At John Lennon’s house by Rosaura Lopez Lorenzo was recommended to me by a friend and fellow Beatle Freak, Thom Donovan. The book was originally written in Spanish (En casa de John Lennon) in 2005. Rosaura died several months after it’s publication, but it was translated to English and released as an e-book in 2013.
From 1976 until 1980, Rosaura Lopez Lorenzo worked for John Lennon and Yoko Ono as their housekeeper. According to the book, in June 2001, two reporters from TVG (Galician Television in Spain) were covering the annual Galician celebration in Newark, NJ when they stumbled upon a tambourine player. While interviewing her about when she came to America and her life here, she admitted to having previously been the housekeeper to John Lennon at one time. It was then that these two crafty reporters decided that Rosaura needed to write a book about her time with the Ono-Lennons!
The first thing to catch my eye in the book was Rosaura’s admission that this book in Yoko Ono approved. That immediately sets off bells and whistles in my skeptical head. It tells me that every word was scrutinized by Yoko and her lawyers. And in fact, both Yoko and her lawyer are mentioned in the dedication for “their exquisite attention”.
Rosaura says early on that this book was written to right all the wrongs that have been written about John and Yoko. She glosses over her daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. chores around the house while talking extensively about how apartment 72 is laid out, what color the rooms are painted and the contents of Sean’s bedroom and playroom.
In her story, John is a happy go lucky doting father who spends much of his time in his room playing guitar when he’s not sitting around smiling at his son, baking bread with Rosaura or asking her about her life in Spain. Sean is a happy child who loves her more than his own nanny and professes that she is his favorite. All the while, Yoko is happily conducting the family business during her days. But there are evil people working for them, including John Green, Fred Seaman and a nanny she called Lupa who would eventually get Rosaura fired.
Besides being hard to swallow, this book is poorly translated and edited. The typos and grammatical errors abound, which let me know that this was hastily edited for e-book format to squeeze out as many doubloons as possible from Rosaura’s rosy stories of the swell world inside the Dakota with the Ono-Lennon. There are many pages of photos included at the end of the book which some may find a bonus, but all in all, I found them just another way to capitalize on this tale. And for that reason…
I rate this boo, 1 out of 4 Beetles!
3 responses to “Book Review: “At John Lennon’s house” by Rosaura Lopez Lorenzo”
I do wonder why do you dismiss the John Lennon happy-daddy myth so easily.
Mostly because there are so many other sources that say he admitted he used that as his excuse to dismiss the press. There are also sources that say he wasn’t spending as much time with Sean as he or Rosaura claim.
Of course the story is attuned to the formal Lennono-presentation. John was aware of the story, he knew that, but guess what, ask yourself if the myth were wholly untrue, would Lennon have or be able to have written ‘baking the bread’,
The romanticism and Lennon’s fragility of “Starting Over”, just a lyric to a song, would you suggest a lie, a plain lie, or a creative exaggeration?
In “Cleanup Time”:
“The queen is in the counting home / Counting out the money / The king is in the kitchen / Making bread and honey / No friends and yet no enemies / Absolutely free / No rats aboard the magic ship / Of (perfect) harmony.”
Not true, because there are always rats aboard, he wanted to be alone, but of course there were friends; a creative hyperbole, ‘nothing to get hung about’. True or not true, McCartney-isms or not, John Lennon had this disposition that he wouldn’t or couldn’t write about stories that did not exist, a foundation in reality or at least an association should have been there.
True, it was that the apartments (The Ono had more than two) in the Dakota-building were his hometurf, and together with the young Sean the centre of his/their life.
“However far we travel / Wherever we may roam / The center of the circle / Will always be our home”
“I am losing you”:
could be about the days before Lennon hits with Bowie and Elton, but it could be about days and events during the Dakota days, when he had a relapse of sorts or Yoko Ono wanted to play the role people play far too often, blaming anyone for whatever happened once and could be utilize again. Emotional blackmail, like Lennon suggests :
“I know I hurt you then / But hell that was way back when / And well, do you still have to carry that cross?”
Even if there were times when John was violent, on drugs, or on a trip away from Sean or with Sean and a nanny, who he even might have fucked on a daily basis…, you know I take Goldman’s not so good but still revealing biography quite serious in its generalizing picture, it is beyond me how Lennon could have lied throughout, straight into his art. The beauty of McCartney’s “My Love” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” are grounded in reality as much as a lot of songs Lennon created. Or I am totally off track, and with “Walls and Bridges” John started to do what he blamed Paul for earlier on.
I know “Grow old with Me” is about his longing to grow old together and live on an island off the Irish coast looking thru the scrapbooks of his life, but it is only obvious in the title of the wonderful song. The words are inspired by another poet he plagiarized, and disconnected to Lennon’s life like ‘Across the universe’. In both songs the lyrics fit the music and vice versa, topically exceptional in Lennon repertoire but still great. I think the LennonOno myth is only half the truth, but to dismiss it, is just too easy.
Rosaura Lopez Lorenzo perspective is a partial perspective just as Goldman’s was. Anyway thx for mentioning the book.