Gail Renard is sixteen years old and a Beatlemaniac. She dreams of being a writer but this isn't a suitable occupation for a girl in 1960's Canada.
Give Me A Chance is the true story of Gail's big scoop with John Lennon and is one of those books that will leave you with hope and joy in your heart. Written in a beautifully simple manner (I believe it's transcribed directly from the notes she took during those days), the book documents not only her time during Lennon and Ono's Bed-In but also her own family life and how, in a few short days, she transforms from girl to woman. There's a beautiful innocence to the book and, as Gail's mother would put it, no sex, drugs, or other funny business. In fact, unlike many rock stars, Lennon and Ono are nothing but sweet to Gail, gently pressing their visions of peace and love onto this young woman.
This is a wonderful book and a quick read. I started and finished it during a two hour train journey. The book is decorated with Gail's photos from those eight days as well images of the Beatles memorabilia she'd collected. Whether you're a Beatles fan or not, this is a brilliant true story of stopping at nothing to achieve your dreams. Highly recommended.
With enterprise and guile, young Gail Renard gatecrashed the Lennon's bed-in in Montreal in 1969, and found herself sitting on a sofa with John watching "A hard day's night" on tv while the necessary arrangements took place for her to interview him. Astonishingly, she managed not to pass out on the spot or turn into a gibbering wreck. Instead she kept her head, made the most of her opportunity and provided some much needed practical help to an overburdened team in the following days. Thus she had a ringside seat at the madness that the bed-in engendered, sang on "Give peace a chance", and shared a few quiet moments with her hero. Thank goodness she kept a contemporary record of these extraordinary few days which she can now share with us.
You'll buy this book anyway if you are a Beatle fan, won't you? But you aren't, you'll still enjoy this straightforward, fascinating account of the price of fame. The book also contains some charming, nostalgic photos.
I have always considered myself to be The Beatles No.1 Fan. I grew up loving their music, they were the reason I learnt to play the guitar and their songs were the ones I always play to this day. I have to gracefully concede that after reading "Give Me A Chance", that accolade that I bestowed upon myself all those years ago, does in fact belong to the author Gail Renard.
I have read many books about The Beatles,Lennon and McCartney, trying to get behind the veneer of their public persona that we all know so well. This is as close as I have ever got to understanding Lennon, through the eyes of a quite exceptional 16 year-old girl. So,do we need another Beatles/Lennon book? Probably not. BUT THIS IS THE EXCEPTION. WE NEED THIS ONE. A story, a great untold story coming at you from a different angle. We all know the phrases "I read it from cover to cover" and "I couldn't put it down". I am a painfully slow reader and usually have several on the go. So unusual for me to sit down and read it in one sitting. I wanted it to be longer, but then we have to remember this all takes place over just an extraordinary eight days. I really didn't want the story to end. Leave 'em wanting more a good showbiz tradition.
Gail Renard is an accomplished award-winning screenwriter. I really hope she will write some more books now. She has an endearing easy going conversational style that totally immerses you and is a master storyteller.
Last night, I was transported back to 1969 to a hotel room in Montreal. Strange as it may seem, I felt as if I was living the experience alongside the author too as the atmosphere was there you could almost smell the room's heady mix of floral displays and cigarette smoke. This is a very clever and skilful writer at the top of their game. It was good to see copies from the original notes and I must make a quick point about the overall production/art direction and publishing of the book which again, I thought was excellent.
Gail Renard was an extraordinary teenager, at the tender age of 16 she had a determination, maturity and knew that this was such a historic event that she had to document it for the future. I remember it at the time, but not well. This has given me a much better understanding of it now.
If you are a Beatles fan you are going to want this. If you are a Lennon fan you are going to definitely want this. If you are a Beatles collector you will sell your Rubber Soul to get this. If you don't like The Beatles (Really?) but enjoy a good story you will enjoy this.
Gail Renard is a bit of a dark horse, she made me smile and she made me cry.
Not being a great Beatles fan I was very pleasantly surprised at the contents. Very much alive at the time but not in Canada I was quite taken by the way the writer invoked the spirit of the days. I couldn't put it down, and not because I was eating a jam sandwhich and my fingers were sticky. An easy and interesting read which could only have been made more easy if the print was bigger. Well, the eyes aren't what they were.
I really enjoyed this book,i just could not put the book down. I remember the time so well and just thought how lucky gail was, it was just a dream come true . I also felt it was so refreshing being written from a young girls point of view. Would reccomend this book to anyone . Great easy read uplifting. I loved it
Although the story only takes place over 8 days, it feels a lot longer as it's such a packed book, full of insights, happenings and memories from Gail. I am a Beatles fan. I love their sound and the way their music was so different - even though I was a mid 70s baby, in many ways, music from the late 60s to late 70s is what I love most. Gail's story is very special, I feel really inspired having read it. Gail was one of many fans who flocked to the hotel in Montreal where John and Yoko where staying for their Bed-In, but unlike the other fans, she thought outside the box and took steps to get right outside their hotel door, and then met both John and Yoko and went on to interview them and spend time with them.
Give Me a Chance is told in such a way that I found it easy to empathise with just how surreal what Gail experienced was. Not only did Gail get to meet and talk to her hero, she got to spend 8 days with him, ultimately getting to know him and his newlywed wife Yoko, as well as their daughter Kyoko. From that a friendship grew. It just goes to show that being in the right place, at the right time and showing initiative does work....I think in today's climate you'd be hard pushed to get this close to a rock star in this way on your own steam!
Gail shares her fond memories of how hectic those 8 days were, and also the isolated and sometimes, terrifying life which a celebrity has to live with. I didn't know anything about the Bed-In prior to reading this book, but feel I understand the whys and hows now. A great read which had me fascinated. I can only imagine what it would be like if it happened to me with my idols!! This is the book dreams are made of, yet for Gail it was a living reality. How exciting to have a song composed by your favorite band member, right in front of you...not only that, Gail got to take part in the whole experience. So fantastic and such memories to treasure!
With the crisis currently in Egypt and conflict elsewhere in the world, John and Yoko's message is still as relevant today as it was in 1969. Give Peace a Chance.
A personal, warm, lovely book about a very special time for one girl growing up in an extraordinary set of circumstances -- who could resists spending a week with John and Yoko? Gail Renard's moment of self-discovery, involvement and hilarious mishaps is a must for every Beatles fan, everyone who experienced the life-changing social arena of the Sixties, and every young person today who is trying to figure out his or her place in this craziness we call the universe. Terrific
This is a personal record of an extraordinary eight days in 1969 when, through a combination of luck and determination an intelligent teenager joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their now famous 'Bed-In for Peace.' Based on her diary notes of the time and written with the innocence of a besotted fan, it strangely lacks sentiment but conveys truthfulness. Vietnam was then the issue but the 'Bed-In', despite its eccentricity proved that musical celebrity could usefully attract attention to peaceful protest, hence this account has serious resonance now. Renard colourfully records the chaotic atmosphere within that claustrophic hotel room; the fans, the famous, the press, the intruders, the critics and even the threats. You can smell the stale food, the drink and imagine the litter. There are magic moments, one when her anxious mother insists on speaking to Lennon on the telephone and, completely unimpressed by his celebrity, lays down rules for her visit. No sex, no drugs and she must be home by her normal bedtime. An astonished and somewhat intimidated Lennon complies. Her account of the recording of his famous anthem 'Give Peace a Chance' in the hotel room which was quickly converted into a makeshift recording studio, is hilarious particularly when she casually throws in that she herself picked up a tambourine and 'bashed it!' She dreamt of becoming a writer and, though just sixteen, did what 'grown-up' writers do, note every experience in detail. Her dream became a reality. Lennon, who gave her her first break by ensuring that her article about him was published, would have been proud of what she has since achieved. The attractive design utilises priceless snapshots, fragments of mementoes, glimpses of her 'beatlemania' bedroom and snippets of her orginal typewritten diary, complete with typos. In her own words, "I was having the time of my life, but I also had the sense to know that I was surrounded by courageous special people who stood up for what they believed.'
At long last a more honest and heartwarming view of John Lennon and Yoko Ono from someone who has actually spent some time with them. This is such a refreshing change from the picture painted for example in "Shout" by Philip Norman, a fine writer but someone who never really knew John Lennon for any great length of time. By sharing her memories Gail Renard has shown us a very different view from the numerous so-called Beatles biographers. What foresight she had in keeping a written record on a daily basis during those eight incredible days at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. "Give Me a Chance" will make a fine gift for a Beatles fan or indeed anyone who wishes to learn more about John Lennon during the late 1960's period, a time of great change both within The Beatles and the wider world. This book is very addictive and likely to be read in one sitting initially. Plenty of depth though for countless re-reads!