Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Beatle's Sister Tells All

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Beatle's Sister Tells All

Article excerpt

Byline: By Emily Beament

Imagine this: growing up with my brother john lennon by Julia Baird, Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 18.99.

This is an unusual treat ( a book about The Beatles that tells you things you didn't know about John Lennon.

The author is his sister Julia, who was tired of seeing inaccurate books and documentaries about her life, which portrayed their mother (also called Julia) as a feckless woman who gave her son to her sister to raise.

Her mother was the fourth of five strong, self-willed and selfish sisters. Her problems began after her headstrong marriage to Alf Lennon, who practically abandoned her before their son John was born.

She had an affair, fell pregnant again and was forced to give the baby girl up for adoption. She then fell in love with John Albert Dykins and outraged her sisters again by moving in with him and having two daughters, Julia and Jackie.

Her eldest sister, Aunt Mimi, decided that Julia's lifestyle was sinful and, with the help of social services, took John away to her home, forbidding her sister to visit.

Luckily, John rebelled and frequently visited his mother, and Julia portrays a family life full of love, freedom and music.

Tragedy struck when Julia was 11 and John was 17, when their mother was knocked down outside Aunt Mimi's house by a speeding car. Since they were illegitimate, the sister's aunts felt that the children weren't part of "the family", but at the same time didn't think that their father was "suitable" to bring them up, and felt morally obliged to look after them.

Julia and Jackie were sent to live with an aunt in Liverpool and were never even told about their mother's death until months later. And John stayed at Mendips with Aunt Mimi.

As well as being a book about her famous brother, Imagine This is also a poignant, moving and often painful memoir of one woman's unconventional life growing up in Liverpool after the war.

Happily this personal journey has ended with Julia forgiving her family. …

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