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In the shadow of the King
on 1 August 2011
Wanted to read this as I believed the subject matter here to be potentially explosive: An avid Elvis fan from childhood shortly after the death of "the king" finds himself filling his role in the Presley family as Priscilla's lover and Lisa Marie's father figure.
Firstly I would start by saying I thought this book was a good read, short and sweet, unintentional humour not much waffling and surprisingly flowed well considering this guy actually wrote every word himself and he isn't a professional writer. Something good about this book in comparison to other Presley related novels is you can't help but believe that every last detail in the book is "unflinchingly honest" (as the blurb on the back cover states) as he delves into his deepest darkest thoughts about his romantic feelings for an underage Lisa Marie to whom he was a father-like figure referring to her as his "beloved" one time when he sneaked into her room when she was sleeping to "look at" her and recalling another time he was playing with her in the swimming pool and he got sexually aroused. Edwards also without openly stating it more or less admits that he was very obsessed with Elvis, he admits that as a kid he was a fan of Elvis Music and tried to style his hair like his, at the meeting with Priscilla he was desperate to meet her purely because of her association with him and he describes going into Elvis bathroom at his palm springs home stepping into the shower and smelling his "old wrung out wash cloth", amongst other things. It's not clear in the book as to whether he ever actually revealed to Priscilla how admiring he was of her ex husband.
The book also goes quite abit into his past before meeting Priscilla which is interesting because a lot of it can explain some of his erratic behaviour later in life and reveals the realities of life as a top model around this time. He again without saying it credits himself for getting Priscilla into acting as he kept trying to support her and push her to achieve her dreams and ironically helps Priscilla write her novel "Elvis and Me".
I loved the fact that whilst reading this novel I began to feel like I knew him inside out as he held nothing back and you could really tell that the egotistical, laid back, daredevil between the pages was the same one behind the keyboard, which I thought complemented the book in its entirety. I don't think Priscilla was portrayed badly at all except for close to the end although the author doesn't seem resentful towards her. Lots of celebs make brief guest appearances such as Cher, Muhammad Ali and Richard Gere.
To finish off I just want to say that I think this book has gotten more flack than it deserves yes it was wrong that he lusted after an underage girl but he never said that he made any advances towards her and it seems as if he did genuinely love Priscilla as the book went along. I also got a sense of how passionately the book was written and I don't think anyone was portrayed badly except for himself in his unashamedly witty manner. He seemed like nothing more than a harmless lost soul who was eager to step in and fill his idols shoes. At the end there's a "postscript" which I guess as it's based on a true story is the equivalent of a work of fictions epilogue where he explains the controversy the book receieved on its release, comments such as "He should be shot - or horsewhipped would be even better" but ends with the paragraph "What I know of Priscilla and Lisa today is the same as what you know; it's what I read in the press. I'm sorry we no longer communicate. It's their wish and I respect it. But it's very important that they know I will always be there if they need me. I never meant for my honesty to hurt anyone"