I didn't realize I chose the abridged version of this book and advise others not to! Whole important sections were omitted, severely detracting from the experience of what was a compelling account of this seminal artist's life.
If you know anything about The Beatles, DO NOT RENT THIS BOOK. In the middle of family trivia, the author suddenly says "and Paul, comfortable with his place." !! That's the FIRST mention of Paul McCartney!! No audio here at all about how they met or decided to get together. Ridiculous. Not an abridgement, a butchering!! Later, "when John Dean revealed the taping system in the White House." WRONG! Makes one wonder how much of the other stuff the author guessed at. DO NOT RENT.
Who "abridged" this...like, some, totally awesome 16 year old? Simply Audio: pre-listen before you offer.
I think the book is good, because the audio book is only a sampling. The audio cuts out 5 year stretches at a time. It skips John meeting Paul, goes from the Beatles just getting to do their first album with George Martin to working on the 5th album skipping all the sudden rise to fame. I have read reviews that the book is very good, and I would say what I did listen to was very good, but a terrible hatchet job. This was a terrible disservice to audio books, I will never buy an abridged version of a book again.
An absorbing, entertaining book. The narrator is very skilled, and Norman is a skilled writer, well researched, and knowledgeable. Lennon is portrayed as artistically gifted, cruel and conversely kind, shy and uncomfortable but also charismatic, immature, self-absorbed, emotionally fragile, petty, conflicted, politically progressive but financially privileged, and later bored.
Norman is also a fair music critic. His explication of some songs reveals an appreciation of musicology and early record technology, as well as an understanding of Lennon's persona and the cultural significance of the period. You may find yourself pausing the book to listen to the songs that Norman is describing -- giving you a deeper appreciation of their artistry and meaning.
The abridged version inevitably skipped parts of the chronology I would have wished to hear about. This still does not detract too much from the great experience of the audiobook.
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