Who is your favorite Beatle?, I was asked by my brother-in-law before Christmas. George, isn’t it? I confirmed the assumption. While unwrapping the presents, I found this book and the answer that there  was nothing from Harrison and he thought that John Lennon is certainly more interesting than Paul McCartney. So a funny start to my relationship with the book. As a Beatles fan, I  was of course still happy, because I  didn’t know much about John Lennon yet. After half a year in my bedside table  , I decided to take it to the beach in Egypt. A good decision.

So I was very excited about James Patterson’s book because I had no impression of what to expect. Will it be very biographical? And if so, from what point of view? The Lennons or the murderer Mark David Chapman?

The book has an extremely pleasant and easy-to-read writing style, which draws the reader into the situations through the skillful use of selected quotations. All emotions and decisions are explained clearly and partly by the background. Due to the short chapters, 68 in number distributed over 340 pages, you can stop at any time and find your way back into the book. In my case, however, long breaks were not necessary.

What the book conceals both in the blurb and in the title is the actual theme. Purely on that basis, one thinks that one now gets 350 pages about the murder of Lennon blown around the ears. However, this does not prove to be correct. The numbered chapters describe the life of John Lennon, starting with his time as a teenager through  the Beatles, his political activism in the USA, his new adopted home, Yoko’s time out  and his relationship with May Ling, including the albums recorded at the time, Sean s birth and his relationship with his father, the break from music, double fantasy and the inevitable assassination.

Appropriately, quotes from his pioneers are always included either from that time or retrospectively. To highlight a few: Paul, George & Ringo, Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley.

In between are short passages that explain the motivation, thoughts and approach of the murderer Mark Chapman . These are also described in such a way that you can imagine everything very well. However, it is never taken out of context and seems out of place from the chapter before, but always finds a successful transition, be it through a name or a motivation.

The book remains exciting throughout and can give even the biggest Beatles fans little information and fun facts about songs and other situations in Lennon’s life that they may not have known about.

For example, how the titles A Hard Days Night and Eight Days A Week came about. However, it is always kept exactly the right length, so it is never too nerdy and deep, but also not too superficial.

Especially the true crime element in the book was always exciting, although the outcome is of course known. You can just cheer along and get a queasy and sad feeling at the end. The impact and sympathy is also well described  and the associated process with changing lawyers and high risk for Chapman.

At the end of the main part, additional information about the most important twelve John Lennon songs is provided. Here it gets a little deeper, but still exciting for me.

Equally pleasing is the middle section of the book, which shows the life of John  as a photo series. A nice detail.

In summary, a very successful work, which gives you a deep insight into the person John Lennon and also shows his work. It contains everything relevant and also awakens all feelings in the reader, which run through the entire spectrum from fun to sadness.

A very vivid biography about one of the most important musicians and personalities of the 20th century and of all time.

The full score is therefore the only right decision.