I read Robert Rosen's book, "Nowhere Man: The Final Days of John Lennon", on the plane the other day. Don't really know how to sum up this book. I highly recommend it if you consider yourself a Beatle/Lennon fan. It gives you a different perspective of Lennon's final years. One that differs greatly at many points from the "official" story told by Yoko.
The story behind this book is that Rosen was a friend of Lennon's personal assistant, Fred Seaman. He got Lennon's diaries after his death to write the real story of the former Beatle's final years. According to Rosen, Lennon told Seaman that if anything happened to him, he wanted a true biography to be published. It would show a darker side of his life. One that exposed him as a very flawed and trapped person that was at times haunted by his fame.
After finishing this book and Cynthia Lennon's book, "John", I'm beginning to believe more of this story of John Lennon's final years. Both books paint this time period in a similar tone. I know some people refuse to believe this story, but don't be blinded by the light.
It's easy to just say John Lennon was a great man who had an amazing family life, was in love with Yoko Ono, and died a happy man. That's what Ono wants you to believe. That's my big issue with her in general. I think she tries to persuade the public to think whatever she wants since she controls the Lennon estate. I'll give her credit that she is a powerful woman and I think most people are afraid to challenge her story.
Rosen paints her in a disturbing light. One that revolves her relying solely on tarot readings, horoscopes, and other mystical readings to dictate her daily life. She consulted with a psychic daily about everything. She would do readings on everything from people to real estate. She had complete control over Lennon and it was his history of being controlled by dominating women (Aunt Mimi growing up) that kept him by her side. She didn't even sleep in the same bed as Lennon and it forced him to become a compulsive wanker.
Lennon is a portrayed as a man who spent most of his days in bed, getting high, and watching television. He also spent a lot of time sleeping. It got to the point where he would be more asleep than awake. He kept a dream journal and even attempted to program his dreams (I've tried this and I don't know how he did it). He also became fascinated with numerology and it gave him a greater meaning of number 9. At times it felt like Lennon wanted to leave Ono, but was afraid of what would happen. This point was also discussed in "John".
It was interesting to see that Lennon had horrible mood swings. Depressed and trapped are two words that come to my head. He wanted fame, but hated it at the same time. He didn't want to have friends. He didn't want to be abused by other people. He also absolutely hated success for other people especially Paul McCartney and other Dakota resident, Paul Simon. He ultimately shut himself off from the world until he made his comeback in 1980.
That's when the book really heats up. 1980 was the beginning of a new chapter in his life. As the date nears December 8th, the book becomes happier, yet in your mind you know what is going to happen. My favorite part of the book was when he sailed to Bermuda. The whole crew was seasick besides him and the captain. At one point, Lennon took control of the ship and he took so much pride in the fact that the crew's lives were in his hands. Waves were crashing into him and he was yelling at the sea. That's classic Lennon.
Let me also say, I've read some stuff about the authenticity of both the books I have listed. Still, after reading both books, I've never been more intrigued by his complex and flawed life. I can't stop reading and listening about since I think it's fascinating. I don't want to be just another Beatle/Lennon fan. I want to know the whole story from every angle. I'm not content to know just the "official" story.
Really, my journey is only really beginning. Up next is Ray Coleman's definitive Lennon biography, Lennon. This 600 page magnum opus covers John's whole life.