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John by Cynthia Lennon
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John (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Cynthia Lennon

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4742139,084 (3.63)7
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. InJohn, 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. InJohn, Cynthia Lennon has created a vivid portrait of the 1960s, the Beatles and the man she never stopped loving. The time has comewhen 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 h∧ 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… (more)
Member:RonShore
Title:John
Authors:Cynthia Lennon
Info:Three Rivers Press (2006), Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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John by Cynthia Lennon (2005)

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English (17)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I read this book knowing that I wasn't going to like some of the story of John Lennon, but what I didn't know was that Cynthia was going to come off as an enabler. "Oh, he hit me, but it was only once." "Oh, I suspected there were other women, but if he loved me, that was okay."

While there are many sides to this story, the book only confirmed my feelings that Yoko Ono is a creep. I will always feel sorry for Julian Lennon, who seems to have lost the most in this story. ( )
  dariazeoli | May 28, 2019 |
I have had such a long desire to read this book that at times I cannot believe I actually got my hands on a copy. For years, every time I have gone into a bookstore, I use their self-search kiosks to see if they had this book on the shelves. For years, it was never there. Of course I could always find it online and have it shipped to my door in 5 working business days, but I had gotten it in my head that I needed to go to a physical book store and buy a physical copy. After all the searching I had done, that was the only way I was going to be truly pleased. And then one day this summer, I was in New York City at the Barnes & Noble on the Upper East Side, telling myself that any books I bought now would only add weight to my suitcase on the plane ride home, and I found it. It was the only copy on the shelf, and it wasn't even the cover/edition I had my eyes on. But I had wanted it for so long, I was in New York, and I needed this book.

Worth. The. Wait.

John is amazing. I have had such a struggle in the past with my admiration of John Lennon. Right from the beginning of my love affair with the Beatles, I always called John my favorite. I have no idea why - maybe it was the glasses. But after years of denial of the kind of person he was and the things he did to the people he once loved, I forced myself to admit that he was not the person I had built up in my head. I abandoned him as my favorite and set out to choose another one (right now I pick George because I don't know anything about him yet). Once realising that Cynthia, his first wife and mother of his first child, had written about his life both before and during the rise of the Beatles, I knew I needed to read the book to come to terms with myself and remind myself that the image of John Lennon in my head I had crafted and had resembled something far away from the man he had actually become. And like previously mentioned, it was worth the pain and struggle I went through to track the book down. I don't know if Cynthia had a ghost writer or a helper assisting her in writing her story, but it was very well-written. Sometimes I almost forgot how big the Beatles were during the 60s, just because Cynthia writes from the sidelines of the story and not the centre. It really was an eye-opening book, and now I want to read a book about each of the Beatles, preferably by someone at their sides and not themselves. The pain I felt for Cynthia and Julian was real, and the hatred for John's betrayal with Yoko was heart-wrenching.

If you have any interest in the Beatles, John, Julian, or Cynthia, any interest at all, I would recommend you read this book. I absolutely loved it and would read it again for the first time if I could. ( )
  erinla | Oct 31, 2017 |
This is not the first time I read this, the last time I did. The first time was probably in December 2012, a few weeks before Christmas. I forgot when exactly. Being a huge Beatles fan and a huge admirer of John Lennon, I had been wanting to read this for a while, a book written by Lennon's often ignored ex-wife Cynthia. Now you might assume this is a way for Cynthia to mooch off of John's name and legacy, but you would be wrong to assume that. (Remember that saying about assuming things.) She does talk a little about her life before John, getting into college and then meeting John and how she didn't care for how he looked (he was a kind of teddy boy in those days) and how he'd make fun of her for being "posh" while he had his rough Liverpool accent.

I need to warn any Beatles fans who are reading this for the first time: It does not always paint John in a pretty light. She is talking about John the man, not John Lennon, the legend, idol, and former Beatle. And John wasn't always the greatest of people. He could be mean, he could be cruel, distant, cold. He divorced Cyn, at first on false grounds of adultery on her part, which is untrue, but then withdrawing his claim in favour for her claim, divorcing him for adultery, for he had gotten Yoko Ono pregnant at the time. He abandoned his first son Julian for long periods and only at the end of his life, cut tragically short, did he even start trying to make amends.

When Cyn talks about John's behaviour to Cyn as their marriage crumbles, when he files for divorce, and a little while after, you will believe John is a total ass and a coward for treating the woman he claimed to have loved in that horrible way. And you're right. And it's even worse how he treated his own son. Cyn became his ex-wife, but Julian will always be his son.

Still, to his credit, John was trying to make up for how he acted toward Julian and he was aware he'd not been there as he should have been. It's not his fault his life was cut short. There's so much that could have happened between them.

And okay, this book did not exactly warm me to Yoko. I know she was not 100% responsible for the break-up of the Beatles, they would have broken up anyway, but she sure did not help with the tension among members. And she was awful to Julian, calling him a badly behaved boy and then later telling Cyn she raised him so well.

This book is really good, but be warned you may not always like what she has to say about John and how he treated her, especially toward the end of their marriage in 1968. John is more than how he's portrayed as an icon for world peace. He wasn't always peaceful toward his own family. ( )
  kyndyleizabella | Jan 23, 2017 |
I am often reluctant to read memoirs from ex-lovers or ex-spouses of someone quite famous. Sadly, in many cases, it is a desperate cry for fame and “look at me, I know someone famous, you don't” attitude. So I read John by John Lennon's first wife with a weary eye. Little of the information was new to me. I had read much about the Beatles during my History of Rock n' Roll college course many years before (and yes, the class was as awesome as it sounds) but it was interesting to read it from Cynthia's point of view. I believe while she was somewhat harsh with the assessment of some people, it showed her emotions and that even years later she feels the hurt. She does not bash John but is honest in their time together (or so we assume she is being honest, John is not around to dispute it) – life was not perfect with the man before, during, or after their marriage. And I have a feeling that she is less innocent than she leads on in the book. If you're looking for just facts about John Lennon and the other Beatles, perhaps this book is not for you. But this a good book written with dignity from the first, and often forgotten, first wife giving a view of Lennon rarely seen in the public eye. ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
Written by the first wife of Lennon, this was meant to show her love and respect for John throughout her whole life despite her own personal hardships. I really was engaged by the book and am glad that I read it as I hadn't heard much about Cynthia's relationship beforehand. This is a female account of John personally and Beatlemania from someone who was there from the beginning. I enjoyed her long descriptions of Liverpool which is a hard city to describe accurately. There is an overall sense of sadness to the book, to my feelings, which is probably the opposite of Cynthia Lennon's intention. She reveals almost all of her vulnerabilities. John is summed up according to her powers of interpretation as a wounded but precocious child having lost his parents at a young age and brought up by his aunt who was never pleased with his efforts to please her. Cynthia concluded that John never had much faith in God due to these abandonment issues which then extended into their marriage. Yoko is not presented as a sane person and it was she who helped John to break up the Beatles so that John could work with her exclusively. Cynthia gives credence to a fortune teller's prediction in 1966 that John would be shot in America. She then alludes to numerology related to the number 9 which came up coincidentally in John's past. This is strange but gives a sense of the suggestibility which Cynthia was prone to. The story of their marriage is one that recurs often in the entertainment world. The marriage breakup is similar to what is described by Valerie Bertinelli's trouble with Eddie Van Halen (Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time). John isn't great writing but attempts to be honest about years past before they have faded entirely from her memory. Lennon's creative method is described in the book as being collaborative with Paul McCartney. From my reading on a few musicians, this is unusual. Most work alone and then collaborate on the finalization of the product. I've only heard of The Clash, OMD and maybe Echo and the Bunnymen doing this. This is a challenging book but worth reading for its feminine perspective on a musical group which has already passed into myth. One of the really strange meetings was at a London party (p. 160) where they met Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. Tate would later be linked to the Helter Skelter song through insane Charles Manson. Lennon was a man who met all the right people at the right time (McCartney, Brian Epstein, George Martin) to become the leader of one of the most popular recording groups ever. Cynthia's book is marked by a felt betrayal by John but she still feels that the love they once shared was real. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Jun 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
This slightly desperate book sets out to prove two points. First, that John Lennon really did love the author, his first wife, Cynthia; and second, that he treated her badly. It certainly makes a strong case for the latter but often at the expense of the former.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cynthia Lennonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lennon, JulianForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Till min son Julian och Johns systrar Julia och Jacqui, som alla tre har fått leva med smärtan av att vara en del av Lennonlegenden.
Och till min make Noel, med kärlek och tacksamhet.
For my son, Julian, and for John's sisters, Julia and Jacqui, all three of whom have had to cope with the pain that being part of the Lennon legend imposed

And for my husband, Noel, with love and thanks
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I tio år delade jag mitt liv med en man som under sin livstid var en stor gestalt och efter sin död blev en legend.
For ten years I shared my life with a man who was a huge figure in his lifetime, and who has become a legend since his death.
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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. InJohn, 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. InJohn, Cynthia Lennon has created a vivid portrait of the 1960s, the Beatles and the man she never stopped loving. The time has comewhen 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 h∧ 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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