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VINE VOICEon December 19, 2011
For all those people who have puzzled over the famous Annie Leibovitz "Rolling Stone" photograph of a nude John Lennon in fetal position lying on the sofa and snuggling with a fully-clothed and very bored looking Yoko, this book will answer your questions about this haunting portrait, which was taken the afternoon of Lennon's murder on Dec. 8, l980. The portrait of Lennon apparently clinging to and kissing a stone-faced Yoko was reported by Leibovitz to have pleased both Yoko and John. John said to Annie, "You've captured our relationship exactly. Promise me it'll be on the cover." John was dead five hours later. The photo session was never completed but the test Polariod picture did appear on magazine covers all over the world.
This book by May Pang, the girlfriend/mistress Yoko chose for her husband doesn't directly discuss the above described portrait because May wasn't present at the time of it's creation, but her book indirectly answers all the questions viewing the picture raises.
It's amazing this story of their ten years together, which Pang originally joked with John about and called "Pang Remembers" was ever written and published. "John suddenly sounded very happy. I had been kidding him, but I realized he liked the idea of my speaking out. It was just like John. He would have liked to have me relieve him of the responsibility of telling the truth." John almost never told the truth. He said what Yoko told him to say even if it didn't make an iota of sense.
Yoko was Japanese. In her culture "I knew it was a tradition in Japan for wives of the upper class to understand the need of their husbands to have a mistress. In Japan often the wife and mistress were friends. I was not a Japanese mistress, however and the arrangement did make me uncomfortable and embarrassed."
Yoko pushed both John and May into a relationship. She had been working as their personal assistant for several years anyway. Yoko felt that since she and John were "not getting along and had been arguing and growing apart" that Yoko felt that she'd "rather see him going out with you (May) than with someone else, someone who might hurt him." Yoko probably also knew May wouldn't want to trap John by becoming pregnant even though John thought he was sterile from taking too many drugs over the years. He was apparently wrong because Yoko became pregnant with Sean after John and she were reunited.
Oddly enough once the relationship began after hours, Yoko permanently stopped May's salary for the long hours she continued to work taking care of business for both John and Yoko.Yoko also made certain that John never had any petty cash to spend.
This memoir is filled with important insights into the life of both John and Yoko. It will disappoint many of John's loyal fans, but it all fits together and the relationship is documented with photographs and accounts of witnesses. The material is incredible. A couple of unplanned Jam sessions are mentioned. As of the publication of this memoir neither tape had been released. The first jam session was the "Lennon-Jagger 'Too Many Cooks.'" The second "tape of 'Midnight Special'--the one and only time John and Paul, backed by Stevie Wonder and Harry Nilsson, played together after the breakup of the Beatles--still exists." Have those tapes been released to the public yet? This reviewer is not an expert so I don't know, but the readers may indeed know?
John kept a note pad next to his bed and often woke up at night to write down some notes or lyrics that came to him while he slept. He was always excited in the morning when he read what he'd written on the pad. In one case, John woke up and discovered he'd written an entire song that he loved. Writing songs was apparently a complete joy for John as was recording his music. John made the writing seem effortless.
This memoir contains some unbelievable material, but material that makes perfect sense in hindsight. It proves the folklore wisdom that "truth is stranger than fiction."
It's definitely a page-turner and is easy to read. It shows how Yoko was the traditional Japanese Puppet Master who stood in plain sight so she could bask in the fame of her puppets.
(For people who may not want to read a 336-page memoir on this subject, check out a more recent "Cliff Notes-like" version. May's Lennon photographs and captions book is called "Instamatic Karma". Please read my review of that 2008 book at the Amazon Listing Site for the book.)
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on March 26, 2008
I wasn't aware of May Pang's contribution to the Lennon tale until recently, after having read about her newly released collection of photos titled "Instamatic Karma". So it was mostly by accident, searching for other books that she may have written, that I discovered a pricey used hardcover of her 1983 book, "Loving John". I don't feel that I need to recap all the storyline that's been discussed above, but I have to say - this book hit me hard. May Pang appears as a level-headed island of love and stability for John, despite being pressured into the most awkward of awkward situations by a scheming Yoko who was fighting a rearguard action to hold on to what was left of their marriage. Yoko's solution? Rather than risk losing John to an unknown future female, she sets him up with a naïve young office assistant that she hopes to be able to use as a tool. And if this doesn't seem creepy enough, it's just scratching the surface when you read more about the wheels-within-wheels logic of psychological manipulation that, unlike art, is Yoko's true calling. Yoko is to John Lennon what Dr. Eugene Landy was to Brian Wilson - and May, bless her soul, took part in a foolish game indeed - while revealing much about John as a good-intentioned, but flawed and frail human being. Excellent stories involving all the players of the day, including ex-Beatles, ex-wives, various progeny, Phil Spector and Elton John.
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on July 5, 2010
The over-riding tone of the book is one of honesty. To write a book that reveals the author's own weaknesses and occasional moral double standards is commendable and lends credibility to her writings about the main topic of interest: Lennon. This book gives much insight into the man's personality away from the limelight, his fears and insecurities, and the seemingly unhealthy relationship he had with Yoko Ono.

For musos, there are interesting descriptions of his recording sessions and other musical collaborations, including those with Paul McCartney.

Highly recommended.
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on December 5, 2014
First, let me express my extreme satisfaction with the seller of the book. Although listed as a rough used copy, the book was in better condition than I had expected. Also, the dealer took meticulous care in the packaging of the product. The book arrived on schedule. I would give five stars for this vendor!!!

Unto the book, Yoko and John's behavior reminded me of a line from The Great Gatsby:
"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” Amazing.

For an overall book critique, it was a good read although at the end it slowed and seemed redundant. I commend May for coming forward with her story, and I can't understand why the book can't be in print. It doesn't reveal anything of John Lennon that hasn't been mentioned in other books. The censorship only collaborates some of the book's main themes about control and power.
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on January 26, 2014
It makes me wonder why it is out of print. She tells her story very tastefully. It tells how Yoko got John to go back to her with a hypnotist and how many parts of this story, that everyone takes for fact, were made up by Yoko and not true. Read this if you're ready to take your blinders off!
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on June 22, 2016
Amazing, amazing book. May Pang clearly kept meticulous notes of her relationship with John Lennon, and far from feeling that she intended to exploit the story later, the book reads like a chronicle of someone who loved the man at the same time she appreciated how much the public loved him and wanted to know him, as well. Hats off and a great "thank you to Ms. Pang. The book provides a brisklypaced behind-the-scenes look at not just John, May, and Yoko's lives, but of those of the celebrities that wove in and out of their lives.

This book was all fun and games until Pang's retelling of what led John to end their relationship. Pang is always tasteful and respectful in her story-telling, but even her highly-evolved reasoning as to why this event ended their relationship cannot hide what seems to be the clear fact that Lennon was subjected to a systematic, horrible form or mind control during his life. Here, the "conspiracy theories" and a factual memoir, sadly, meet. This book, like so many about the Beatles, made me weep. Their musical gift to us remains fresh, but my word, how those young men paid.
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on June 19, 2012
This book costs too much. At this point, it should be edited, revised a little, and republished. But probably not likely. Poor little May Pang may have gotten hit with some sort of cease-and-desist lawsuit for publishing this edition. Regardless, Pang had no qualms describing her life-changing experience with John Lennon. Very sad, because she comes across as an extremely caring, compassionate young woman. Just what Lennon needed. This book puts the Rolling Stone interviews and You-Tube clips in a different light. That's why it should be read. And what to think? Obviously Lennon was barely managing a condition (like his mother's) with mental illness; IMO, bipolar. Add to that drug use and alcohol addiction. These things will create mayhem in a person's life, and in the lives of those around him. It was a nice thing of old Yoko, to give herself a break and let in the mistress. What else can a wife do but bide her time, if all the real money is tied up in lawsuits? Naturally. The wife is always next to heaven and can do no wrong. Never forget that, Ladies. The husband with the mistress must always keep his wife on a pedestal, revere her as if she walks on water, and uphold her sanctity... (Just in case someone gets pissed-off. Or boots him out.) Then, he can always return home.
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VINE VOICEon September 29, 2009
This book was released in 1983 or so. That is important because Pang is reflecting on a period of time 8 or 9 years prior, not as if it was written today 25+ years ago, so her memory is still fresh.
It deals with John Lennon and herself (May Pang) when John was sent into 'exile' by Yoko. Pang was supposedly chosen by Ono to accompany John and keep Yoko informed of things. The book deals on two fronts, one being John and Mays life in LA and NY making the "Rock and Roll" album with Phil Spector and the "Walls and Bridges" albums with Elton John and others, the other details Yokos attempt to be a solo artist without John and her launching the disasterous tour of Japan she did.
The book is filled with interesting stories and insights from Pangs point of view, and she really does hold your interest when talking about how John interacted with other musicians like Mick Jagger, Harry Nilson, and even Paul McCartney. She loses it with her repeated telling of how often John said he was in love with her, and her painting of Yoko as 'evil' in her actions. Now both of those may be true, but its written about in excess. I enjoyed the book and found it more interesting than a lot of the new multi-paged Lennon biographies that have been flooding the market lately. I think its a book most John Lennon fans should read, as this was an important time in his life and Pang was there.
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on March 10, 2014
Must Read! You will get a glimpse into a period of John's life that is rarely discussed. This book will take you on a wild emotional journey. This book shows the many many layers of John.
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on June 26, 2016
Very interesting insight into a man admired by so many. We all thought he was so together. He was a mess!
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