This first person account by John Lennon’s first wife, the late Cynthia Powell (1939-2015), paints a deeply unflattering portrait of the famous Beatle. And an equally flattering picture of a loyal, loving, long-suffering Cynthia. No surprise there, right? But what did surprise me is just how different this private Lennon was from the public figure we watched for 20+ years.
Cynthia shows a Lennon that was deeply insecure, often cruel and psychologically abusive (even physically once), and completely self-absorbed. During their 10 years together (including some years when they hid the fact that John was married to protect his public image), he was largely an absent husband and absent father to son Julian. He lied about his developing relationship with Yoko Ono and had serious anger management issues. In fact he comes across as a perpetual adolescent interested primarily in his own pleasures and pursuits. Worse even is the picture Cynthia paints of Yoko and the strange dynamic of John’s second marriage.
It’s not a particularly well-written book. A bit dry. But if you want an inside look at what Beatlemania looked like to an insider or if you, like me, are endlessly fascinated by trivia around the Fab Four, this book is for you.