Can’t Buy Me Love

By Jonathan Gould

I took a class on the Beatles in college. It counted as a general ed requirement! I still feel lucky. I do like the Beatles and this will be the second book “about them” that I’ll have read (The first was Shout, for the class). I hope I like it.

MAY 3 UPDATE
This is a great book. The author makes a point early of describing how he wanted this book to differentiate itself from the other books about the band, and his angle was examining the music from a cultural and historical perspective. I love examining things from cultural and historical perspectives! It’s like he wrote it with me in mind.

He also points out that it is a biography of the band, not the individuals. That is not something I probably would have noticed, but now that I know this it is holding up true. I am really enjoying it, at least the first sixth of it. It could theoretically tank.

MAY 14 UPDATE
Holy crap! The more I learn about Yoko Ono the freakier she gets. From the few things I had read about the Beatles breaking up I had figured she really was scapegoated but this author is painting an entirely different story and I am digging hating on the ocean child. John Lennon achieved great heights of dickery, too.

MAY 15 UPDATE
Turns out all the Beatles were dicks at the end. But that didn’t really hamper my enjoyment of the book, and I’m sure once they separated they more or less settled back down to the normal, convivial people that they started out as. I don’t really know much about them.

OVERALL RESPONSE
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the close readings of individual songs and album analysis was fantastic, and I wish I’d had the CDs plugged in right next to me as I was reading, but that would have added what? Another 20 hours to my reading?

It started to drag after Sgt Pepper. I just really couldn’t follow the financial messes that caused so much distress, but that’s not why it dragged (because there really only were a few pages of that). And I’m hardly the first person to say it, but once the Beatles started going through the motions of being a band and hardly tolerating each other, the book lost a lot of steam. The format and writing style didn’t change at all, but the content ceased to be compelling and you just started watching a bunch of assholes get what was coming to them. Which is sort of sad, because they didn’t set out to be a bunch of assholes but the stress gets to you in the end. I can totally understand how being put upon inspires the desire to kick others in the face. Now imagine what I would do with millions of dollars I can’t get to, people demanding my time and presence, a lot of testosterone in my system (because I am a guy), and not even having the levelheadedness of turning thirty yet.

Oh well. At least they had Hamburg.

Man, does that author hate Yoko, though! He was outrageously catty towards her character. I enjoyed every word.

EPILOGUE:
I found a misspelling in someone’s name as I was reading the book but let it slide. I’d only been surfing the net looking for more information about a television personality the author had mentioned: Cathy McGowan. He’d spelled it McGowen. I didn’t know if he or the website was correct. Now I learn that he spelled the author Margaret Forster as Margaret Foster. That’s pretty sloppy. Dude. How long could it take for an intern to check names online? Less than a day.

I may email the publishers just so I can stop fretting about it.

UPDATE MAY 22:
I emailed the publishers and said this:

    Hi!

    I am embarrassed that I don’t have page numbers for this, but I have
    already turned the book back to the library. I noticed two things:

    CAN’T BUY ME LOVE by Jonathan Gould (Harmony)

    Cathy McGowan, the television personality from England, is spelled
    wrong. I think it’s spelled “McGowen.”
    Margaret Forster, the author of Georgy Girl, is spelled Margaret Foster.

    I noticed that Foster was misspelled in the index, too; I didn’t happen
    to look up McGowan.

    I enjoyed the book.

UPDATE MAY 23:
An answer!

    Dear Karen,

    Thank you for your interest in our publications. Your email has been sent to
    the appropriate department to be corrected in future editions.

    Thank you,
    Random House Consumer Services
    3837

Now I just have to hope that I’m right so they don’t curse my name later.

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