In August 2007, Alanna Nash interviewed a number of Elvis' female co-stars, family members, and friends for a Ladies Home Journal article titled 'The Women Who Loved Elvis'. Now she's turning the idea into a 656 page book for It books, to be published in time for Elvis' 75th birthday in January 2010.
Alanna Nash reports the book will be the first comprehensive look at Elvis purely from the female prospective. 'For all his maleness, Elvis was a very woman-centered man, because of his closeness with his mother', she says. 'It was women he could really talk with, and from whom he drew much of his strength. The book will look at a number of his relationships, both platonic and romantic. And part of it will consider how his status as one of the greatest sex symbols of the 20th century informed his stage act and his interactions with the opposite sex'.
Alanna Nash’s third (fourth if you count Alan Fortas’ book) Elvis related book was – beforehand - the least attractive in my opinion. What do I care about Elvis’ girlfriends? Well, since we got a review copy I decided to give it a try and got pretty surprised.
No comments here, it wouldn’t be fair since our review copy was a proof. But despite the fact that the paper didn’t do the pictures justice, it looked pretty neat already. A book carrying a picture of one of the greatest photo series ever is one step ahead!
To come to the point immediately: the book did surprise me since it is much more than the title suggests a bit. It is not a book about the women he loved, but an extensive biography in which the women have their place. Okay, they have a bit more room than in the usual biographies that focus more on the career, but it is mainly about the man. A huge part is about the early days, were the human being was formed (nearly halfway we are still only in 1956). Obviously the book is very well researched, and all sources are named. The highlights in his career are very well documented too, so it’s not just about the human being, but also the artist.
Alanna Nash has a pleasant style, which encourage to read on. Sometimes it’s nearly too lively, especially the part on Gladys’ death is a pretty tough read… I was almost mourning with the Presleys.
Only the psychological waffling about his missing twin half got a bit boring every now and then. Not that I think it isn’t important, but it just doesn’t interest me and it is a bit too much of an “open door” (but that is my opinion about psychology in general). Some of the facts I just don’t want to know, or call for question marks, like the suggestion Elvis did ejaculate during the first sit down show in 1968.
The last part of the book was a struggle, but not because the quality suddenly declined. It is just hard to read about a pathetic, sad man who totally lost control… as a matter of fact I was glad he finally died in the book too.
Did the book change my view? No. Did it give me new insights? Partly, there are some nuances in my opinion that changed a bit while reading the book. Do I recommend it? It depends, if you like to read and want another view on Elvis’ live… this might be a nice addition to your library.
Alanna stole this idea from me as I had featured it as a series on my blog long before the news of the book came out. However once it did, I put my series on hold, pre-ordered the book and intend to write Alanna a note of thanks as soon as it's delivered. Saves me a lot of research. :-)
I've always been curious about how closed mouth Elvis' women are. Well if you don't count Priscilla that is. All those women that he supposedly had in his hotel rooms night after night, you never hear anything from any of them. Ann Margret refuses to divulge anything private about her relationship with Elvis. June Juanico is about the only one that I know of recently that has actually journalized her time with Elvis and that read like a schoolgirl's romantic fantasy. (to me anyway).
So I anxiously await this book so I can continue my own series and to answer hopefully some of those questions I have about why Elvis' women never kissed and told. As a note to the write of the blurb above, I take great exception to the phrase "one of the greatest sex symbols of the 20th century". Elvis is and will always be the greatest sex symbol of all time. All my panties are white cotton. ;-D