John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth by Elizabeth Partridge

John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth by Elizabeth Partridge

Partridge, Elizabeth. John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth. Viking, 2005. ISBN 978-0670059546 256 pp. $18.00


This photographic biography of a music legend is carefully researched, engagingly written, and has great appeal to teen readers with its graphic heavy layout (a picture on every other page) and charismatic, idealistic subject. The moody cover showing half of a young Lennon’s face, the other half in shadow, speaks volumes about a rebellious but brilliant teen who grew up to change the world.

Don’t worry – Partridge is not as fawning as I. She writes about the good times and the gritty times with a objective voice, and presents primary source quotes to flesh out life the songwriter/poet, capturing his essence from birth in Liverpool to a young mother through his untimely death at the hands of a Catcher In the Rye influenced assassin at age 40 in front of the Dakota in New York City, hitting all the pivotal moments along the way: playing in clubs they weren’t old enough to drink in, the Ed Sullivan show appearance, the movies, the girls, the drugs, the record burnings, the affair with Yoko Ono, the Bed-in for peace. Beatles fans won’t be disappointed – the other three band members are spotlighted as they appeared in Lennon’s life.

Thorough source notes and bibliography make this an exemplary resource for students. Not included in the review copy but slated to appear in the hardbound edition are an index and permissions. A discography is a meaningful addition. A timeline is missing, but the work is presented chronologically. The chapters divide Lennon’s life into segments of 1-5 years, with dates appearing with the chapter headings.

Equally enjoyable for browsing or research, John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth is strongly recommended for all library collections.

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