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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 13 December 2009
I've been a very big Beatles fan for all my life, but only discovered this book recently.

It was thoroughly researched over a number of years (as the author tells you at the beginning of the book). It's told like a wonderful novel - full of well written descriptions that transport you back to 1957 and as though you're right there with them. So you can enjoy this book as a lovely story, but with the added, warm satisfaction that you know it's about real, legendary people and the real momentous day.
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Well, this is a novel more than a factual book. Although it takes you through the whole day (with historical facts thrown in), it reads more like a story. Also, if you consider that even people who were there (including the members of the Quarrymen and Paul McCartney) have conflicting stories, it is impossible to be absolutely certain about what happened. Paul, for example, always says he sang for John in the hall before the second show. Len Garry says he does not remember that - in fact, in his book, he did not give the meeting much importance at all at the time! Pete Shotton also seems hazy on when/where Paul met them and Paul did not seem to watch all of the first show and did not stay around for the second. Did he even take his guitar when he arrived by bike? Who knows? The fact is that the two most talented songwriters of all time, young, beautiful and destined to do amazing things, definitely DID meet for the first time on that day. So, it is a day enshrined in history and Beatle myth forever. If you are a fan, then you will understand this book. If not, then perhaps it is not for you. This is a book for the super fan. The ones who care that Paul was wearing a white sports jacket (leading John to follow suit by the time they first appeared together) and that John consulted with Pete about whether to have someone who could compete with him in the band. For the Beatlefan, this is, however, a must read. I loved it.
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on 13 May 2011
Certainly this book is for the serious fan,if only because I can't imagine anyone else being tempted to purchase a copy. Having said that,the book is as much a well observed and affectionate snapshot of Liverpool in the late fifties as it is a music book per se. There is more than a hint of Joyce's Ulysses in the unfolding of the tale, although who would be Bloom and who Stepehen Dedalus would be hard to say!So:a great idea,well told and with genuine drama, a book which any lover of books,and not just a Beatles completist, could well enjoy.
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on 22 March 1999
How did such a normal day lead to such a phenomenen? Was it destiny? Did John Lennon and Paul McCartney have any idea as teenagers as to what lay ahead of them? These are questions that can never be answered, but eight years of painstaking research and a little artistic license has produced a book which plants many a romantic thought in the mind about how the Beatles started. "The Day John Met Paul" is a book about the 6th of July 1957, focusing primarily on events in Woolton, a leafy suburb of Liverpool, where a local village fete leads to the first meeting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, later to become the driving forces behind the band that became the Beatles. Author JimO'Donnell describes these events as a present-tense review of the day, and it is this approach as well as the remarkable factual detail which makes his book unique and compelling. His introduction to the book is mesmerising in itself, as he explains how his research sought to capture the atmosphere of that place at that time. He also describes world events which were happening simultaneously, taking into account time differences, meaning that these events were literally happening at the precise moments. This gives emphasis on the physical normality of what happened that day but as it is written now, it is an experience to read the book while obviously knowing what happened subsequently. This is where O'Donnell engrosses the reader, forcing us to imagine the scenes taking place, and the book, although really an acquired taste, actually works on a historical level as well. For those who never saw 1957, images are conjured of life at that time on a Saturday in the middle of summer. What O'Donnell also acheives is as mentioned the romanticism of the Beatles story and myth and the idea that the real reason for their success and incredible longevity as a part of people's lives was the personal relationships between them and the higher spiritual plane that they seemed to stumble on together. As Paul watches John play at the fete, and later vice versa, there is a "meeting of minds" and a sharp vision. Whether the true story was anything like this is always open to speculation, but the telling phrases used by O'Donnell in his book lead us to believe that was a union so important that it must have been written in the stars. O'Donnell starts off from the early hours of the morning as the teenagers and most of Liverpool sleeps, and he describes the surrounding scene before the main protagonists have had a chance to contribute to events of the day. We see the build-up to the event which, while not big in itself, began something special, and as the event unfolds, his vivid imagination is given full rein as he describes what might have been going through their minds, and how they were spurred on not just by the sound of the music but what it really meant to them on a personal level, creating the collective vision that would eventually be shared with the world. This is of course primarily a book for Beatlemaniacs and positively demands multiple readings and musings.
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on 12 March 1999
This is a beautifully atmospheric tale. The writing is so skilled you forget that you're reading; it's like someone is whispering in your ear. You can practically smell the beer on young John Lennon's breath. This is a wonderfully detailed, lovingly told and quite original addition to the Beatles collection of any serious fan. Few rock bios actually touch your heart; few even try. This one does. It's absolutely haunting.
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on 2 October 2013
This book should be part of the school curriculum in musical/historical education. Because without this day in 1957, our musical memories would be very different to what they are today. Thank god for that meeting. Highly recommend this as a great read for everyone, and not just Beatle fans.
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on 30 November 1997
Jim O'Donnell is a very gifted writer. His descriptions of the past are like painted murals in our imagination. The images he creates with his words take us back in time when John Lennon and Paul McCartney were teenagers, in Liverpool, England, and the world was just learning how to rock around the clock. I couldn't put this book down. Besides his great writing ability, it is very obvious that Mr. O'Donnell has done his research well. This book will NOT insult the intelligence of any Beatles' fan. It will make the reader understand a little more of the genius behind the remarkable songwriting team of Lennon and McCartney. Their strong differences of personalities brought John and Paul together... and yet, drew them closer. The author, I feel, has done the job well.
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on 19 February 2013
Interesting interpretation , very well researched , sometimes over the top with with descriptions of unknown detail but well worth the read
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on 19 March 2014
The writer cant know evrything that happened, you would of had to of been there, only sumising, good read, sad as to the ending.
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on 18 September 2015
A good read but sometimes language used is bit too poetic and sentimental. Contains lots of interesting facts.
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