers whose main occupation was writing books, and who, you often suspect, wrote their letters like they wrote their journals; with an eye on future publication. This sometimes results in a selfconsciousness that is lacking here. Scraps they may be, but there is a freshness and honesty here that is most appealing. That said, for a hefty tome it's not one that will take you weeks to read!