John Lennon “Life is What Happens” Review
Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: Music.
John Borack’s John Lennon: Life is What Happensis an anthology for the internet age, vividly accenting the well documented story of Lennon’s legendary life with snippets, quotes, photos, memorabilia pictures, and personal memories. While covering the man’s entire life, the book largely focuses on Lennon’s career with the Beatles and as a solo musician, while briefly touching on his childhood and early musical pursuits. This isn’t to project any sense of an incomplete narrative on Borack’s part however, as his emphasis on Lennon’s recording career is clearly the focal point of the collection for a reason.
A longtime Lennon fan, Borack prefaces the book with a personal introduction explaining his relationship with the one-time Beatle. “Close enough to be family” is how he expresses his emotional attachment with the artist, and it is this sense of endearment that shines throughout the author’s narrative. The upside of this is found in how enjoyable the read is—the book genuinely unfolds as a largely cheerful account of Lennon’s life—but there’s a downside to be considered as well. With the exception of calling Some Time in New York City, Lennon’s poorly received 1972 collaboration with Yoko Ono, a “failure,” Borack’s glowing adoration for the legend leaves little room for a sincerely neutral perspective. Then again, if you’re purchasing a 250 page coffee table book focusing on the life of John Lennon, it’s probably fairly unlikely that you’re approaching it as a source for critical insight into the man’s life.
The most compelling aspect to the book isn’t found in the largely familiar story however, but in the remarkable photographs and pictures of memorabilia which are scattered across nearly every page of the book. From rare artifacts from the Beatles’ early days to intimate portraits of Lennon late in his life, the ability to watch the man grow and transform throughout his life lends another dimension to the sequence of events that would otherwise be lost.
For the completest looking for an in depth historical analysis of the life and legend of John Lennon, Life is What Happens will likely only go so far in satisfying an appetite for thoroughness. However, the book does well to encompass the story of the man’s life, pictorially detailing his ascent while also offering commentary on the essential moments which made up his life. If you’re an old fan in need of a refresher course on who John Lennon was, or a young listener looking to explore the life of one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most revered icons, Life is What Happensis most certainly for you.
John Lennon: Life is What Happens (256 pages) is available via Krause Publications.
[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]