Biography Cynthia Lennon John

ISBN 13: 9780307338556

John

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9780307338556: John

The Extraordinary Story of a Man, a Legend and a Marriage

When she was eighteen years old, a girl named Cynthia Powell met a boy named John Lennon and they fell in love. Their ten-year relationship coincided with the start of the Beatles phenomenon—from Liverpool’s dockside clubs to the dizzying worldwide fame that followed. And Cynthia Lennon, John’s first wife, was an integral part of the swirl of events that are now an indelible part of the history of rock and roll.

In John, Cynthia recalls those times with the loving honesty of an insider, offering new and fascinating insights into the life of John Lennon and the early days of the Beatles. And with the perspective only years can provide she also tells the compelling story of her marriage to a man who was to become a music legend, a cultural hero and a defining figure of the twentieth century.

Cynthia has seldom talked in any detail about her marriage and the painful events that followed John’s tragic assassination in 1980. Now she candidly reveals the good and the bad, the loving and the cruel sides of John. She tells of the breakdown of their marriage and the beginning of his relationship with Yoko Ono in more detail than has ever been disclosed before and documents the difficulties estrangement from John—and his subsequent death—brought for herself and their son, Julian.

In John, Cynthia Lennon has created a vivid portrait of the 1960s, the Beatles and the man she never stopped loving.
The time has come when I feel ready to tell the truth about John and me, our years together and the years since his death. There is so much that I have never said, so many incidents I have never spoken of and so many feelings I have never expressed: great love on one hand; pain, torment and humiliation on the other. Only I know what really happened between us, why we stayed together, why we parted and the price I have paid for being John’s wife.

I want to tell the real story of the real John—the infuriating, lovable, sometimes cruel, funny, talented and needy man who made such an impact on the world. —From the Introduction

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Review:

This isn't Cynthia Lennon's first book about her legendary ex-husband. A Twist of Lennon--a slim volume that John tried to suppress on grounds of libel--came out in 1978. But now, 25 years after his death, she finally feels ready to tell the "full and truthful story" of their life together. Why? In his foreword, son Julian writes of their being "dismissed or at best treated as insignificant bit players" in the story of John's life; it's Cynthia's goal, with John, to set the record straight. She does make a case for being more than just "the impressionable young girl who fell for him, then trapped him into marriage," and it's moving to read, in his own words, of John's love for his son. And while there's nothing new in her account of the Fab Four's rise to fame, as the greatest success story of the rock era, it's a legend that bears retelling. But most salient of all are Cynthia's sketches of pain, regret, and intimidation. John was indeed a brilliant, loving man, but he was also "passionately jealous," "verbally cutting," sometimes abusive, and often neglectful. (It is hinted that his behavior may have paralleled that of the woman who raised him, his Aunt Mimi.) Unfortunately, Cynthia's "response to John's provocative and cruel behavior was to stick by him more solidly than ever...[feeling] that if he could trust me and believe that I loved him he might soften."

It's not this dysfunction, however, but rather John's use of LSD, on which she blames the emotional "chasm" that led to the failure of their marriage. And though the Lennons' divorce comes relatively late in the book, the pages that follow are by far the saddest, as they chronicle John's increasing distance from and neglect of his former family--especially Julian, who would only see his father three times after he moved to New York in 1971. It's no surprise that Cynthia lays much of the blame for this at the feet of Yoko Ono, who is described as controlling and insensitive, especially in the wake of John's murder. But even though there's a lot of bitterness and resentment in these pages, it's not overwhelming, being offset by Cynthia's fierce love for her son and her continuing affection for her ex-husband. A full picture of John Lennon's life will never exist as long as Ono judges herself unable to write about their time together, but John goes a long way toward improving the situation. --Benjamin Lukoff

About the Author:

Cynthia Lennon was born in Blackpool, England, in 1939. While attending the Liverpool College of Art she met John Lennon, whose rebellious style, caustic wit and passion for rock and roll already marked him as someone different. John and Cynthia married in 1962 and their son, Julian, was born in 1963. The Lennons were divorced in 1969. Cynthia retained custody of Julian, who saw his father sporadically until John was killed in 1980. In the years since, Cynthia has been a restaurateur, a designer and a television personality. She now lives in Spain with her husband, Noel Charles.

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