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Novelist Meg Wolitzer on the Beatles' 'Penny Lane'

Friday, July 18, 2014

Meg Wolitzer, 55, is the author of 10 novels, including "The Interestings" (Riverhead), now in paperback. She spoke with Marc Myers. My mother, Hilma Wolitzer, published her first short story in the Saturday Evening Post in 1966, and with her $1,250 payment she bought herself freedom—a white Rambler station wagon.

One day in 1967, as the family was driving to a diner in suburban New York, the Beatles' "Penny Lane" came on the radio. I remember shouting, in a staccato burst, for my mother and father and older sister to be quiet. Everyone politely listened to the song. To a 7-year-old, "Penny Lane" was a children's fantasy world. Even though the song was about adults—a barber, a banker, a fireman—they felt like little characters that fit inside my radio, and I wanted to go into that world and play with them. It was a world of bright oranges and yellows, far from the more muted tones of life in Syosset, N.Y., where I grew up.

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Source: Wall Street Journal

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Created on: 7/18/2014 12:51 PM
Same for me
I was just eight when I heard Penny Lane. It felt like I was listening to a fairy tale of sorts. I saw those same colors. I wanted to live in that world and meet those people. It all sounded so charming and perfect. Many years later when my wife gave birth to our baby girl, I wanted to name her PennyLane but I lost that battle.