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Publisher's Summary

The extraordinary story of a man, a legend and a marriage

When she was 18-years-old, a girl named Cynthia Powell met a boy named John Lennon, and they fell in love. Their 10-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 20th 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)

©2005 Cynthia Lennon (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Lennon’s eyewitness testimony vividly captures the time and place and the characters...her portrait of John is loving but candid.” (Washington Post)

“[Cynthia Lennon’s] portrait reveals an immensely talented and driven man who was capable of great passion, affection, and loyalty, but whose inability to handle confrontation and tendency toward flight from painful realities led him to abandon his family when the going got tough.” (Buffalo News

“A welcome window into a period that’s typically narrated at breakneck pace, [providing] a gentle reminder that John Lennon was a human being...before he was a piece of history.” (Detroit Free Press)  

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What listeners say about John

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great book, even if Paul was your favorite.

I started playing guitar 40 years ago because of the Beatles. Cynthia brought me back in time with details that renewed my love for the Beatles. I remember the things that John did and what the press said. The book captured my attention. If you grew up with the Beatles, even if Paul was your favorite, you will enjoy this book.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting

Though the book promises to set the record straight, to an avid fan, it does not really live up to that proclaimation. Yet it is well performed and Cynthia has told her own story and done so in a straight forward and intersting way. For any fan of the Beatles and/or Lennon it is a must read. And she does relay some stories and information that have added some insight,humor and sadness into the story. Definetly hear the unabridged version.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting, Informative, Humorous, Heartbreaking

I thoroughly enjoyed this book on John Lennon by his first wife, Cynthia. I always wondered about her and what might have compelled him to be the way he was and to eventually get so involved with Yoko. Here, Cynthia tells her side of the story in a very straightforward, yet sensitive way. Plenty of amusing anecdotes and tales about The Beatles during the years that they rose to unprecedented fame. Cynthia knew John from the beginning and has a unique perspective. She writes with sensitivity and love, even when describing some hard truths. The world knows Lennon as a musical genius, but what was he really like as a person, away from the television cameras? This book lays it all out -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. A fascinating read, but definitely not for those who covet the image of Lennon as a perfect human being. He wasn't.

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A must for any Lennon fan

I very much enjoyed this look into John's personal and professional life. Kind of knocked my music idol down to being human. I did enjoy Cynthia's view of Beatlemania and how it affected their family. Very revealing into Johns demons that he struggled with every day. Made me dislike Yoko even more than I already did. Some of the things Cynthia writes ( I know one sided) even so, if even close to truth Yoko is a raging, controlling, heartless B*TCH. WOW is all I can say. most would have put a hit out on her. I feel for Cynthia and Johns family. I would recommend this book highly, narration was spot on.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

John

The book was written by Cynthia Lennon, John Lennon's first wife, and it is look at the early days of The Beatles and their rise to the biggest band to ever exist. John fought to have the book published in the 70's; and I don't really understand why. When you hear the book you can tell that Cynthia was, and still has, love for John. She talks about the ups and downs of being married to one of the biggest stars in the music industry, about the break-up of her marriage, the lack of interaction of John and his son Julian, the impact Yoko Ono had over John and to his tragic and untimely death of a legend. I recommend this book for any fan of John Lennon or The Beatles. The little stories of her life, in hiding due to the fans, how promoters had to get The Beatles and their wives in and out of hotels and venues they staying at or entertaining. Cynthia talks about where she was when she heard the news, at Ringo's ex-wife, and that Ringo was the one who phoned to tell them. She also talks about how Ringo was at his ex-wife side when she died; which to me tells you alot about Ringo and his support for his ex-wife as opposed to John who had little to do with his at all. Well worth reading.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

John

This book was great. I really enjoyed learning about the early days of the Beatles. I was always crazy about John and always kept up with the Beatles until Yoko came around. I always wondered why John and Cynthia broke up, and found this book very informative. Thank you Cynthia for telling your side. I wish Julian would produce more music as I saw him in concert in Florida in the 80's and he was great.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful......

I am an avid reader that is new to audio books. I have listened to several and "John" is my favorite so far.

I enjoy memoirs, and read them often..this was one of the best. This was the first book I have read about the Beatles, but it made me want to read more.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting, informative, but weak

This did provide some interesting insight into John Lennon's character, but it also did shine a strong light upon Cynthia's weaknesses. She was, as it turns out, a very, very weak-willed woman paired with a very intelligent, but lazy, man. He treated her badly, and she let him, and their situation began, of course, under odd circumstances.

Don't get me wrong, it is an interesting book with some wonderful insights.

However, it certainly didn't cause me to adore John, and at the same time it did not cause me to sympathise with Cynthia. They each had lives that went (opinion-inserted-here) sordid ways. I wouldn't seek either of them out as a friend. John had some brilliance, no doubt, but he also had a heinous side. I'd want no part of that, and neither (as it turned out) did Cyn.

A very interesting read! But I don't think it will cause you to grow more fond of either of them.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Believable

I gained a lot of insight from listening to this account of the Beatle's lives -- I also believed it to be a pretty true account - not exaggerated or hyped -- a very worthwhile and enjoyable read for anyone even remotely interested in their lives.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Domestic John

An interesting take on a Beatles story, told by Lennon's first wife.

Cynthia felt the need to set the record straight as regards herself and her marriage. She comes off as believable if naive and tells her story with simple grace.

There is next to no talk about the music. Cynthia focuses on the highs and lows of being a woman of the '60s who made her man her world and had that world walk away from her.

Paul comes off like a generous soul. Ringo, George and Brian Epstein are remembered with affection. Ditto Stu Surcliffe. Aunt Mimi and Yoko get a real raking over.

The narrator gives the story just that right tone.

5 people found this helpful