I couldn’t help it. I shouldn’t have bought it. But I did. And I’m glad.
While browsing at Half-Price Books last week, I found a galley of John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth, by Elizabeth Partridge. You know, one of those pre-publication versions that says, plain as day, “NOT FOR SALE.” But it was for sale — a month and a half before the publication date — and I bought it.
As a soon-to-be-published author (and by “soon,” I mean relative to the span of human history), I can absolutely in no way justify or condone said purchase or others like it. It’s money out of the authors’ pockets, it undermines the companies that I’d like to work with, etc., etc.
But as a guy whose inner 16-year-old is still a huge Lennon fan, and as a guy whose outer 34-year-old is a big Partridge fan, I didn’t think twice.
Well, OK, I thought twice, but not three times. I really, really wanted it.
And I’ll buy the real thing come publication time, without reservation. It’s an excellent book. I devoured it on the way to Madison on Friday and came away mightily impressed by the honesty with which Partridge presents John Lennon, the person.
It’s an uglier picture than I remember, and it’s a rawer read than your typical biography for young readers. But making a hero out of him wasn’t her goal; making a knowable human being out of him was. And she has succeeded beautifully.
But that doesn’t make it right to buy or sell galleys, so don’t do it.