Friday, April 19, 2013

John Lennon: My Brother

1988, 1989 Jove Books edition
Julia Baird and Geoffrey Giuliano
John Lennon: My Brother
Bought new for $3.95
Worn paperback

John Lennon's half-sister (named after their mother) recalls "memories of growing up together," although there was a seven year age difference and he mostly grew up at Aunt Mimi's.  I enjoyed seeing the way he came across to his two adoring little sisters (Jacqui was born in '49), as well as the memories of their mum.  But I felt like there ironically wasn't enough of John or young Julia.  They fell out of touch a few times (partly due to Yoko, who comes across as just as jealous and possessive as she was in the Pete Shotton book), but Julia doesn't say all that much about what she was up to in the meantime, other than getting a job as a teacher, marrying, and having kids.  I did like the part where Julia visits Paul in London in the late '80s, to get his recollections, but it's not as if there's a shortage of books with Paul quotes.  It's appears that Julia's shyness and lack of assertiveness couldn't even be overcome in the book she was writing, a problem Cynthia Lennon didn't have.

Baird and co-author Giuliano had a falling out over her 2007 book Imagine This, which I haven't read and which he claimed was based on this book.  I'm not sure what he contributed to this book, other than "A Lennon Chronology," which has information that, again, could easily be found elsewhere.  He's written several controversial books about the Beatles as solo artists-- I think I read part of a McCartney one once-- and I'd just as soon she'd written this on her own.  Or if she had to have a co-author, why not older cousin Leila, who seems to have no problems in voicing her opinions?

At the time this book came out, Julia had not yet met Yoko, Sean, or her own half-sister "Victoria," although she found out about the girl's existence in the mid-'80s.  The elder Julia had an affair with a soldier during the war, and gave the resulting baby away.  At the time this book was published, little was known of the girl, except that she was thought to have been adopted by a Norwegian couple.  "Victoria" grew up as "Ingrid Marie Pedersen," and Julia and Jacqui didn't meet her till 2005.  So in a way I'd like to read Imagine This, even if it is just an updated version of this book.

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