From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Partridge cuts through the mythology and misinformation surrounding the life of the legendary singer/songwriter and goes a long way toward revealing the complexities of his personality. She relies heavily on Lennon's own writings and the wealth of interviews he granted during his lifetime. What emerges is an unflinchingly honest portrait of a troubled, angry, and highly creative individual who was captivated by rock 'n' roll and often used it as a means of expressing his unhappiness and confusion. Partridge skillfully captures the amazing speed at which the Beatles were swept into astonishing popularity that led to an unrelenting schedule of touring, songwriting, and recording that slowed down only when touring became both too grueling and too dangerous. She doesn't shy away from the sordid details of the band's mercurial rise to fame and fortune but her nonjudgmental commentary focuses first and foremost on the music. Lennon's life after the dissolution of the Beatles is explored in depth, as are Yoko Ono's influence and the worldwide impact of his death. With an abundance of gorgeous black-and-white photos, some of them full-page or even spreads, this handsome book will be eagerly received by both Beatles fans, who are legion, and their elders, who will enjoy reliving the glory days of the Fab Four and exploring the inner workings of a creative talent.–Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
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*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. John Lennon's Aunt Mimi disapproved of his guitar hobby because "you could never make a living
at it." Such anecdotes surface with delightful regularity in Partridge's biography of the influential mid-twentieth-century musician. As in This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie
(2003), her mission is to uncover the person behind the image. Partridge's unflinching reports on the outlet from public attention that Lennon sought in a debauched lifestyle, in which "booze, pills, and joints were consumed in astonishing amounts," may cause some readers to think that the sensational aspects of Lennon's life have been overemphasized. But many YAs will find the nonjudgmental tone refreshing, and those drawn by the rock-music theme will admire Partridge's sensitive analysis of the Beatles' creative output. Dynamic design distinguishes the book inside and out, from the eye-catching size and shape that cleverly mimics an old vinyl album cover to the abundant archival photos within. A discography and an immense bibliography set readers on the right paths. Despite source notes limited to quotes, this has the markings of a YA biography staple--as hard-hitting as Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop
(2004), and equally compelling in its perspective on the Swinging Sixties. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved