Picks and Pans Review: Skywriting by Word of Mouth

updated 02/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by John Lennon

Most of these writings (published to commemorate the 46th anniversary of Lennon's birth) are more than a decade old. Less than a fifth of the book deals with the music, relationships or drug experiences for which the author is famous. On those topics Lennon is candid and scathing. "My life with the Beatles," he writes in 1978, "had become a trap. A tape loop." Of the English press reaction to Yoko Ono, he says, "It was humiliating and painful for both of us to have her described as ugly and yellow...especially by a bunch of beer-bellied, red-necked 'aging' hacks...." Most of the book though is fiction. The title story offers a view of the upbeat side of Lennon's private imagination. Written in wild, hallucinatory prose, it is full of word games, puns and broad satirical stabs at government spies, the middle class and sexual inhibitions. Characters with names like Dr. Winston O. Boogie are introduced, followed for a while and then simply dropped. There are long passages without punctuation and self-consciously wry comments such as: "I wink to myself and push on to the next chapter in the continuing saga of a seemingly endless character analysis." Sometimes you wish for the characters to push on faster and get it over with. Perhaps this cosmic comic book is best seen as a reflection of its author's contradictions as well as his creativity and enduring appeal. (Harper & Row, $12.95)

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