270. Paul McCartney: A Life

Paul McCartney: A Life by Peter Ames Carlin (Canada ) - (US)

Pages: 340 pgs. + notes, index
Ages: 18+
Finished: Dec. 31, 2009
First Published: Nov. 3, 2009
Genre: non-fiction, biography
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Paul McCartney is almost home.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

Reason for Reading: I like the Beatles but I love Paul.

Comments: Normally, I steer away from biographies, trying to read memoirs instead unless the person in question is dead and never wrote their own auto-biography. Well, Paul is neither, but given his extremely private nature I find it doubtful he'll ever write a memoir and if he did it would not be in-depth but more like musings of good memories. So I jumped on this book when it came out.

Again, I find when reading these types of biographies one has to be wary as the authors are often out to dig up every piece of dirt they can on the celebrity or they don't particularly like said person and simply enjoy writing a book that trashes them. This is not what I want. I want to read a respectful, true account of the celebrity's life and author Peter Ames Carlin delivers on all accounts.

Right from the start one can tell that the author respects his subject and throughout the book when the controversies arise he shows the reader a 'pro-Paul' position. But this does not mean that he paints a fake rosy picture. Paul McCartney is exposed here warts and all. He was egocentric during the Beatles days, always being the leader, creating rifts among the other members and yet not realizing it until years much later. The intensely close relationship between him and John Lennon is examined from all sides even during the years they publicly shunned each other and Yoko Ono's influence over John. George and Ringo are given very little space in the book. The book is about Paul and his relationships with these two do not stand out much more than 'mates'. Though we do get at inside look at Paul's brotherly affection to George, which was not always appreciated.

Past the Beatles, the rocky years with Wings are covered in detail, Paul's true love, once in a lifetime relationship with his beloved Linda, his semi-success in the 80s as a solo singer, his disaster of a marriage with the vengeful Heather Mills and his eventual settlement into simply being Paul McCartney, the last of the Fab Four (as nobody really counts Ringo). We also see Paul's reactions to nthe deaths of both John and George. A very interesting, funny, informative look inside the life of a brilliant, sensitive, egocentric, perfectionist, caring, simple-life loving man who is one of the 20th century's most recognizable and influential musicians.


  1. I have this on hold at the library. Just waiting for my turn. :)

  2. My favorite was John. I put this on my TBR, it does sound good. I still count Ringo.

  3. Paul is my favorite also. I read on biography on all the Beatles. It was pretty fascinating but did include a lot of their excesses.


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