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on February 10, 2004
Like a lot of kids, Smith found that the sports-thing wasn't going to work for him and his own son. Plus, he was getting a little tired of listening to kids' music during the long car rides he and his family took. The Beatles hit the spot perfectly. Two of Us isn't just a look at how a father and a son bonded over music, it shows 1) how the Beatles just keep on trucking, year after year 2) how parents can "bond" over something cultural in a sports-nutty country; and 3) the joys of introducing your kids to something really great and lasting and elevating in a world of crappy music and video games. The book will make you laugh and make you cry and when you're done with it, I guarantee you: you'll go straight to the record player, or CD player, and play Beatles non-stop!
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on January 29, 2004
What a terrific writer Smith is. He has a natural understanding of music, kids, and, finally, the world. "Two of Us" is a funny, charming, pitch-perfect gem that is reminiscent of Hornby's "High Fidelity" and "About a Boy," but which has its own distinctive style and great good humor. The book made me miss the Beatles, and made me miss being a kid, but it also reminded me of the ways in which anything important that's ever happened to you, and any great album you've ever listened to, will stay with you forever.
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on March 14, 2004
Reading Two of Us : The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Beatles by Peter Smith I was reminded of one of my own Beatle moments growing up. I was over at a friend's house waiting for him to finish getting ready to go watch a baseball game. His younger brother, then in 6th grade I'd imagine, and I were watching the American Bandstand show where the first films of the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper facial hair was showing. After the film Dick Clark was asking some of the teen girls in the audience what they thought. "Yuck! They're so old looking and ugly" was the consensus. I remember turning to Roger and asking what he thought? "Those girls better get used to it," Roger said, "because in 3 months everybody's gonna look like that". A statement that proved to be very prophetic.
I mention this because as you read Two of Us you will have many such recollections, both dealing with your own youth and adolescence as well as those of your kid's if you are a parent. And that is what makes this book so enjoyable-you are flashing back over your own life and experiences as you share those of Peter Smith and his son. The shared experience adds greatly to the narrative and makes reading this book a very personal sort of experience.
Unfortunately, it's a somewhat disappointing experience as well. The problem is that Smith takes this work in a lot of directions that may have been meaningful for him personally but are pretty much boringly meaningless detail to the reader. There's a lot of introspection about the relationship between the author and his father-an entity so fleetingly described as to be little more than a caricature to the reader. Thus, all the prose associated with the comparison of Smiths relationship to his dad and comparing that to his relationship to his son is more irritating than enlightening.
Smith is also wont to let his metro-sexual side intrude into the text. That he thinks his son is "beautiful" is ok-but he keeps using that phrase throughout the book. The touchy-feely aspects of the book wear one down after a while.
Lastly, there's a dissonance to the thread of the book. The Beatles bring son and father together and, as could be expected, eventually, as the boy grows, that's not enough any more. They grow out of this device. There is no indication that Smith is working on a way to keep the relationship alive outside a Beatles context. This is supposed to be a book about an adult trying to engage a youth-yet the adult seems to be the one who's having trouble growing and communicating here.
However, for a time there is a connecting through the vortex of the Beatles, and there are some magical aspects to this relationship and the story of it. In the end one is left with a sense of wonder that has more to do with the Beatles than with this father-son combo-what's is the power of their existence that creates a dynamic that can, and often does, bridge generations? If the book does one thing well, it's stimulate the reader to examine that phenomenon within the context of his own experience. In the end the power of the book is that Sam and Peter's experience highlights and reveals our own experiences.
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on February 9, 2004
I guarrantee that after reading this book you will want to discover the Beatles all over again. Peter Smith not only brings to life again all the great songs we grew up with but also beautifully describes the wonder of hearing them for the first time. This story about a father and son reconnecting through a shared love of music reminded me that a powerful part of parenting is taking advantage of unexpected and unforced opportunities to talk, share and just hang out together.
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VINE VOICEon March 26, 2011
Beatle fans will undoubtedly love this book. Many, if not all Beatle fans will smile at their Beatle related memories growing up.

This book serves a multi-purpose. Many people and their children bond over the Beatles. The Beatles are the soundtrack to the lives of countless people. Like Tony Bennett, who always impressed me as being a class act, the Beatles have crossed over into all generations and are the voices for everyone. Just as Smith and his dad had their Beatle moments, Smith would later include his son in even more Beatle moments.

The narratives of both father and son make for a very effective book. While this is autobiography, there are times when this particular author spends more time on his own introspective view than presenting that same view in a way that is more inclusive to readers. Even so, this is still an excellent work and Beatle fans will no doubt be cheering him for exposing his son to culture, that is the Beatles and their music.

Smith refers to his son as beautiful, which makes one think of the John Lennon classic, "Beautiful Boy." In fact, John's 1980 classic could well indeed underscore many portions of this book. It is clear that Smith loves his son and that is heartwarming. As much as I love the Beatles, I couldn't help but wonder what Smith would do and how he would talk to his son if not for the safety device the Beatles provided him. One cannot help but wonder if Smith is perhaps relying a little too heavily on the Beatles to get through to the boy and thus, using the Beatles as a conversational/interpersonal crutch.

Even so, you just want to salute him for bringing the Beatles into his son's life. The Beatles are an important part of their relationship which is a good thing. Like Ron Schaumberg's "Growing Up With the Beatles," Growing up with the Beatles: An illustrated tribute, readers are treated to the Smith men's lives running alongside the history of the Beatles and their music. The Beatles really have had people come together.

I love this book.
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on March 8, 2004
What a wonderful time I had reading this book. It made me pull out my Beatles music and find more patience with my two-year-old son. A very moving experience all in all. I can't give it higher praise than that.
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on December 31, 2010
If you're a Beatles fan and you have a child you'll like this book. I bought it for my husband when I was pregnant with our son and he liked it.
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on May 12, 2013
following the lives of Beatle fans and seeing how being a fan of Beatle music and foster a father son relationship
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on March 6, 2004
What begins as a touching memoir of a father/son relationship eventually rings false. I had a hard time believing some of the dialogue from the seven year old son. We are supposed to believe the son had developed deep emotional insights from listening to the Beatles over the course of what seems like only a few months. The author has created a fantasied ego projection of the ideal son, one that shares his love of the Beatles. Instead of "Two of Us", a more apt title would be "I Me Mine".
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on September 2, 2013
While I don't doubt the relationship between father and son is genuine, and their love of the Beatles is also fascinating and honest, I *do* have a hard time believing "Sam" was saying the things he claimed to have said. Unless he was a protege, I don't really think he told his Dad to "take the top and I'll take the bottom" of Maxwell's Silver Hammer, and how "Sam" placed his hands over his Dad's to show him the correct chord progressions.
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