In The Twilight Of Memory
Peter Guralnick's introduction of the book is very promising. He tells us what to expect, a realistic view on a particular happening in time. He also warns us not to be misled by its simplicity.
Well that "simplicity" is what makes the book very easy to read. Of course our great idol is the main subject, which makes is easy to read anyway, but the author made it extra easy. This in opposite to Guralnick's own work, which is sometimes a hard struggle because of its many details (but nevertheless a must for every fan). Mainly the book is the story of the love that wasn't meant to be, since Elvis' career was still rising and Colonel Parker thought it would danger the career when Elvis got committed to one girl.
After a short chapter, in which June shows the circumstances in which she was raised, we get to the first meeting with Elvis when he gave a show in her hometown, Biloxi, Mississippi (June 1955). The reader gets soon amazed about the amount of details and finding out June kept a diary explains a lot. It looks like it was love on first sight and the open way everything is told gives a nice insight on the person Elvis Presley at the time. June doesn't need deep analyzing to present a pretty sharp picture of him. Early June 1956 June traveled to Memphis with friends, but spend most of the time with Elvis while in Memphis. On his turn Elvis kept his holidays in July in Biloxi, before June joined him on tour in Florida (August '56). In October June went to Memphis again, and that would be the last time they actually dated. After not hearing of Elvis for several weeks June decided to go on with her life, and fell in love with somebody else. In March '57 Elvis told her to meet him in New Orleans, and she did to tell him she was engaged to be married. After that day they only saw each other a couple of times.
Reading the book one get the feeling of being on the front row all the time. Facts, although there are not many new ones for people who read Guralnick's works, seems to be true. Unfortunately this feeling is spoiled in the last two chapters. First June describes her attendance of one of Elvis' Las Vegas-performances in 1969, opening with Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: Space Odyssey) and C.C. Rider. As most fans know Elvis didn't use those two in '69. If those "facts" where only added to decorate the chapter, they completely failed and make you unwantedly wonder about the value of the preceding 98% of the book. In the epilogue a line is drawn from Gladys' death to Elvis poor health in July 1977… fearing the worst. Well, it turned out that both died in August, but Gladys wasn't 42 like Elvis as stated in the book. This error is more likely, since that idea has been spread a lot before, but a note would have been in place, certainly because they were used elsewhere in the book too, to clarify matters.
Pushing the little disappointment at the end aside, this book is still a recommended read for anyone who wants to have some insight on the Elvis Presley at the doorsteps of his stardom.