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John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)) Hardcover – October 6, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Partridge cuts through the mythology and misinformation surrounding the life of the legendary singer/songwriter and goes a long way toward revealing the complexities of his personality. She relies heavily on Lennon's own writings and the wealth of interviews he granted during his lifetime. What emerges is an unflinchingly honest portrait of a troubled, angry, and highly creative individual who was captivated by rock 'n' roll and often used it as a means of expressing his unhappiness and confusion. Partridge skillfully captures the amazing speed at which the Beatles were swept into astonishing popularity that led to an unrelenting schedule of touring, songwriting, and recording that slowed down only when touring became both too grueling and too dangerous. She doesn't shy away from the sordid details of the band's mercurial rise to fame and fortune but her nonjudgmental commentary focuses first and foremost on the music. Lennon's life after the dissolution of the Beatles is explored in depth, as are Yoko Ono's influence and the worldwide impact of his death. With an abundance of gorgeous black-and-white photos, some of them full-page or even spreads, this handsome book will be eagerly received by both Beatles fans, who are legion, and their elders, who will enjoy reliving the glory days of the Fab Four and exploring the inner workings of a creative talent.–Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 9-12. John Lennon's Aunt Mimi disapproved of his guitar hobby because "you could never make a living at it." Such anecdotes surface with delightful regularity in Partridge's biography of the influential mid-twentieth-century musician. As in This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie (2003), her mission is to uncover the person behind the image. Partridge's unflinching reports on the outlet from public attention that Lennon sought in a debauched lifestyle, in which "booze, pills, and joints were consumed in astonishing amounts," may cause some readers to think that the sensational aspects of Lennon's life have been overemphasized. But many YAs will find the nonjudgmental tone refreshing, and those drawn by the rock-music theme will admire Partridge's sensitive analysis of the Beatles' creative output. Dynamic design distinguishes the book inside and out, from the eye-catching size and shape that cleverly mimics an old vinyl album cover to the abundant archival photos within. A discography and an immense bibliography set readers on the right paths. Despite source notes limited to quotes, this has the markings of a YA biography staple--as hard-hitting as Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan's Andy Warhol: Prince of Pop (2004), and equally compelling in its perspective on the Swinging Sixties. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1010L (What's this?)
  • Series: Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; annotated edition edition (October 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670059544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670059546
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elizabeth Partridge graduated with a degree in Women's Studies from the University of California at Berkeley, and later studied traditional Chinese medicine. She was an acupuncturist for more than twenty years before closing her medical practice to write full-time.

Elizabeth is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including Marching to Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary, as well as biographies of Dorothea Lange, Woody Guthrie, and John Lennon. Partridge has also written several photo biographies for adults. Her books have received many honors, including National Book Award Finalist, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Michael L. Printz Honor, and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. Elizabeth is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults.

Customer Reviews

The format of the book is ideal for school libraries with its textbook-like quality.
R. DelParto
And her gearing it towards children, using an attempt at their vocabulary makes the book always seem silly and almost stupid.
Daniel Mantey
Maybe that makes me a bad person, or maybe I'm just another one of those who misunderstands, but I don't really care.
Basically Amazing Ashley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. DelParto VINE VOICE on December 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Elizabeth Partridge examines the life of John Lennon as a fan as well as writer. Her book, ALL I WANT IS THE TRUTH, caters to those curious about the man, musician, and peace activist. The book is perfect for readers who know nothing about the former Beatle and later as a solo artist. The format of the book is ideal for school libraries with its textbook-like quality. Partridge interweaves historical events both with her narrative and the photographs she includes in the book that occurred during John Lennon's lifespan, which provides an historical backdrop to the life of the former Beatle.

Partridge provides a chronological overview of John Lennon's life from his birth, childhood, life as a Beatle, his activism, house husband, and solo career. Each chapter is beautifully organized with Partridge's basic narrative. The secondary and primary sources she uses are compiled in a reader friendly format at the end of the book, which is very helpful for anyone who wants to do further research about the man.

ALL I WANT IS THE TRUTH is a very intimate collage of stories about who John Lennon was. The photographs, which are mostly in black and white are simply moving, and have been rarely seen before, especially the photographs during his childhood. The photographs will enhance the memory of John Lennon for those who have followed his career and life, and will further hold that memory near and dear to their heart. However, for readers who are now just discovering this man, there will be an understanding of why John Lennon affected so many lives.

I commend Elizabeth Partridge for an excellent book that provides the truth and preserves the memory of John Lennon. ALL I WANT IS THE TRUTH is a highly recommended book for everyone.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Beatles Fan on October 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I grew up with the Beatles and they were an important part of my life. Partridge's emotionally revealing bio of John and the Beatles grips you and floods you with a multitude of feelings. I was thrilled to see the drop-dead gorgeous photos. Amazing to see unpublished photos of Lennon after all these years. Several pictures, including Annie's photo of John right before his death, are alone worth the price of the book. A must-have book for Imagining.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Sydney Feeney on October 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Having never really been a fanatic about the Beatles, I found this book to be one that I could not put down. It kept me going until I finished it. She reveals things that I never knew and I discovered what a wild bunch those guys were.The pictures are captivating and beautiful. Amazing story!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth is a spectacular look at the rock legend's life in photographs. Many of these photos are ones we've seen previously, but some are first time published. These haunting pictures are all shown in black and white, much as Lennon wanted his life to be lived. Accompanying the photos is a truthful account of the facts of his life, told in accessible, vivid language. Overall, the book does not tell the rabid Beatles' fan anything new, but it is well done nonetheless, and a terrific introduction to the legend for those unfamiliar with Lennon.

One word of warning: Partridge often quotes Lennon and others precisely, which means that harsh language is used infrequently. She also depicts most all of the major facets of Lennon's life: drug use, extramarital affairs, violent temper. As the name of the book implies, anything less would be unthinkable when writing about a man so staunch in his search for the truth. Nothing is inappropriate, but it is graphic at times. I wouldn't have it any other way. Recommended.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on October 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to help make this beautiful book happen. (I was the editor.) Everyone who saw this book through the various stages of its development were constantly riveted--by the storytelling, the photos, the design, the revelations (I didn't know John's mom was killed when he was 17! I didn't know that Ringo was actually considered to be a great drummer! I didn't know Brian Epstein died so young! I didn't know John loved Alice in Wonderland!) This is the perfect book for both kids AND adults because it's more like reading someone's personal photo album and memory book than reading an old-fashioned biography. For every photo, there's a story, for every story, there's a photo. The author used hundreds of quotes from John's interviews, giving the book HIS voice and not her own. We found some great photos of John as a little boy, and it's so much fun to see someone who you only knew as a Beatle splashing around on a school trip at the age of nine. You can see exactly who John was even then! And the book design is just captivating. Also, if you are looking for a book that takes you on a seamless journey from the very beginning to the very end, this is the book for you. Many people didn't realize that the famous photos with Yoko taken by Annie Leibovitz were taken the day John was killed. (Think naked John laying next to Yoko) Each chapter begins in John's own words, and all of the many influences in his life, from the goon show, to Little Richard and Chuck Berry, to Paul, and Aunt Mimi, and Yoko, and everyone--they are all here. So enjoy!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By another constant reader on December 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is it. A biography of Lennon that captures the spirit of the man. Partridge is a wonderful writer, and the book moves like a page-turner while never sacrificing depth and insight. She doesn't shy away from Lennon's complications, and that's what gives this biography such resonance. It is for everyone who's interested in Lennon, music, art, and how an artist thinks and works-- and how that complicates his relationship with others, and with the world.
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John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))
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