Thursday, 3 March 2011

Give Me a Chance by Gail Renard

Title: Give Me a Chance
Author: Gail Renard
Publisher: Walker
Published: Dec 2010
ISBN: 978-1406323078
Author's website:

Rating 5/5

The cover on this shows John, Yoko and Gail in May 1969 during John and Yoko's Bed-In for Peace.  The photo gives you a sense of what the story is about.  This is Gail's story, and it's fascinating.

Although the story only takes place over 8 days, it feels a lot longer as it's such a packed book, full of insights, happenings and memories from Gail.  I am a Beatles fan.  I love their sound and the way their music was so different - even though I was a mid 70s baby, in many ways, music from the late 60s to late 70s is what I love most.  Gail's story is very special, I feel really inspired having read it.  Gail was one of many fans who flocked to the hotel in Montreal where John and Yoko where staying for their Bed-In, but unlike the other fans, she thought outside the box and took steps to get right outside their hotel door, and then met both John and Yoko and went on to interview them and spend time with them.

Give Me a Chance is told in such a way that I found it easy to empathise with just how surreal what Gail experienced was.  Not only did Gail get to meet and talk to her hero, she got to spend 8 days with him, ultimately getting to know him and his newlywed wife Yoko, as well as their daughter Kyoko.  From that a friendship grew.  It just goes to show that being in the right place, at the right time and showing initiative does work....I think in today's climate you'd be hard pushed to get this close to a rock star in this way on your own steam! 

My favorite quote from Give Me a Chance:
"On air, John spoke about the "meaning of peace, in every part of your life.  It doesn't cover only wars, but our everyday dealings with the people around us too"

Gail shares her fond memories of how hectic those 8 days were, and also the isolated and sometimes, terrifying life which a celebrity has to live with.  I didn't know anything about the Bed-In prior to reading this book, but feel I understand the whys and hows now.  A great read which had me fascinated.  I can only imagine what it would be like if it happened to me with my idols!!  This is the book dreams are made of, yet for Gail it was a living reality.  How exciting to have a song composed by your favorite band member, right in front of you...not only that, Gail got to take part in the whole experience.  So fantastic and such memories to treasure!

With the crisis in Egypt and conflict elsewhere in the world, John and Yoko's message is still as relevant today as it was in 1969.  Give Peace a Chance.

Book synopsis:
May 1969. As a sixteen-year-old, Gail Renard joined John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their week-long bed-in for peace in a hotel in Montreal, Canada. She looked after Yoko’s five-year-old daughter, helped to find tambourines and joined in the first recording of "Give Peace a Chance" with Timothy Leary, the Smothers Brothers and various other celebs. John looked after her – sending her home every night to her mother who had spoken to him on the phone and insisted that there were to be no drugs or sex while her daughter was around. It was John’s faith in Gail's ability which directly lead to her later success as a writer, and he helped her to secure her first paid submission – an interview with him for the Beatles' magazine. 

Many thanks to both Gail and Walker, as I won this during a twitter chat.

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