"Fab: an intimate life of Paul McCartney" is, even at 563 pages, a quick read for a Beatle fan. Author Howard Sounes conducted more than 200 interviews in preparation for writing this book in addition to reading other McCartney biographies, news articles and lyrics. "Fab" is not an authorized biography of the pop music icon, and it ends before Paul's most recent marriage. Paul's romances with Jane Asher, Linda Eastman and Heather Mills comprise much of the book. It is, as the title indicates, intimate as the author used information from Paul's grade school friends, Scotland neighbors and librarian (!), longtime minders and factotums, and closest co-workers and backup musicians. Such folks provide concrete examples of McCartney's virtues and vices, especially the ones that have deep roots in his character. The author does not dwell on McCartney's vices, just acknowledges that the widely revered star is not perfect. In fact, some of his least likeable habits are a result of being an ex-Beatle and a supremely successful musician since his teens.
The author does not gloss over McCartney's artistic weaknesses, nor does he play into the hands of those who think John Lennon was the most talented Beatle. Rather, he finds examples that prove what most of us already know. That McCartney and Lennon brought out the best in one another, that they mattered very much to one another, and that the professional break-up was every bit as upsetting to them as it was to the fans.
--Julie C., Headquarters