Page 45 Review by Stephen
"At first I found it really strange to live at Mimi's. My mother never explained anything to me, I didn't dare ask any questions.
"I must have thought that it was going to be for two or three days like before."
His tiny suitcase remains on the bed, packed and ready to go, or perhaps never unpacked in the first place.
"I lived my whole childhood with a sensation of everything being temporary. I was always on deposit somewhere."
That's a fine piece of writing, and the art throughout is faultless, especially in the quiet moments. Horne is an exceedingly fine portrait artist; moreover, this softly shaded art, dappled with light, boasts a suppleness and deftness of touch which eludes so many engaging in such photo-realistic comics, inevitably in this case relying heavily on reference material. Too often the desperation to achieve likeness causes each rendition to become rigid and their flow as a sequence to become heavy and static, but the lines and light here are as pliant as you like.
Occasionally there's the same image repeated a little too often but I can happily put that down to snap-shot recollection which is something that flickers through my own mind, and is essentially what Lennon is supposed to be engaged in: offloading to his therapist in a series of sessions, the first of which takes place just before the birth of his second son, Sean, to Yoko Ono, on John's 35th birthday, October 9th 1975.
And therein lies my problem with this book and its central conceit: if Lennon were writing an extended, contemplative article for publication, or even as a personal exercise, it might work, but here he is far too lucid and fluent to be talking off-the-cuff to a counsellor who doesn't get a word in edgeways. There's no prompting, he just goes off on one - a very long one - in a measured, highly structured fashion, at first relating the self-confessed absence of any paternal feelings towards his first son, Julian, to his own abandonment as a child by his father and then his mother.
It's very well expressed by both artist and writers - too well expressed by the writers - as the father then returns to use Lennon as a lure to regain his wife, with no thought whatsoever as to the further destabilising effect (after so many) on their poor son.
There are four terrifically well chosen and delineated panels on Horne's part which depict the young lad waiting for his mother to return in Aunt Mimi's entryway, dressed in school uniform and cap as if he were waiting outside the headmaster's office - for hours.
The door doesn't open.
Amongst the other things that irk me, however, is that that this isn't a reflection on Lennon's New York Years as its title professes. It may be a reflection from his New York Years with occasional allusions to them, but they're far from the focus which instead sprawls over his years as a Beatle, yet with but a two-page footnote about 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', John casually, lazily asserting (but not necessarily erroneously, for sure!) that it was "the most revolutionary album of all time" without any explanation as to why - a subject about which you could easily fill a five-hour documentary.
I did nod thoughtfully to the notion that Lennon's uptake of spectacles - after years of enduring blurred vision for the sake of vanity - was a direct result of a film he agreed to take a part in, that character being one who wore glasses.
But to return to the credibility of the conceit, when one sits down to write something (editing out all the false starts etc), one hopefully comes up with something a lot more coherent than most of us manage in conversation, with a wider vocabulary to boot. But not only is this too considered for verbal therapy sessions which usually involve some degree of faltering then coaxing, it's also too well phrased and the language didn't seem like Lennon's, as spoken, at all.
The overall effect is to leave this feeling false, contrived and untrustworthy so I stopped trusting its accuracy let alone engaging in it as entertainment and, in the end, this falls through the cracks of being neither one thing nor the other.