Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Day that Music Died

Source: Publisher Website
Death of a Dreamer: The Assassination of John Lennon by Alison Marie Behnke (21st Century, 2012, 112pp.)
In six chapters and a little over 100 pages, Death of a Dreamer deals with a whirlwind of interrelated topics: tumultuous political climate of the 1960s, the life and death of the late great John Lennon, and Mark David Chapman, the man who would stalk and murder one of the era’s most influential musicians in cold blood.

Placing an age range for this book is problematic. Based on the picture-book layout, one could say that it’s targeted at children and young adults, especially since it goes out of its way to define terms like ASSASSINATE, GIG, and CAPITALISM. However, the process of plowing the chapter on capitalism’s battle against communism will definitely lose the attention of anyone in the 9 to 12 age range. It also covers more “adult” topics, such as Chapman’s depression and questionable mental state, and Lennon’s drug use and posing nude for Annie Leibowitz. The slow pace of these beginning chapters will require the reader to have the patience of a young reader who doesn’t mind wading through the slow parts. The ending, however, is quite dramatic. Like any Beatles fan, I actually found myself gripped and somewhat saddened by the book’s narration of Lennon’s final hours. An ambitious work for a semi-picture book of only 112 pages, it will be of particular interest for anyone who’s interested in, as I like to call it, the day that music died. Recommended for ages 12-18 who have an attention span that lasts longer than 10 seconds.

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