Eli's Reviews > Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon

Imagine This by Julia Baird
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's review
Nov 04, 2010

Read from November 04 to 08, 2010

“When looking for my next project I was wary of musical protagonists – but when John Lennon was floated, that vanished. He is beyond music; above it even . . . and his early life as told in Julia’s book took me into a world that illuminated so much about his legendary genius.” – Matt Greenhalgh (screenwriter for the film Nowhere Boy)

Imagine This is written by John Lennon’s half-sister, Julia Baird. Because of the fame her brother achieved, Baird’s family life has endured more scrutiny than most. There are countless Lennon books out in the marketplace, including a book Baird co-authored with Geoffrey Giuliano called John Lennon My Brother (to read about Giuliano’s lawsuit over the film Nowhere Boy click here). These books have been her attempt to “make sense of my own life and that of my half-brother, John.” According to Baird, the “official” Lennon story that has been repeatedly published as fact is, in fact, a fiction. I am not going to clutter this post with a list of all the new facts here. I will only say that the primary function of Imagine This is to recast the two women of Lennon’s early years, his mother Julia (who is also Julia Baird’s mother) and his aunt Mimi.

Imagine This is written by someone who obviously worships at the shrine of Lennon. Baird is eager to place their shared mother in her proper place in the legend (their mother taught him to play banjo, bought him his first guitar, helped him with his drawing, etc.). But Baird (pictured left) was also conflicted in the tale she tells, as the fame that Lennon achieved as a Beatle robbed her of her brother. “I know I am being selfish here . . . [but I] wish John had never seen a guitar.”

If you are only interested in reading the part of the book that is used for the film, you basically just need to read the first 130 pages (the book runs about 300 pages in hard cover). Imagine This will be of interest for the Lennon completionist. However, if it had not been the source for Nowhere Boy I would have been just fine reading John by Cynthia Lennon instead (which I hear is the best Lennon bio). At least Imagine This is a quick read, so anyone who does choose to invest time time will not be heavily taxed.
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