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Old Sep 30, 2012, 10:03 AM   #1
Maia 66
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Default The John Lennon Letters: Let's Discuss!

My copy arrived a little early (thought it was coming out on John's birthday ??), so I don't know how many of you have had a chance to see/read this book yet. In any case, I thought I would start a thread to discuss some interesting "discoveries" from the book.

I mentioned in this thread that one of the sad discoveries for me was finding out that John's cousin Liela (even he misspelled it as 'Leila') has recently died. On page 19, there's a Dramatis Personae that lists key family members, including "Liela, cousin – (1937-2012), daughter of Harriet and Ali Hafez" I looked for an obit, but couldn't find one...

Anyway, in some of the family letters from the mid-'70s, it becomes obvious how much affection John had for Liela. He mentioned that he was closer to her than to any other cousin and how she was one of the smartest women he knew. Indeed, she grew up to be a doctor... I found this quote in a newspaper article from 2001:

Quote:
Dr Liela Harvey, spokesman for the 500-strong Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine, said: "Animal testing is evil and totally irrelevant to humans. It is carried out by Frankenstein-like doctors and we will oppose it until our last dying breath. Closing HLS would send out a powerful message to the industry that it has to change its ways. We want a review so that the facts are brought into the open."
Sounds like a cool person! Here's a photo from the book of John and Liela and two of Mimi's boarders.



If anyone has any info on Liela, please share it here! Ta!
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Old Sep 30, 2012, 10:21 AM   #2
Maia 66
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Another interesting discovery...

Although I've seen this letter before, I never realized that the return address that John typed was for The Dakota... in June of '74! He and May were already living in the UFO apartment at the time... must have still been receiving mail at Yoko's. To me, this is just more evidence that he and Yoko saw each other during The Lost Weekend.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 01:49 PM   #3
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My copy arrived a little early (thought it was coming out on John's birthday ??), so I don't know how many of you have had a chance to see/read this book yet. In any case, I thought I would start a thread to discuss some interesting "discoveries" from the book.

I mentioned in this thread that one of the sad discoveries for me was finding out that John's cousin Liela (even he misspelled it as 'Leila') has recently died. On page 19, there's a Dramatis Personae that lists key family members, including "Liela, cousin – (1937-2012), daughter of Harriet and Ali Hafez" I looked for an obit, but couldn't find one...

Anyway, in some of the family letters from the mid-'70s, it becomes obvious how much affection John had for Liela. He mentioned that he was closer to her than to any other cousin and how she was one of the smartest women he knew. Indeed, she grew up to be a doctor... I found this quote in a newspaper article from 2001:



Sounds like a cool person! Here's a photo from the book of John and Liela and two of Mimi's boarders.



If anyone has any info on Liela, please share it here! Ta!
Died in Liverpool. Cremated in Manchester. No obit. Much missed.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 04:32 PM   #4
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Ta for the info. I'm sorry for all those who loved her... she did seem like a lovely person.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 04:36 PM   #5
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That's is sad right there.

And what's even more sad is that FLY has not purchased this book.

Maia, please hold out for a sister I just ordered it. It should be here soon but can you give me until the weekend or early next week to share my thoughts? I'll be extra detailed.
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Old Oct 01, 2012, 09:30 PM   #6
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Default I thought those letters weren't supposed to be out yet...

I hope to get it once it hits the bookstores...think they'll have it for sale at the Beatles Fair?
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Old Oct 02, 2012, 05:44 PM   #7
Maia 66
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Maia, please hold out for a sister I just ordered it.
You got it! I'm happy to wait for you ...and wilde... and Scruffie... and whoever else gets a chance to read this book. (An hour or two in your local bookstore should suffice! ) Honestly, there's not THAT much there... a lot of the letters/notes/cards we've seen before... but the s#!t he wrote to his family was really cool! Some interesting things he said about Mimi...
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Old Oct 02, 2012, 05:47 PM   #8
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I hope to get it once it hits the bookstores...think they'll have it for sale at the Beatles Fair?
I don't doubt it. But, like I said above, you can probably just pull up a chair and park yourself at a bookstore for a bit... that is, if there still IS a bookstore anywhere near you!
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Old Oct 07, 2012, 04:51 PM   #9
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Default I broke down and ordered it thru Amazon...

I do my darnedest to support local bookstores, really I do, but....I'll get it around the 16th. A tad late but hey, I also ordered Neil Young's autobiography for the man of the house's Xmas present...and gift wrapped, too, so I don't read it on the sly before giving it to him...

So...should we expect any huge revelations?
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Old Oct 07, 2012, 05:41 PM   #10
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So...should we expect any huge revelations?
Nothing huge. To me, the most interesting thing I read were some of his comments about Mimi. When you and Fly get there, let's discuss!
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Old Oct 07, 2012, 06:08 PM   #11
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Ok...have had my book for some time and only just skimmed through it today. OMG John's letters to his aunts and others as a child are...

be still my heart....

Can I just...are there words?
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 11:24 AM   #12
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Another interesting discovery...

Although I've seen this letter before, I never realized that the return address that John typed was for The Dakota... in June of '74! He and May were already living in the UFO apartment at the time... must have still been receiving mail at Yoko's. To me, this is just more evidence that he and Yoko saw each other during The Lost Weekend.
hahahaaaa that's a great letter!
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 03:29 PM   #13
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There are many laugh-out-loud letters in the book, Lucy. They are so much fun to read! His letters to Derek are especially hilarious...
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Old Oct 12, 2012, 10:59 AM   #14
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Default I finally got it from Amazon!

One of the very best types of Friday surprises (I wasn't expecting it 'Til Tuesday-hush, hush, voices carry!)

Let me tell you, that book is calling my name and I am finding it very difficult to concentrate on work (I had it delivered to my place of employment.) I've flipped through it looking for that "castration" letter Maia mentioned. I have not located it yet, athought I read another sweet letter he wrote to cousin Liela from New York. He moans a bit about Mimi in that one, but he also says one of the reasons he's been avoiding England is because he knows if he visits it will probably be the last time he sees Mimi and he doesn't want to deal with telling her goodbye....

But heck, I'm ready to discuss it now!
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Old Oct 13, 2012, 08:09 AM   #15
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That's is sad right there.

And what's even more sad is that FLY has not purchased this book.

Maia, please hold out for a sister I just ordered it. It should be here soon but can you give me until the weekend or early next week to share my thoughts? I'll be extra detailed.
Well hurry up girlie! I got it yesterday and pretty much devoured a lot of it! Scruff, you are correct, those letters to the cousins are .... wow. My heart...

And Maia, I found the Liela "castration" letter. Double wow.
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Old Oct 13, 2012, 09:15 AM   #16
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Default In The meantime

Whilst waiting for your copy of the book, try googling 'The John Lennon Letters' and check some reviews. In the UK, Jarvis Cocker did one for The Guardian, and he was not too impressed with nostalgia, however it was well written article for a 49 year old. The Daily Telegraph did not like it, but then again, I do not like the Daily Telegraph. Other reviews are more favourable.
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Old Oct 13, 2012, 09:23 AM   #17
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Dear Sir David,
I have checked out some of the reviews, including Mr. Cocker's (he's my age!). I have also read the Telegraph. Britain seems a lot harder on anything Beatles than we Yanks, who can't get enough of Lennon especially. My goodness, he was even the subject of an "American Masters," we wish he was ours so badly... which probably leave Britain, and his family, rather cold.
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Old Oct 14, 2012, 09:29 AM   #18
Maia 66
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Well, from a book critic point of view, it's not THE most revelatory book, but it does have some good primary source stuff... although it is also obviously pretty heavily edited. I'm sure there are a lot of very interesting things that were left out per Yoko.

One critic who panned the book said that printing his shopping lists was "scraping the bottom of the Beatle barrel," but imo he could not be more wrong. There are precious few primary sources of John's Dakota Days (read: not written by someone with an axe to grind), it's nice to get a glimpse of what was on John's mind during the late '70s. And those letters to his family also shed a bit of new light.

You know how in that You Tube interview with Mimi she said that they would chat about the English pound but that they would mostly reminisce about his childhood? Looks like he was putting things in perspective a lot during those days... sort of cleaning up his closet in preparation for the next stage of his life.

One thing that came up a few times in those family letters was the resentment John felt about Mimi's saying that he just "got lucky," and I suppose he felt she was negating his talent and genius. That really struck me. I wonder if it was a running source of contention between them...
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Old Oct 15, 2012, 09:43 AM   #19
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Default The shopping lists are a good source....

...since the diaries have not been published (and really, do we NEED them published? Doesn't a person, no matter how much a so-called "public property" they are, deserve their own privacy? Don't their families deserve some privacy as well? Eventually, maybe in 50 years or so, after everyone involved have become worm food, it might be ok to publish them...sort of like like Wilde's "De Profundis" letter, but until then...)

I can draw some conclusions from them...but at the same time one doesn't want to over-weight them with deep meaning...although I can't help myself.
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Old Oct 15, 2012, 08:27 PM   #20
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Default The John Lennon Letters: Let's Discuss

I got my copy of this new book a few days ago.I got my copy from Amazon I'm still reading it.Its funny,interesting and the letters are very John indeed. I think its worth buying it.
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