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John Lennon: Biography by his sister Julia

Updated on August 16, 2015

John Lennon's family and early life

You might remember that I recently reviewed the book by John Lennon's first wife, Cynthia. (There's a link to the review below). At the same time, I bought this book by John's sister Julia. Wow - this is tremendous stuff.

Did you know that John Lennon had two sisters?

Well, three actually but this is the story of his sisters Julia (named after their mother) and Jackie. Born a few years after John, they were - and are - in the perfect position to tell the real story about John and his family.

Julia's story supports Cynthia's book

Although the story by a wife and a story by a sister are likely to be very different, they both confirm each other when writing about John's early life and events. I found nothing that conflicted - unlike other books written by outsiders.

But Julia reveals all

Cynthia's book is primarily about John and their son, Julian. She is tactful throughout, particularly about Yoko Ono (although you get the feeling that there's plenty she'd like to say.) Julia though doesn't hold back.

Read my review of Cynthia's book

What you'll discover

To the best of my knowledge, Yoko Ono has never written a book about John. It's too late now. Cynthia and Julia got there first. You'll read about:

  • The loving relationship between John, his mother and his sisters
  • How Julia and Jackie weren't told about their mother's death until months later
  • Why the infamous Aunt Mimi wasn't what she appeared to be
  • How the sisters were treated by Yoko Ono after John's death
  • How they were denied their legacy by Yoko
  • The truth about their mother - who was often portrayed wrongly
  • The 'horrendous' Yoko-endorsed documentary about John's life

The book also tells about John's third sister - something that was definitely swept under the carpet. John's mother had a daughter and had her adopted - this was in the rather brutal way that was commonplace in those days; the baby was looked after by its natural mother until it was several months old.

This was heartbreaking for Julia especially when you consider that her sister Mimi (who was childless) virtually kidnapped John and insisted on bringing him up herself.


I strongly suggest that you order the two book together, as I did. I read this book first, then moved on to Julia's book.I believe that this is the best order in which to read them. Start with Cynthia's tactful and diplomatic version then move onto what Julia has to say.Julia truly tells all.


Meet Julia Lennon

When you see Julia Lennon, or Julia Baird as she is now, there can be no doubt that she is John's sister. The physical similarity is definitely there.

Although John looked remarkably like his father, you can tell that both he and his sister inherited part of their looks from their mother's side of the family.

In the video below Julia talks about her mother (also called Julia) who, over the years, has been portrayed as an uncaring and unfeeling woman who was responsible for John's character flaws.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The book by her sister-in-law Cynthia bears this out too.

If any woman had a hand in creating the stranger side of John Lennon,it was his Aunt Mimi - a woman who was often described as being the oasis of sanity in the family.This is far from the case as Julia reveals.

John's mother Julia and Mimi were two of several sisters from the somewhat fearsome Stanley family - a force to be reckoned with in Liverpool In days gone by.

John Lennon.The working class hero?

Something that surprises many people is that John Lennon wasn't a working class boy with a poor upbringing. This was an image he liked to give to himself but it wasn't the case.

Julia's book, as well as Cynthia's,bear this out. John was a middle class boy from a respectable suburban home.

In fact, his Aunt Mimi looked down on the other members of the group because they weren't of the same respectable background.

© 2014 Jackie Jackson


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    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: I have that movie on my 'must watch' list. Yes, he had a very strange life when he was younger. This was largely because of his mother's family who had some downright bizarre ideas. Also, he and his mother had been abandoned by his father. And of course, this all took place a long time ago when attitudes were very different. I'm looking forward to the next book because Yoko Ono has come across very badly indeed in the other two.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: They really are. They are similar but different - fascinating. I think that Cynthia was a little concerned about being regarded as 'the woman scorned' which is another reason why she was tactful. Julia, as his sister, didn't have those constraints.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @SusanDeppner: They really are very revealing. I think that a lot of myths are dispelled in both these books.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I'm not very familiar with John Lennon's life (except that which most of us know of course) - but one night a movie called 'Nowhere Boy' came on, and as I was watching it I realized that it was the story of the teenage years of John Lennon (apparently the reviews of the movie weren't great) but I REALLY enjoyed the movie; I found his early life fascinating probably because I had no idea life was this hard for him when he was a young boy and teenager.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      They must be interesting if you are reading all three! He did have a fascinating life, didn't he? I like the way you compared these in the review. Both sound very good.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      It's amazing that the interest in John has never waned a day in the 50 years since the Beatles burst on the scene. Sounds like some good reading!