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Skywriting by Word of Mouth : And Other Writings, Including "The Ballad of…

by John Lennon

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358257,231 (3.64)None
Written in its author's much-imitated, never-duplicated voice, populated with his own illustrations, full of the wit and honesty that helped make him one of the most iconic, polarizing figures of the 20th Century, Skywriting by Word of Mouth is the lost and recovered, posthumously published autobiography of John Lennon.… (more)
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Um. Nope. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
A successor to (and improvement on) In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works, John Lennon's two books of nonsense verse written during the height of Beatlemania, Skywriting by Word of Mouth is an unexpected joy. Written during the late 1970s during Lennon's 'retirement' from music, and published six years after his tragic death, the book shows Lennon unbound, his mind completely free creatively. As the titular story says in its opening, it is "a novelty in 4/4, in which our hero finds himself, ten years later, older, madder, but definitely CURED" (pg. 47). John is evidently having fun, which, when combined with his previously proven talent for this sort of thing, makes for a surprisingly great reading experience.

Warming up the reader with a breezy and candid bio of his post-Beatles years ("I even wrote and recorded the rather embarrassing 'Power to the People'… We kept the royalties, of course." (pg. 25)), the book becomes an occasionally astonishing and always interesting series of short stories. Deploying great imagery and wordplay, Lennon also shows a maturity and craft that wasn't necessarily evident in his two previous nonsense books, and the reader feels the better for it.

It is also genuinely funny, not only in its wordplay, but in its daftness and occasional bawdiness, forging yet another mysterious spiritual link between the Beatles and the Pythons. (You could imagine "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you something to chew on, followed by a short pause" (pg. 49) being recited by John Cleese.) Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear are obvious analogies, but it notable that Skywriting by Word of Mouth does not feel diminished by the comparison. This is a book that would stand even if its author was not John Lennon. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jul 18, 2019 |
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I'd always had a fantasy about a woman who would be a beautiful, intellignet, dark-haired, high-cheek-boned, free-spirited artist (à la Juliette Greco).
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Written in its author's much-imitated, never-duplicated voice, populated with his own illustrations, full of the wit and honesty that helped make him one of the most iconic, polarizing figures of the 20th Century, Skywriting by Word of Mouth is the lost and recovered, posthumously published autobiography of John Lennon.

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