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Paperback Writer: The Life and Times of the Beatles, the Spurious Chronicle of Their Rise to Stardom, Their Triumphs and Disasters, Plus the Amazing Paperback – June, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace Books (June 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441651240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441651245
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,820,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steve S. on March 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
As Mark Shipper writes in his introduction, don't take the book too seriously, because when all is said and done, rock and roll should never be taken all that seriously.

With that in mind, Shipper "reconstructs" (or deconstructs) the Beatles mythology in an absolutely brilliant and humorous way. His inventive melding of what Beatles fans know as fact with an ever-so-slightly skewing of other incidents in their lives makes for a terrific read.

Re-reading this after the Anthology releases and George's passing, it makes this long-time Beatles fan wonder, yet again, just what would've happened if all four of them could've been part of a true reunion. But as Shipper presciently realized in 1978, our expectations may never reconcile themselves with the reality. And as a result we should remain thankful, more than 40 years later, for a damn fine body of work and countless countless hours of enjoyment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TLeo@aol.com on September 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
I was 13 when I first bought Paperback Writer, after furtively glancing at it in a New Orleans bookstore. I was just going through my Beatles nut phase, and I -- like Scobo -- wondered why the album covers in the book didn't look like the real thing, and why Brian Epstein was a plumber when I knew he wasn't. (You have to read it.) Every so often, I'll take it off my shelf and re-read a chapter or two. It has gotten a little sillier, but it also seems, strangely, to have gotten closer to the truth. And it still has more laughs than almost any other book I've read in the 21 years since I bought it. I can't believe it's out of print -- heck, it even has a blurb from rockcrit high priest Greil Marcus on the back cover. Mark Shipper, where are you now?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
In the irony of ironies, I first read this book the day after John Lennon was murdered. Though of course the tragedy that had just occurred blunted some of my enjoyment at the time, it's nonetheless a hilariously-skewed rewrite of common-knowledge Beatle history. Shipper sends up everybody with the kind of no-holds barred irreverence Lennon was known for, and if you know your Beatle trivia, the in-jokes that abound here will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. This doesn't blunt the end of the book, which essentially holds the same moral as Ricky Nelson's song, "Garden Party." (You youngsters go look that one up!). A terrific book; hope it's soon available again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a British reader I have to disagree with reviewer "Boz" who can imagine the real Beatles saying the dialogue in this book. The problem is that the author really does *not* capture the lads' Scouse wit at all, and in fact betrays his own American origins in some of the language he puts in their mouths ("faucet" for "tap" for example).

That aside, the book is fun - although now in the 2000s, rather overtaken by events. Probably one for Beatles obsessives only.
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By J.D. Guinness on June 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
One of the few books I wish I'd written, Paperback Writer is the fab tale of the Beatles' reunion (circa 1979) and its hilarious consequences.

It's reminiscent of Eric Idle's The Rutles TV movie and records, but I daresay Mark Shipper's book is more accessible, and is therefore funnier, building with great precision and care on the Beatles' well-known characteristics and story, then bending and twisting it all with astonishingly consistent hilarity, while making many bright, but affectionate, comments on the sillier aspects of the Rock Biz in general.

As much as Mark Shipper clearly loves both the Beatles and rock music, there is a playful and therefore healthy cynicism in his writing that suggests he finds it all a bit ridiculous.

That, ultimately, is how his book won my heart, as I detected a kindred spirit; I hope you do too (In fact I hope Shipper won't mind my saying he was a major influence on my own comic writing, as I deal in a sort of pop-culture fascination in a literary-slapstick-comedy kinda way).

Back to Paperback Writer, and why it's so wonderful. There are many extremely funny running jokes throughout the novel, delivered in a sort of Dave Barry boisterousness; literate and hilarious. Even the Beatles album covers are parodied in a series of uproarious graphics.

Shipper sustains the story and jokes all the way through, he even moves us by the end of it, and that is pretty damn sensational in a comic novel. So few hold together as well as this; it's truly brilliant.

Since Beatlemania is showing no sign of ever really going away...since sounds and images of the Fab Four continue to batter at our consciousness with every single new invention that can play a song...I urge every Beatles fan in the world to buy this book.

Thanks to the Beatles' staying power, Mark Shipper, too, is always in style, and he's guaranteed to make you LAUGH.

I think I'll even buy another copy!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Boz on March 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Anyone who thought the Rutles are funny havent seen funny until they have read this book. A total alternate universe where Paul is already famous before he joined the Beatles. Brian is a plumber and the once much desired reunion of the moptops occurs but not in the way we would have thought.

A loving, biting reimagining of Beatlemania in a manner that Im sure John would have found hysterical.

But the amazing thing about it is that dialogue that Mark Shipper has his Beatles saying is not at all out of character with our real ones. Read this book and then tell yourself that Paul wouldnt have said this or John that. The authenticity of the dialogue is what gives this book its beauty and charm. You can just see the four lads speaking Marks words instead of the ones we know they said.

Brilliant as the Beatles story itself.
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