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Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 21:24 GMT 22:24 UK
Lennon's neuroses laid bare
Lennon and Ono
Lennon and Ono's relationship was often stormy
By BBC News Online's Helen Bushby

Lennon in America claims to be a warts and all account of Lennon's years in the US, between 1971 and 1980, the year he was murdered.

Its author, Geoffrey Giuliano, doesn't pull any punches, choosing to begin the book with a rather salacious prologue detailing some of Lennon's many sexual experiences.

Giuliano attempts to offer some insight into Lennon's psyche, saying the "true saga" of Lennon began when he was 14 and his mother made a pass at him.

Julian Lennon
Lennon's son Julian had a strained relationship with his father
Lennon grew up into an adult with "no perspective, nothing to check the rage of the lonely child bruised by Oedipal confusion and blatant abandonment", writes Guiliano.

This may well be true, but this revelation, plus others including Lennon's confusion over his sexuality and his violent tendencies seemed rather sordid when condensed into a single chapter.

It is hard to know what Giuliano intended by putting all this information together.

He is no psychologist, but it looks like a clumsy attempt to explain some of the darker aspects of Lennon's personality.

book cover
Giuliano said he read Lennon's diaries
The rest of the novel is less of a surprise - giving a chronological account of Lennon's life in the US from 1971 onwards, when he left the UK never to return again.

The book details much about Lennon's tempestuous relationship with second wife Yoko and his elder son Julian, as well as his difficulty raising his younger son Sean.

Yoko Ono comes out of the book particularly badly, and is often depicted as a wife who needed to control her husband, usually to his detriment.

The book also claims that Ono had decided before Lennon's death that she would end the marriage.

The Beatles
The Beatles were always part of Lennon's life
Luciano Sparacino, who did renovations for the Lennons, is quoted as saying he was told by Ono in 1980: "I'm bored with John, tired of the Lennon name, and tired of living in his shadow. As soon as the album is off the ground the marriage is over. I'm planning to leave him."

The novel also claims that Lennon struggled with a heroin addiction, voracious sexual appetite and many neuroses.

But aside from these revelations, many of which have been documented before, the book also tries to offer insight into Lennon's day-to-day existence with Yoko, and latterly, Sean.

It says he lived a reclusive lifestyle, often trying to stick to the stringent diets Yoko put him on, while struggling to maintain the musical success he had enjoyed with The Beatles.

Lennon's music is still popular today
It also details his often strained relationship with his former songwriting partner Paul McCartney, as well as the pair's happier moments.

Giuliano said he trawled through Lennon's unpublished diaries, but rather than publish their contents he used them as backup for his interviews.

He said he spoke to many people to gain eyewitness accounts, including Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Lennon's sometime lover May Pang.

This book will no doubt be a must for Lennon fans the world over, as long as they do not mind their hero being knocked firmly off his pedestal.

It is a riveting read and Lennon comes across as a rather tragic character, whose stunning success won him the adoration of millions.

But as the old adage goes - it was not enough to make him happy.

Lennon in America by Geoffrey Giuliano is published on 11 October

See also:

14 Oct 01 | Reviews
John Lennon: Your views
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