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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 August 2017
Excellent
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on 13 June 2017
Its OK - I think Cynthia Lennon had a lot to put up with which was already obvious to most of us aware of the whole story . But theres really nothing new in the revelations she made in this book - I hope she made some money from it .
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 .
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on 6 August 2017
Cynthia just chronicles The Beatles' history without shedding any real light on her relationship with John. She mentions events, such as concert tours, going on holidays, and meeting famous people but there is no insight into her relationship with John. Readers already know the events, and she could have coloured their history with memories, but a lot of the time she just lists events and doesn't get into any detail. With the exception of one or two anecdotes, there is nothing here that Beatles fans wouldn't know already. Cynthia sounds like a passive/aggressive teenage girl who just got dumped.

An unfair picture of Yoko Ono is also given. Even if Ono had planned to lure John away from her, John was an adult and it was his choice. It is predictable that the jilted wife would paint such an unflattering portrait of the woman who married her ex-husband, but it borders on petty bitterness, and the delight she takes in mocking her (or hearing others mock her) is quite tasteless. The book obviously intends to generate sympathy for her, but as I read this I got the impression that she felt entitled to being a much bigger part of John's after the divorce, and not just because of their son.
Cynthia mentions John was not loving towards her near the divorce, but maybe there was a reason for that? Cynthia never understood John's reasons for doing anything and she can't ever explain, and this is why I never felt any sympathy for her because it is all history without detail. She recounts events, and her feelings but never tries to tell people what John's given reasons were for things. She tells readers that John confessed to affairs, but never reveals why John felt he needed to be unfaithful to her. He must have given her reasons because she must have asked at the time. After the divorce, Cynthia mentions several times how a lot of people were sympathetic to her, and how some of the people in the Beatles' inner circle also blamed Ono, as if to show that everyone thought she had been wronged and agreed with her moral position after the divorce.

This whole book seems to be about Cynthia's bitterness about her being absent from John's later life, and how the divorce made it impossible for her to benefit from John's legacy, which, she seems to think she has a right. As an ex-wife, legally she is not a beneficiary or spokesperson for John, and she feels so bitter about being excluded from his life and legacy following the divorce. However, it stands to reason that she couldn't have expected John to have included her in his life to any great extent after that. Most divorced people move on, but for her it was humiliating, and it seems while John was alive she still felt she should be as important as she was to him while they were married . In Hunter Davies' collection of John Lennon's letters, John implied that Cynthia had been trying to stop Julian contacting her. In one letter, he even alleged that during his brief separation from Yoko Ono, Cynthia asked John to remarry her and have another child with her when she visited him with Julian. John also said that Cynthia had tried to stop Julian from seeing her when he got back together with Ono. Since there is no proof of anything from either side, it is hard to accept any account of their history as the truth. A lot of people have judged John on this account alone, having seen the various reviews of this book, but this is a one-sided story. John would have provided his reasons but he did not get a chance. Had he lived, I am sure he would have addressed the criticisms. This book can never be the last word on Cynthia and John's marriage and relationship. All those people who say their opinion of John has been lowered by reading this have clearly accepted Cynthia's story and her reasoning of John's behaviour as the truth, but things may not have been the way she has presented, but John outgrew her, and there is no reason he should have stayed with her if he was unhappy, which he clearly was. When he married her, he was a teenager and like most people of his age, looks were more important than anything else. He changed over time, and and he realised she wasn't the one for him. Many Bealtes books recount how John mainly married Cynthia because she got pregnant because that was what many people did in that period, but as he grew up, he wanted someone who challenged him intellectually, someone who he could share his madness with, and Cynthia doesn't seem to get that.
As for Julian, it is hardly surprising that his life with John was disrupted after the marriage. When one parent gets custody of a child, things are never the same, and obviously it does severely affect the relationship. Maybe Julian did deserve to have more time with his father, but divorce is hard on all children who see their parent's split up, so why did Cynthia expect it to be plain sailing?
Life is unfair and cruel, and bad things could happen to anyone. It seems Cynthia felt that John should have stayed with her for the sake of Julian but no one should stay in a happy marriage. Things were far from perfect even when John and Cynthia were married because John hardly had time for Julian even then. In later life John admitted his faults as a father and he said that Sena was a planned child - he was prepared for fatherhood and the responsibility that came with it. With Julian, he was not prepared, and being so busy with Beatles stuff, there was no hope for him to have had time for him. Obviously that meant they were never close, and Julian always saw him as an outsider too for this reason, and Cynthia doesn't touch upon that.

I feel this book is a huge whinge-fest, and character assassination of a talented but flawed man who was showing a lot of positive change in the years before he was murdered. Just because Cynthia was once his wife doesn't mean people have to accept this account as being a true reflection of John because it was written by someone who was rejected by him.

Cynthia passed away recently, and a lot of people feel she had a tragic life, which is far from true. She exploited the Lennon name as much as was legally possible, and was always bitter about not being able gain more from her association with John. She accepted the dovoc settlement and the financial arrangements made for Julian before John died. She was well-spoken and articulate, and had a wholesome image but look into her history, especially after the divorce and also after John's death, she made a lot of effort to make claims to John's legacy and was always complaining. She criticises Yoko Ono a lot in this book, but she exploited John's name and memory for money too, and there was nothing inherently better about her.

In all, I don't recommend this book.
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on 4 July 2017
Enjoyed sad story . Extraordinary life. I'm glad Julian is doing well . Rest in peace Cyn and John also Maureen Cox and George Harrison xxxx
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on 24 July 2017
I read this book many years ago as a teenager. I highly recommend it.

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.
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on 15 September 2016
Didn't really say anything we haven't all heard a thousand different ways in previoys biographies and tales of the Beatles but an interesting read
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on 31 December 2005
Before John Lennon cheated on his first wife Cynthia and left her and their son Julian, they had what seems to have been a generally loving marriage. This book demythologizes John, and his first marriage.
"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.
Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com
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on 18 July 2006
Having not been alive during the beatlemania and knowing very little about the band I love so much this book was a heaven sent. I did not put it down from the moment it came through my door. By the time I had finished I was extremly grateful to Cynthia for writing her tale as it cleared so many things about John that had been smothered in rumour and I learnt so much about the man I admire. Although some of it is hard to read as she reveals the less well known often disparaging side of John, but she writes with such strength of character and I have nothing but admiration for her. I feel such sadness that we will never hear John's side of the story, and as probably predicted Cynthia's story may well be in some parts one sided. But we must understand that in any situation a divorce is hard but what she went through with Julian in those circumstances is admirable to say the least. But, without a doubt this is an amzing read for any John Lennon fan and as one of the younger ones I may say that is a great way to finmd out more.
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on 9 January 2010
John Lennon is as fascinating as a human being as he is a legend. A revealing view of the women in his life gives depth to the teen mag mop-top that we all grew up with. This was one of the most famous and influential men of the last century. And a partial view of what he was like behind the scenes, as it were, only adds to his mystique. It was about time that someone who really knew him set us straight. It must have been excruciating for these people to live in his shadow. Cynthia and Julian are two of the bravest people I know.
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on 7 July 2017
happy with my new book
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