The postman is still recovering from delivering this book. It’s a massive guide of over 600 pages, which tells you all the ins and outs about the phenomenon “Elvis fan”. No, don’t worry, it’s not the stereotyping kind of story, in which most media love to describe the "average" Elvis fan.
Probably because the book is this massive it is printed on very thin paper. Especially because this guide will function as a reference book often, this is a pity. We bet there will be only a few in perfect condition after a couple of weeks. Also a lot of the pictures used in the book deserve more than the exposure they get now, also due to the poor paper-quality. On the other hand: this work on quality paper might hardly be affordable for a lot of people, so the choice is understandable. Let’s see if the content is good enough to hope for a “deluxe version” someday.
As we always do with new books, we thumbed through it looking for new pictures. On first sight it looked a little complex, with a lot of repeats, we thought. Well, we weren’t completely wrong about that, but starting from the beginning we soon found out it has a reason, and a well considered one. All chapters are build in the same way: a more or less short essay about the subject, facts (“Essential Elvisology“), references (“Your Elvis Education“) and tips how to enrich your own experiences regarding the subject (“The Elvis And You Experience“). This consistent design makes it pretty easy to find what you want, most of the time. Unfortunately there is no index to this guide, so when you are looking for something really specific… it can be a very hard job.
During the acknowledgements it becomes clear that the book has “a heavy Internet base”. The reader familiar with the Elvis-scene on the Internet will recognize a lot of the names. Of course this results in a lot of references to the Internet throughout the book.
The book is split up in 33 chapters, starting with the man himself: a short biography, mainly a time-line of important dates, his death, his records, his movies, his TV-work, his shows and his personal interests. There are a couple of chapters that are devoted mainly to the fans: Collecting, The Pilgrimage, Your Elvis Shrine, Impersonators and such. As stated before, all chapters start with an essay. Those essays are very well written, and even though nothing new comes up, the point of view from the authors makes them very enjoyable. The guide part of these chapters is very good, directing the reader towards the more important available works. Because the Internet-addresses (the so-called URL’s) are often very long and hardly readable, the references to the sites look pretty cluttered. A better solution would have been to list just the site-names, with an alphabetic overview including the URL’s in the back of the book. Since this book has its own site (that is: they are constructing the site, so far it looks like they only registered the URL), it might be a nice idea to include all links used in the book on that site, if possible per chapter. Since the Internet is evolving constantly, this might be a good idea anyway. Before such a list returns from the printer it may be outdated already.
In general we can say the Elvis part of the guide is reliable, there are some mistakes, but they are in every book it seems, and we didn’t find real major misses. The “You”-part is often going towards the ridiculous, especially the chapters we mentioned before. This certainly doesn’t mean you can easily skip them. Again, the essays are well written, including a lot of wit and the “tips” are often so ridiculous it gets really funny (e.g. the “Dos and Don’ts of Impersonation” and “How to get started impersonating”). Having met all kinds of people ourselves (especially on the Internet), we know it’s not complete nonsense written in those chapters, but sometimes we can’t help but think it’s too crazy to be true. In opposition to the main media, that love to use those exceptions to stereotype the average Elvis fan, this book shows it in a light-hearted, funny way. Probably the poor souls suffering the “handicaps” in these chapters won’t even recognize it and take it seriously, so they’ll be happy too.
Our conclusion is that this guide is really what it claims to be: “the guide to the pleasure of being an Elvis fan”. Interesting, well researched and very enjoyable, thus it gave a lot of pleasure. We can only say that supported by a well maintained website it certainly deserves a “deluxe edition”.
"So now let's have a tremendous hand for a very nice book"