Review- The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

Posted April 7, 2014 by shooting in Uncategorized / 9 Comments

The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

Review by Lauren

copy from library, all opinions are my own

Official Summary: The Fifth Beatle is the untold true story of Brian Epstein, the visionary manager who discovered and guided the Beatles – from their gigs in a tiny cellar in Liverpool to unprecedented international stardom. Yet more than merely the story of “The Man Who Made the Beatles,” The Fifth Beatle is an uplifting, tragic, and ultimately inspirational human story about the struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Brian himself died painfully lonely at the young age of thirty-two, having helped the Beatles prove through “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” that pop music could be an inspirational art form. He was homosexual when it was a felony to be so in the United Kingdom, Jewish at a time of anti-Semitism, and from Liverpool when it was considered just a dingy port town.

Review: When people hear the term “The Fifth Beatle” they often think of Stuart Sutcliffe, who was a member of the Beatles before they become famous. So when I first saw this book at the library, that was who I assumed the book was about. I was glad to learn that, instead, I would be reading about a man who name I only recognized. As the back of the book reads, in a quote from Paul McCartney, “If anyone was the fifth beatle, it was Brian.”

This book shows the enthusiasm and hard work that Brian put into the Beatles. He believed in them from the beginning and kept pushing until they were famous worldwide. What Brian did for the Beatles, though, he neglected to do for himself. As the summary says, he was gay and Jewish in a time when that was not accepted, and Brian seems to have had a lot of trouble living a truly fulfilling life.

The Beatles obviously cared for Brian, understanding and accepting him for who he was. One of the scenes in the book has Brian and John Lennon on a beach, with John pointing out guys to see who Brian fancied. You can see some of that here:

That also gives you a look at the drawing and color too. The book spans a lot of years, and I did find some parts a bit confusing (especially at the end), but overall, I really liked this look at Brian Epstein. It really shows how the Beatles were helped made famous by a man that most people don’t even remember. I hope that changes.

This was read for the graphic novel reading challenge

9 responses to “Review- The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story

  1. Yeah, every time I see this book I have a half-beat of thinking it's about Sutcliffe. (Especially since there was a graphic novel about Sutcliffe a few years ago.)

  2. Wow. How sad! This looks exactly like the type of book I would've enjoyed several years. Kinda interesting that it's a graphic novel.
    Thanks for the review, Lauren!

  3. Wow, this is the first time I've heard of Brian Epstein, I clearly need to read this. I love the Beatles, but I really don't know much about them, which is crazy. 🙂 Great review!

  4. I hadn't heard of this so thank you so much for reviewing it, I've added it on Goodreads (are you on Goodreads, Lauren?)

    I'm going to try and find this over here, otherwise I'll order the Kindle version 😉

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