PositiveAir MailWhat’s novel and valuable about Shawn Levy’s new book is that Joan Rivers is the end point, not the beginning ... Levy wants to celebrate the women who came before her—the lonely pioneers who had almost no models to draw on, fought for attention in a male-dominated industry, and even today are not sufficiently appreciated ... Levy profiles each in affectionate, well-judged, thoroughly researched detail ... Levy has done an admirable job of resurrecting a band of unique, unjustly neglected performers. Much of their comedy may seem retrogressive, politically incorrect, even demeaning today. But Ali Wong would be nowhere without them.
PositiveAirmailJones frames her book loosely around the women in John’s life, the \'formidable females\' (almost all of them older) who \'cherished or neglected, repaired or damaged, fortified or weakened him.\' With sources that range from former collaborators, rock critics, and kibitzing psychiatrists to Cynthia Lennon (who once asked Jones to collaborate on a memoir, which was later abandoned), Jones portrays a wounded artist who responded to these tragedies with a mix of insecurity and ego ... Jones, on balance, is sympathetic. \'She was the alpha female he needed, the partner he felt he deserved,\' she writes. Before Ono, Lennon could be snarky and supercilious with people he felt insecure around. After he met Ono, \'his cynicism began to melt away. He was at long last able to evolve. He would henceforth look to her for guidance and approval in most things, as a child looks to his mother.\'