Star Date: 2012
Readability:  Easy
Our short, cool little story starts out on Grosse Freiheit in 1960.  It's a famous cross street in Hamburg, Germany where the Beatles played--sans Ringo Starr.  Nowadays, Grosse Freiheit is a notorious red-light district.  Now that's real progress, folks!
I found this book haunting from the very first page.  It begins with Astrid Kirchherr in the windy woods chasing her scarf; the scarf that she would eventually hug Stuart Sutcliffe with just before their first kiss. The relationship between Kirchherr and Sutcliffe is short but quite touching, warm, and deep.
Most of the criticism I've seen of this book seems to come from the fact that it's not about the Beatles and that it's central character is a woman.  The Beatles are part of the background of the love story between Astrid and Stuart.
I love the drawings.  Everyone is smoking a "fag" (British slang for a cigarette) every time everywhere.  Cough-choke!  LOL!  One drawing depicted the end of a Beatles set--John was saying goodnight and injected, "And don't forget: We won the war!"  That made me laugh.  Also, Stuart was the first to have the iconic Beatles haircut, which was created by Astrid.  She made cool suits and outfits for Stuart.  She took some amazing, quality pictures of the band members, as well.  Her black and white photography probably influenced Robert Freeman's famous portrait that appeared on the "Meet the Beatles" album.  All the band members made fun of Sutcliffe's Beatle haircut.  Paul combed his hair like Sutcliffe's and put the comb under his nose an imitated Adolph Hitler.  Hehehe.
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I did not know that Sutcliffe was an artist of merit and was on the way to really becoming someone in that field.  He was quite serious.
Then one day, he went to sleep in his bed and never got up.  He was buried in a handmade suit sewn together by Astrid.
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