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It’s 1964, the height of Beatlemania, and thirteen-year-old Jamie Presto (true to his name) pulls a rabbit out of a hat by striking up a pen-pal friendship with none other than John Lennon!
It’s a good thing, too, because Jamie needs a magic trick in his life. He finds his Catholic school education at best downright oppressive. His parents are trapped in a loveless marriage that grows increasingly violent. And Father Alberto, his parish priest, the one authority figure he actually respects, betrays him in one of the worst ways imaginable an adult can do that to an adolescent.
But he has that one bright spot—his letters to and from a world-famous Beatle.
Or does he? Is Jamie telling us the truth—or is he unreliable, so desperate for a silver lining that he grows delusional, fabricating for us and for himself a relationship that he only wishes could be real?
There are ominous times ahead, literal and metaphorical nightmares—for Jamie, his mother, his father, and even for Jamie’s hero and best friend, John Lennon. Life is, at times, hell on earth. But there are saviors, and they tend to make their entrances quietly and inconspicuously. Jamie’s ultimate messiah is an ordinary one, a teacher who achieves extraordinary results in the life of his young student.
Written in the tradition of Candide, Lennon and Me is a comic-tragic social satire, presenting a corrupt world as seen through the eyes of an innocent, a showdown between ancient tradition and modernity, between parochialism and pop culture. John Lennon drew the line in the sand in 1966, with his infamous off-handed comment to journalist Maureen Cleave about The Beatles being more popular than Jesus, and in Herriges’s witty, iconoclastic novel, the twain not only meets, it implodes.