Thursday, July 16, 2020

Reader's Diary #2180 - Foenkinos and Corbeyran (writers), Horne (illustrator): Lennon the New York Years

I hadn't been in a major rush to read Corbeyran's Lennon: The New York Years (adapted from a work by Foenkinos). It was hyped a bit at first but then I remembered some critics who said it was full of inaccuracies. I eventually broke down, largely due to Bohemian Rhapsody. As many have pointed out, it's also full of inaccuracies but I knew that going in and still enjoyed it as a movie.

For the most part, I also enjoyed this graphic novel. I do wish though that those who called it inaccurate would have given more examples. Not really having studied Lennon's life before, I didn't pick up on much except it omits any part of him being physically abusive to women or Julian, which he himself has admitted to.

It was interesting to leave that stuff out as other flaws were left in (violence towards men, drug abuse, disinterest in Julian, infidelity) and I suspect it ties back to the frame story. The story's being told from John himself as he unburdens himself from a psychiatrist's couch (this also didn't happen, by the way). I've encountered a lot of framing devices that I really haven't enjoyed, and I know some critics didn't enjoy this one either, but I found it effective in portraying him more sympathetically. I suspect the authors knew the misogyny and child abuse were lines in the proverbial sand that would destroy most readers' sympathies.

Another complaint I've read by reviewers is the repetitive use of certain panels. I will absolutely not knock this or any aspect of the art which was gorgeous (grayscale watercolours). The repetition was always purposeful, a reflection back to a previous scene which now had new context, a reminder that he was sometimes spinning his wheels, repeating previous mistakes.

A will, however, point out that the title is misleading. It implies a memoir of a very specific time in his life, when in actuality it's a full-on biography starting with his birth right up to his death.

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