"Think for yourself 'cause I won't be there with you." -- George Harrison, 1965
You've just got to love the cover, which is a spoof of the Beatles' 1969 Abbey Road album cover. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I think I did when I judged that this would be one I would like! It's a riot!
Penny Lane, who shares her name with a 1967 Paul McCartney with the Beatles classic is so over boys. (Her two sisters are Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Lovely Rita. I'm surprised one wasn't named Michelle). After a traumatic breakup with her former boyfriend Nate, she forms The Lonely Hearts Club minus Sgt. Pepper. She swears off high school boys as she feels they don't show proper respect for women. Other girls join her club in droves. Her school principal, who is a man naturally chafes at the club as do the male students. Penny Lane does have a change of lonely heart when she meets a boy with a Beatle haircut. Something in the way he moves, perhaps? "I left you far behind/The ruins of the life that you have in mind./And though you still can't see/I know your mind's made up/You're gonna cause more misery." George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"
Penny and her Hearts are in-your face and live by John Lennon's credo in "Instant Karma" about how Instant Karma's gonna get you, gonna knock you right in the face. She is somewhat Lennonesque with her in-your-face rebellion and delightfully zany wit. Like John Lennon, she and her fellow Hearts refuse to compromise their true voices and identity and swear off pretending to agree with someone just to win them over or pacify them. Any time somebody gives up their honest voice by pretending to be something they are not and by saying they agree with something they do not, they are stifling their identity. I hate that kind of toadying behavior and Penny and her Hearts wisely empower themselves to dodge that self-defeatist behavior. John Lennon's 1971 "Crippled Inside" is a good anti-toady song. At no time do the Hearts sacrifice their voices. That makes one think of John Lennon's greeting, "John here, speaking with his voice!" from the 1963 Beatles' Christmas album. What an empowering statement!
The Hearts' theme song could be Paul McCartney's late 1977 hit, "I've Had Enough! (I can't put up with any more)." All Long & Winding Roads lead to the Beatles and that is what makes this book such a treat.
"Although your mind's opaque, try thinking more if just for your own sake.
The future still looks good and you've got time to rectify all the things that you should." -- George Harrison, 1965 from "Think For Yourself"
The sheer genius of this book, with its empowering story, strong characters and WONDERFUL plethora of Beatle references will delight readers, whether they are Beatle fans or not. Beatle fans will especially enjoy this because not only will they "get" the Beatle references, they will love them!
Penny is delightfully funny and she bravely shares some horrific experiences. To make a good thing even better, she was born on Beatles' Day, February 7, the anniversary of the day the Beatles came to America! The daughter of two ardent inveterate Beatle fans, Penny develops a love for the Beatles early and even wants a Hey Bulldog for a pet. The social dynamics and social hierchy are given in plain terms and the story is one that pulls you in right away. You will travel down the Long & Winding Road with Penny Lane and her fellow Hearts as they get by with a little help from their friends as they learn that in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make. The Hearts convert "A Hard Day's Night" into a "Good Day Sunshine" and soon are singing "I Feel Fine." The Beatles remain a comforting presence throughout the book and a driving force that impels Penny and her fellow Hearts as well.
A heartfelt kudos and thank you to Elizabeth Eulberg. These delightful characters are wonderfully empowering and the Beatle humor brings big smiles to readers' faces. No doubt readers will take some ideas away after having read this book. If you listen to the Beatles while reading this work by this gifted Paperback Writer, you will increase your reading pleasure.
John Lennon's 1970 "Instant Karma," Paul McCartney's 1977 "I've Had Enough" and George Harrison's 1965 "Think For Yourself" underscore a good portion of this book. So do these Beatle classics: "I'll Be Back," "She Loves You," "This Boy," "It Won't Be Long" and "The Long & Winding Road" which are the soundtrack of this book together with "I Want to Tell You," a 1966 George Harrison classic. This gets a high endorsement and a hearty yeah, yeah, yeah from me! I love this book!