John Lennon’s childhood sweetheart Cynthia Powell is bound to have had a windfall when she decided to part with her letters from Lennon. In one impassioned missive full of banal repetitions of the same phrase, Lennon wrote to her, “I love you like GUITARS....” This and other letters, postcards, scribbles and shopping lists make it to ‘The John Lennon Letters’ edited by Hunter Davies. Davies hung out with The Beatles in the 1960s for an authorized biography of the band’s peripatetic and wild pre-Yoko days, which released first in 1968.
For even the casual fan, it is an immersive read. Don’t expect a more rounded or more definitive portrait of the man from the sparsely editorialized smorgasbord. From Lennon’s letters to his band mates, to his son, and long atavistic rants against the political establishment about freeing Vietnam, if at all a portrait emerges, it’s that of a man who is irascible and also unusually kind. Ever since his assassination, John Lennon is in the realm of myth; this book humanizes him. Take this shopping list, which includes: “Laxative. Veganin.
A big bear like this—normal colour. 2 swim trunks.”