01 June 2013

When They Were Boys; Larry Kane

When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles' Rise to the TopWhen They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles' Rise to the Top by Larry Kane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was hoping that an editor seriously attacks this before it's published, but since that's in two months it probably won't happen.

Here's the problem: repetition. Every time Joe Ankrah is mentioned, there's also a mention of his group the Chants and how Paul (and the Beatles) broke through racial lines for them. Once would have enough. And then Kane falls into Dan Brownian writing when he says "Life model June Furlong" (or some variation on that theme). This is always a problem when reporters write a book, because they're used to short attention spans and people who may not have read previous articles. But in a book? We can remember or flip to the first mention should we need the reminder. I'm also not a huge fan of reporters inserting themselves into the story; in this case, it was understandable, but it happened too often.

So the writing was a problem. And then there's the inequity of the coverage. John and Paul get quite a bit on their upbringing, while Stu, George, Ringo and Pete get virtually none. Even though we're told what a huge role Pete played in their early years, he's barely there (the time in Hamburg is talked about as though it was the three Beatles and Stuart. That's what happens in most books, so it was particularly disappointing here. And the mention of John's affair/Lost Weekend with May Pang? Still not sure why we had to hear about that so often.

Tighter storytelling, more background on the key players and perhaps less Larry would have made this book truly special.

ARC provided by publisher.

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