Imagine this

“The fact of having to give explanations to people wears you out. Also because you have to invent them because you don’t even have them.”

We have to be honest, we started reading this book by accident. Zero expectation, with the prejudice of being faced with the umpteenth posthumous biography of John Lennon, seasoned perhaps with second-hand gossip about the most popular musical band in the world. We were happy to think again.

Julia Baird, author and half-sister of John, takes the reader by the hand and accompanies them in the daily life of an English family of the 30s, 40s and 50s of the twentieth century, strangled by rigid moral dictates, economic problems with no way out and unexpected moments. A nuclear family was like many others of the time, were it not for the presence within it of a hypersensitive boy who tiptoes through the world.

This type of narration allows you to immediately get in tune with John, whose immeasurable love for a mother too soon lost, too late found again and still too early to let go forever. Is this the key to intimately understanding the artist and many of his songs?

Reading “Imagine this” confirms that the inner scars of the great artists underpinned his talent and success, it is because of the pain and its elaboration (or non-elaboration) that one comes into contact with one’s own self.

The Beatles, fame in the United Kingdom and then worldwide success are only short-term chapters when compared to the years of a teenager being as intense as they were short and disruptive. After finishing the book, listening to the song “Julia” again had a different taste.


Julia Baird, Imagine this, Hodder & Stoughton, 2008.


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