Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Baby's in Black by Arne Bellstorf

Long before they took the world by storm, The Beatles were a band working semi-anonymously in Germany. That's where a young woman named Astrid Kirchherr first saw them and fell in love: with their music, yes, but also with musician Stuart Sutcliffe. As the boys dealt with venue issues, legal troubles, and burgeoning fame, Astrid and Stuart became engaged and encouraged each other in their artistic fields. But a happily ever after was not to be, as Stuart died of a sudden brain haemorrhage in 1962.

Not being familiar with Arne Bellstorf's work, I was thinking that this book might be a little like reading about the 'baby Beatles.' While of course the Beatles do appear, it's not like that at all. They're easily recognizable and do have a young appearance, but not in a caricatured way. It's refreshing to see them as supporting players in the story; so often it's their story that's being told, but there are a number of other people who were there at the time that have different stories, perspectives, and lives. Astrid Kirchherr is a fascinating character that I only knew about in a very limited way. The subject matter, approach, and artistic style makes this a book worth checking out.

Here's a video of The Beatles performing "Baby's in Black" in Munich:

Take a look at Arne Bellstorf's website.

I read an advance review copy from NetGalley courtesy of MacMillan.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Read the Beatles edited by June Skinner Sawyer
The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor
John by Cynthia Lennon

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