Book Review: A Date With A Beatle by Judith Kristen

A Date with a Beatle

A Date With A Beatle by Judith Kristen

This was my second attempt at reading A Date With A Beatle.  I had bought the book at the Fest for Beatles Fans in NJ in 2010.  The first time through, I managed to get to page 61 of this 171 page book about a young girl’s attempt to meet George Harrison.  I’ll give my first impression report and in the end…I’ll give my overall impression after actually finishing this book.

I picked up this book after meetin Judith Kristen and her husband at The Fest.  Knowing that the first editions of Jude Southerland Kessler‘s self-published novel on John Lennon now sell for up to $1000, I figured I’d pick up a 1st edition copy of ‘A Date With A Beatle‘ as an investment.  After reading the first 19 very short chapters of this book, I just cringed.  Something just didn’t sit right with me about how a woman could remember such detail after 45 years.  It was then I saw in the front of the book, “This book is partially fictionalized”.  Then it made sense to me that I wasn’t quite sure how much was made up and I felt duped!  I put the book down for over a year.

Last week, I decided to pick this book up again and finally review it, knowing full well that this could turn out really bad for any future dealings with Ms. Kristen or her husband since we’ve been known to be seen in the came circles.

Once again…I struggled.  After only 1o chapters, I felt like this was work, but I championed on…determined to finish and review it.  I tried to anaylize why I was struggling with the way the story was being presented and then it hit me that Judith Kristen is also a children’s book author and I believe that in her own way…she dumbed down this book a bit much.  Or maybe it’s the attempt to write it in her voice as it was when she was 16.  Or maybe it was the over-the-top conversations between her and her friends and police officers.   Finally, I can say I finished it.

I can honestly say that by the her last attempt to meet George Harrison in the story in this book, she had me hooked.  The ending is whitty and will make you smile.  I am glad I read it…and the latest edition has a beautiful new cover from Beatles artist Eric Cash.  I’ve also read that Ms. Kristen has been invited to Beatles Week in Liverpool later this month and then will start a book tour of German where her book has now been published in German.  Best of luck to her!

You can buy her book on Amazon.

I can believe I’m about to say this….but…

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles

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9 Comments

Filed under Beatles books, Beatles-freak, George Harrison, music, reviews

9 responses to “Book Review: A Date With A Beatle by Judith Kristen

  1. Hi…

    Well, this review was my only “not so good” one… but that’s pretty good odds. 🙂

    It’s a shame you had to put the book down for over a year and that you cringed when you read the first 61 pages. Why didn’t you just tell me about it, I would have happily refunded your 10.00. “Cringing” should be free… not cost you ten bucks. 🙂
    The “partially fictionalized” was written in the beginning of the book so I wouldn’t “James Frey” myself. Names were changed, as it says, to protect the innocent and the guilty. Some of the girls I mentioned within the book could be reached and they said GREAT!!! put me in it!!! … other folks (police, security, hotel people) could not, so I fictionalized their names – not the story itself.

    And how… even now after 47 years since those days can I remember it all so well? In days before email and blogs – Diaries were always kept… notes were passed in study hall that were saved… and… also, there’s the fact that from the day I cut class to see them land at Kennedy, this was an on-going story that never stopped being told. Friends would say, “Jude, this is my friend, Dianne… she LOVED The Beatles… tell her about what happened at the D.C. concert… or tell this friend this… tell that friend that…

    So… just as it is possible for Paul McCartney to never forget the words to his own “Yesterday”, or Elvis’ “That’s alright Mama” … or for people to remember where they were and what was going on when Kennedy was shot, when John was killed, when The Challenger blew up.. 9/11 …. I remember this time. This was a joy-filled time in my life and I lived it to the fullest. And, after being nudged for decades …. I wrote about it. And I’m happy every day because I did.

    As for the style. I certainly didn’t dumb down for anyone. (Maybe that’s just me naturally) 🙂 That’s just who I was then… that’s how we talked… and I wasn’t going to pump thing up, or add fifteen-word synonyms or type ” We are going to the concert.”… when we screamed “WE’RE GONNA GO TO THE CONCERT!!!!” I wrote it as if a camera was on my shoulder and the writing was as natural and real as the day those words were spoken.

    You don’t have to feel as if you need to be concerned that your opinion could make things turn out “really bad” because we hang out in those same certain circles. Please don’t think like that! We’re totally cool with all that stuff. You are surely entitled to your opinion and even though I wish you had enjoyed it more… I’m cool with the fact that some people will and some people won’t care for it. All artists know that… and it’s fine. It is what it is. I’m just answering the things that you had no background on – that’s all.

    Bottom line for me is that I’m glad I got to write about this… not only for those 1st generation fans who were there, but for the ones who follow… those who weren’t even born in time for a Sullivan Show, or a concert.

    I was blessed to meet not only my FAVORITE Beatle… but more than that… the real George Harrison… a lovely lad from Liverpool who on that night back in August of ’64… warmed my heart, saved my behind from being hauled away in a paddy wagon, a man who gave me happy memories to last a lifetime, and a lad who surely woulda made his Mum and Dad back in Liverpool very, very proud.

    So next Beatles Fest… stop by and see me and Andrew… and I’ll give you a hug. (and your 10.00 back) 🙂 … It’s all good.
    Peace and Love, Judy 🙂

    • Hi Judith,

      I’m not concerned about the money and the book sits proudly on my piano in my music room with all my other Beatles books. Hopefully, I’ll be seeing you in March at the next Beatles fest.

      Thanks for filling in all the blanks with your comment. I appreciate it. My readers will appreciate it too.

      Best of luck in Liverpool! I hope you’re a hit. And I love the new cover. 🙂

      Jenn

  2. Hi again…

    It’s always good to clear things up. 🙂

    Thank you for the well-wishes in Liverpool. Andrew and I are stoked!!!!

    Eric Cash and I are working on a book for children (Beatles-related) and we’ll be holding the debut of the book at the NY Metro Fest!

    Stop by and I’ll happily give you a copy!!!

    Enjoy your weekend!!!

    ~Judy

  3. Debbie

    I have read the book–on my 2nd time now—-I absolutely love it !!! I found it so much fun and such an amazing story !! I could relate to so many things !! I have told many friends to buy it ! You dont even have to be a Beatle fan to love it ! I look forward to meeting this interesting author soon !! Best of luck in Liverpool !! Have fun & enjoy !! Peace/Love

  4. Maria Gonzalez

    Hi there, my name is Maria, and I’m 14 years old. 🙂

    I LOVE the Beatles with all my heart, and George is my favorite! 🙂

    I got Judith’s book, “A Date With A Beatle” almost a year ago. I bought it and met Judith at the Chicago Fest For Beatles Fans, 2010. I had read about it in The Fest catalog a few months earlier, and I KNEW that I had to get it at The Fest. I was so anxious and excited to read it, I thought about every day for months!
    When I arrived at Judith’s table, she greeted me like we were old friends. She was so nice, sweet, and friendly. That made me want to read the book even more! I also couldn’t wait to go her talk about the book later that night.
    Once I started reading the book, I honestly couldn’t put it down! It was so funny and exciting-I was laughing and smiling the whole time I was reading it. I loved every second of it. Ever since I really started loving the Beatles, I wanted to live in Beatlemania, and reading this book about a huge fan’s first-hand experience was (and still is) the next best thing for me.
    And at the end when she met George? I felt my heart swell with love and happiness. It was truly amazing to read. It made me love George even more than I already did and have even more respect for him.
    I’ve read the part where Judith met George in A Date With A Beatle everyday ever since I met her last year. I never get tired of it. It makes me feel so wonderful that her dream came true. I still feel so happy for her that she was in a wrong way, at the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time 🙂 I LOVE the book, and I think it’s absolutely amazing. I’d recommend it to ANY Beatle fan!

    Peace & Love!! 😀 -Maria

  5. Chelsea

    As a third generation Beatles fan, I never thought I would understand what Beatlemania was like. Judith’s book took me back to the heart of it and showed how crazy Beatlemania was. The majority of books that talk about this subject mention that it was insanity, you couldn’t hear the boys over the screaming of teenage girls, etc. While that is true, I feel that Judith’s book takes you back in time with her. You experience all the stunts that she did as if you were right beside her.
    Her writing style for this book shows how most teenagers write when they are excited about life. I, myself being a teenager, love to use capital letters and an excess of punctuation marks when I’m truly excited about something. In fact, going through messages between my friends and I before Beatles Fest, there were a lot of words in all capital letters and tons of exclamation points. It’s just how teenagers communicate when we are excited. I feel that Judith writing that way gave me a stronger understanding of those times and how ecstatic she and her friend were.
    It’s a book that captures your attention. That’s the best part. I’ve read books that others have written about their experiences throughout Beatlemania and they haven’t kept my attention as much as Judith’s did. I mean, sure, there are so many synonyms that could be used to make the retelling sound like someone with a Ph D in English had written it, but that’s not how teenagers talk. Judith’s book interested me and not only because she met my favorite Beatle but because of the way it was told. I felt like I could relate to her in more ways than one. I’m proud to say that I love this book.

  6. Sarah

    I absolutely adored this book! 🙂 I’ve read several Beatles-related books that span from the Quarrymen to Allen Klein and everything in between. What I hadn’t read before was a book that focused on the fans. Her story pulled me in and made me feel as though I were actually experiencing Beatlemania for the first (and only) time in my life. I never once thought “Oh, this seems dumbed down” or “is this a children’s book?” I just read it as if I were teenage Judy living life in a Beatles’y world to the absolute fullest. I’m proud to say that I have three copies of the book and I’m proud to say that I’ve read it several times and that it makes me smile EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. 🙂

  7. Matthew Jarosz

    Hi everyone! I just finished reading Judith Kristen’s new book A Date with a Beatle (ADWAB) and wanted to give my review in comparison to this review of it. Let me just tell you, I loved it! As a matter of fact I loved it so much I read it in half a day. I knew Judith was a good writer and was looking forward to reading this, but I did not expect the amount of entertainment that I got out of it. The book isn’t long nor is it difficult to read, it is perfect for readers of ANY age that wants to enjoy a good story without taking weeks to read it. That does not mean that is dumbed down by any means. When I say that, I mean anyone that CAN read will be able to read this book and enjoy it. My daughter is reading it now and my Mom (64 years old) wants to read it next. I am not quite sure why this reader cringed and had to struggle through it; maybe she was expecting a boring documentary? And just because the main characters are female do not be led to believe that it is a “chick” book. I believe any gender will appreciate this tale. The book had me literally laughing within the first several pages and I was constantly enthralled to see what she would be able to pull off next to get to meet her teen dream George Harrison. Heck, (coming from a guy) I even got a little choked up near the end. What ever you do, do not let the title fool you; you do not have to like the Beatles or even know who they are to enjoy this book. When you read this book, and you should, you will find that it reads more like you are watching a movie than other books I have read. I would compare it to Stand by Me or Wonder Years, but funnier and more action packed. The blurb on the cover says it all: A fun-filled, hilarious, action-packed adventure story. And the best part of the story? It is all completely true! If you have ever met her, Judy is indeed a lead character both in the book and in real life. HIGHLY recommended!

  8. Pingback: Upcoming releases and a book to invest in… | Beatles-Freak's Reviews

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