John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth

Elizabeth Partridge

This engrossing confection by an award winning Berkeley biographer smacks of revisionist conjecture. The focused and encapsulated style underscores the Shakespearian tragedy that was Lennon’s life—a life of fatalistic portents, demagogic sway and hedonic indulgences historically associated with a potentate. His fragile emotional state was a roller coaster briefly pausing at the “Toppermost,” only to be obliterated by the descent. His contradictions (the literary lout; the co-dependant loner; the helpless high achiever; the violent peacenik; the working-class rich man) and destined dualities (mirrored in his polarized parents, the yin-yang persona and writing style of Paul McCartney, the mutual morphing with Yoko Ono, and the schism of the ’60s) are made manifest by the inevitable and often dire personal and global events that elevated Lennon to greatness while dooming him simultaneously. Lennon’s leitmotivs are death (an enabler, perpetrator and ally), love (his message and elusive grail), and above all truth (which, from his own lips, enshrines and condemns him).