Review: Baby’s in Black by Arne Bellstorf

21st August 2012

*I received this book from the publisher MacMillan via NetGalley.

Before Ringo, there was Stuart Sutcliffe. Artistic, dark, and handsome, Stu was the “fifth Beatle” – the one you didn’t know you didn’t know about (unless you’re of a certain age or pop culture knowledge level). Astrid Kirchherr is instantly drawn to Stu. An artist herself, Astrid is a big part of the Beatles’ time in Hamburg, snapping photos and giving Stu the bowl haircut that would contribute to the group’s image. But there’s a reason you may not know about Stu. Shortly after he and Astrid were engaged, Stu quit the Beatles and died within the year.

I’m not giving anything away. A. It’s nonfiction. B. Every blurb I’ve read gives it away. So why does it matter? And why would the author choose to focus on it? Hamburg is arguably a pivotal and formative experience for the band, and it also reveals a bit of their youth and inner lives from the perspective of an outsider.

ButBaby’s in Black , (the song which was written for Astrid) is a love story. It’s a brief story, but it shows the beauty and passion of two equally-matched, intelligent people. The artwork is top notch as well, a couple of the scenes mimicking photos Astrid actually took.


Pick up Baby’s in Black by Arne Bellstorf if you’re into the Beatles, art, and/or love.

Check out what others say or add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

  • heidenkind

    Have you seen the documentary about Stuart Sutcliffe? I think it’s called The Lost Beatle or The Fifth Beatle or something like that. It’s very interesting. I didn’t realize a graphic novel had been released about this, but I will definitely look for it now!

    • I haven’t seen it. I have to admit I’m interested in the Beatles, but I don’t know all that much about them. Thanks for the tip! And you’d probably really enjoy this.

  • Jennifer

    Oooh ooh ooh, I’m all fan girl over the Beatles, have been since I was a wee lass. This is a book I’ll have to find! Thanks for the review!

  • Jen @ The Well Read Fish

    I would like to read a series where The Beatles, all of them, start a Private Investigation Firm. They solve crimes and sing about it. That is all.

  • Marie

    This sounds interesting and fun 🙂

  • I’m totally into that cover. I might need to get a hold of this one. The artwork is really cool!

    • It really is some beautiful artwork.