Book Cover

My Private Lennon

Explorations from a Fan Who Never Screamed

Sibbie O’Sullivan

184 pp. 5.5 x 8.5
Pub Date: February, 2020

Subjects: Creative Nonfiction

Series: 21st Century Essays

Imprint: Mad Creek

order Paperback $17.95 $14.36 Save 20% and get free shipping
  ISBN: 978-0-8142-5566-7
Order PDF ebook$17.95   ISBN: 978-0-8142-7757-7

John Kelly interviews O’Sullivan for The Washington Post

Listen: O’Sullivan on the I Saw the Beatles podcast

Listen: O’Sullivan discusses her book with Michael Causey on WOWD 94.3 FM

“Sibbie O’Sullivan didn’t scream, but the power of her writing stems from how seriously she takes the people who may have.…Beyond the initial joy of public sexuality, O’Sullivan centers the fan as someone who, though she has no claim to the public, experiences life just as much as the artist and who makes sense of that life with the tools furnished by public art.”—M. Delmonico Connelly, Full Stop

“O’Sullivan makes connections between the adolescent world of Beatlemania, the poetry of T. S. Eliot, the sound of ‘No Reply,’ and the untidy nature of memory that no writer has made before. Finely written, insightful and unusually candid, her book will capture its readers.” —David Hepworth, author of Nothing Is Real: The Beatles Were Underrated and Other Sweeping Statements About Pop

“Given how much support women and girls provided the Beatles before they became cultural icons, it’s astounding how absent female voices have been from Beatles history even fifty-plus years later. My Private Lennon fills that gap and will inspire other female voices to be heard.” —Caryn Rose, author of B-Sides and Broken Hearts

“Sibbie O’Sullivan’s evocative and deeply personal essays reveal how John Lennon informed the consciousness of millions of fans in the 1960s and remained a luminous presence throughout their lives. Readers will relate to O’Sullivan’s journey.” —Candy Leonard, author of Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World

My Private Lennon: Explorations from a Fan Who Never Screamed offers a new point of view from which to consider the Beatles’ impact on society and on the individual. In a series of linked autobiographical essays that explore the musical, cultural, and personal aspects of intense music fandom, Sibbie O’Sullivan dismantles the grand narrative of the fifteen-year-old hysterical female Beatles fan and replaces it with an introspective and often humorous tale about how the band shaped her intellectual and artistic development.

My Private Lennon charts the author’s realization that the Beatles, especially John Lennon, were a crucial force in her development. A radical departure from other books written by Beatles fans, My Private Lennon invites its readers to consider subjects not usually found in works about Lennon and the band, such as the constraints of memory, the male body, grief, the female breast, race, cultural issues, and the importance of privacy in our over-mediated world. In pieces that engage cultural issues and historical contexts, My Private Lennon creates a witty and provocative intimacy with readers who value the power of art to change one’s life and who love John Lennon and the Beatles.

Author photo

Sibbie O’Sullivan is retired Senior Lecturer in the Honors College at the University of Maryland. She is a book reviewer for the Washington Post, specializing in music, culture, and the arts. Author photo by Ruth Sievers


John Lennon Returns Home from Hamburg to Aunt Mimi’s in Liverpool, December 8, 1960

Introduction: Ask Me Why


In My Life: John and the Beatles


Things I Heard Today

Of Balls and the Beatles

There’s a Place

Aeolian Cadences

Truth or Beauty


It’s Only Love

August 14, 1965: A Day in My Life

Beautiful Boy/Girl

And in the End

John Lennon Is Shot to Death, December 8, l980


Selected Bibliography