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Return to Book Page. Discover why John crave In Jude Kessler's stunning debut historical novel, you'll learn the truths behind the Lennon legend. Get A Copy. Softcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Shoulda Been There , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 28, Kathryn rated it liked it. After finishing a work of magic realism that focuses on the return of John Lennon to the world stage John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe I set my sights and my Kindle to another fictionalized Lennon story, this one quite ambitious in scope.

Author Kessler spent more than twenty years researching the life of Lennon - interviewing people once close to the man and the band he help form, visiting landmarks and poring over countless Beatles archives - in order to take on the monumental task of te After finishing a work of magic realism that focuses on the return of John Lennon to the world stage John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe I set my sights and my Kindle to another fictionalized Lennon story, this one quite ambitious in scope.

Author Kessler spent more than twenty years researching the life of Lennon - interviewing people once close to the man and the band he help form, visiting landmarks and poring over countless Beatles archives - in order to take on the monumental task of telling Lennon's life story. There are plenty of biographies already, another one came out last year, but Kessler's take is unique in that her version of Lennon's life is novelized and thoroughly detailed, with practically every move made documented.

As I've gathered from the author's website and other sources, Kessler has intended to write three books to span Lennon's forty years. I've neither read nor investigated the second book, but I would argue that Shoulda Been There is probably the most ambitious of the three projects. This book alone chronicles half of Lennon's life, beginning with the day of his birth and taking the reader up to the "birth" of the Beatles' relationship with Brian Epstein. These two events bookend just over twenty years of history that include Lennon's childhood at Mendips, tensions between his mother Julia and Aunt Mimi, the evolution of the Quarry Men into the Beatles as they conquered the Hamburg music scene.

Sevyn Streeter ft B.o.B. “Shoulda Been There”

Each chapter ends with an author's note that dissects fact from conjecture, and in some instances serves to correct myths that have surrounded the Beatles legend. Some readers may be put off by these notes appearing throughout the book, as though they might pull people out of the story. I didn't feel that happened to me, but the notes are rather short and not disruptive. Having read several Beatles books and biographies over the years, I went into Shoulda Been There knowing the story. As a novel, Lennon's story makes for provocative prose, and Kessler is to be commended for undertaking such a project.

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Where the writing is concerned, Kessler does well in evoking a sense of place, though there were times I wondered if she relied on reader familiarity with the characters in play. Instances of point of view shifting, or head-hopping, proved distracting. One thing I would suggest if you are unfamiliar with the slang of time is to browse the helpful glossary Kessler offers at the end first before reading the book.

It's obvious Kessler takes great care in presenting her subject and is devoted to authenticity. With more than half of Lennon's life covered here, it will be interesting to see how the pace of the other books differ. Aug 15, Erin rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Beatles fans, 40's 50,'s and 60's historians. Shelves: beatles. This book is a gem in the wide range of John Lennon and Beatles books that litter the world.

Written in prose, the author keeps the reader's attention easily, with conversation that is written casually and never seems forced. Each chapter is carefully constructed from multiple interviews, and TONS of research. At each close of a chapter, the author has notes that explain the research for the chapter, including her interviews with various people in John's life. A well-crafted bibliography sits in This book is a gem in the wide range of John Lennon and Beatles books that litter the world.

A well-crafted bibliography sits in the back of the book. What made this biography really stand out, however, is the sheer perfection of the characters' speech. Liverpudlian Scouse is very hard to understand, let alone duplicate. The author made it clear she visited Liverpool and studied their mannerisms and sayings no fewer than 7 times, if I'm not mistaken. An amazingly detailed Scouse dictionary is included in the text. As to the content, the detail is breathtaking. Each stage of John's life is mapped out, nothing ever rushed.

Indeed, the novel is around pages in length, yet only spans half of John's life. Starting in when he is born, she writes his childhood as if she was there, leaving nothing to the imagination. When something is an elusive rumor, a fact that cannot be verified, she speculates with the reader, and lets us know that the facts surrounding that particular story may never be verified.


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She lets us know what she thinks happened, what could have happened otherwise, and what each of her sources state. The book tops off in , just as Mr. Epstein takes on the boys, before Stuart ever meets his untimely end, before Pete Best is released from the group, and as such, before Richard Starkey joins, making up the charismatic, legendary Fab Four. I eagerly await the second book in this "Trilogy", which she has corresponded to me will be out in October of , if all goes well.


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  7. Titled, "Shivering Inside", it will span the boys' career, and I'm sure will be just as wonderful as "Shoulda Been There". Oct 09, Bill Keithler rated it it was amazing. I must admit that when I first heard about this series I was skeptical --both regarding the magnitude of the project--nine rather lengthy books projected, and by the idea of novelizing the life of the subject. After having read this book and the next two which at this writing are the only ones published I am a convert. Kessler has done a magnificent job in researching the background of her subject and then in presenting the story of his life.

    The achievement humanizes John Lennon in a way I must admit that when I first heard about this series I was skeptical --both regarding the magnitude of the project--nine rather lengthy books projected, and by the idea of novelizing the life of the subject.

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    The achievement humanizes John Lennon in a way that I have never before seen and has the ring of truth regarding not only the events that shaped him in his youth, but how he came to view the world. You truly feel that you are inside of his head in a way that is empathetic and also very likely realistic.

    You can feel his angst, his pain and frustration, and his futile search for happiness as he comes to find that things are never what he expected, even when he succeeds beyonds anyone's imagination. May 19, Diana rated it it was amazing.

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    A good biography is supposed to make you feel like you knew the subject and went along for the ride of his life. This historical novel really does that--you get right inside Liverpool in the s and s, John Lennon's family background and the beginning of the Fab Four. If only you had brought your guitar that day, maybe YOU could have been a Beatle! Anyway, if you ever felt like you "shoulda been there," when you're done reading you will feel like you "coulda been there. In fact, the San Diego show often ends up serving as an encore or warm-up to the L.

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    So imagine being the biggest band in the world, selling out stadiums all over the U. Such was the case on Aug. And with more than double the amount of people that showed up to that Beatles gig in , it seems San Diegans have since learned their lesson. Well, at least some of those who were old enough to remember.

    This one is definitely not a new one.

    Sevyn Streeter ft B.o.B. “Shoulda Been There” ‹ JR Strickland

    The hilarity of such a statement was not lost on me, but I did find the couple to be representative of the overall crowd on this night. When it came to the younger people in the audience, I got the sense that truly desired to be a part of what they were witnessing. That is, they loved the music just as much as their parents or grandparents.