Most helpful critical review
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A faulty bagnose
on November 17, 2012
This publication combines two books written by John Lennon during the Beatles' heyday. Both are silly little compilations of stories and poems, incorporating a lot of corrupted words that in some ways creates a whole new lexicon. But who are we to criticize that? Witness Lewis Carroll with his "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves," or James Joyce's "Oye am thonthorstrok!"
I first read these when they came out and, being young and impressionable, I found I began to incorporate a lot of the fake words into my vocabulary. For example, if a product didn't work properly, I would say it must have "a faulty bagnose." And if a person was hustling around, always busy, I would say "There are no flies on Frank"(or whomever). Now, several decades later, I still find those phrases to be useful. But most were simply forgettable: As a man is preparing for his wedding, he rehearses, "To have and to harm....till death duty part...he knew it off by hertz."
As for the stories themselves, some were funny, some seemed pointless, but a few demonstrated a real truth to be reckoned with. One that stuck with me all these years, and seems even more significant now, is the story of Randolph. He was all alone on Christmas Eve, and was mourning the fact that none of his friends had come to join him on this special holiday. All of a sudden there was a knock on the door, and there was the entire gang. Just as he was rejoicing over this exciting turn of events, they jumped on him, and "did smite him with mighty blows about his head, crying, `We never liked you...you were never really one of us, you know.'" This is a real statement on bullying, which seemed shocking at the time, but now has become somewhat commonplace. The story concludes with the sad result, stated in typical, matter-of-fact British understatement: "They killed him, you know, at least he didn't die alone, did he?"
Another that I never forgot, and seems to be even more meaningful in today's' world is "Our Dad." A crippled, aging father is living with his kids and they make it clear they want him out. The dad sadly packs his bags, as the kids "started coughing by the door, to hurry him outside." He accuses their mother as being behind this, and they defend her, saying at least she works; she's a prostitute. Upon his departure, they find he left his money and pension book behind. The kids celebrate, calling in their only friend, a woman who's "a laugh, she lets us all attend." The story closes with "We never heard from Dad again, I `spect we never shall, but he'll remain in all our hearts--a buddy, friend and pal."
Yes, these are strange books, trite and childish in a lot of ways, but there are a few gems in there that make a strong social statement. I recoiled as I read them all those many years ago and now, as I re-read them, I still got chills. Man's inhumanity to man-- alas, some things never change.