Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Elvis Takes a Back Seat-Leanna Ellis

Elvis Takes a Back Seat
Leanna Ellis
Broadman & Holman, Jan 2008, $14.99
ISBN 9780805446968

In Texas fortyish widow Claudia feels all alone as her parents and child previously died and now she organizes some of her recently deceased husband’s items for a garage sale she is holding. However, amongst her spouse’s belongings she finds a note he must have wrote just before dying. His last request was to have Claudia return a weird bust of Elvis that she had planned to sell to Memphis.

Claudia would prefer not to drive to Tennessee, but foolishly told her sexagenarian Aunt Rae, who knew the King and pushes her niece to do her late husband’s final bidding as a way they can come together. Thus, Claudia, Aunt Rae and acerbic fifteen years old pregnant Ivy, daughter of a family friend, drive from Texas to Tennessee while ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT to these three traveling females who bond on the road and in Memphis especially after Graceland.

Once Leanna Ellis decides between homage to Elvis and emote end of the world sister angst the story line turns into a deep character study of the three females. Ironically when ELVIS TAKES A BACK SEAT to the threesome while on the road; the trio overwhelm the readers with their melodramatic torment that apparently is hyperbolic humor that reads awkward. In Memphis Elvis moves to the front and so do the women who come across as genuine with issues in which they bond. Overall an entertaining tale of three generations of women finding their way through Elvis (each chapter reflectively is titled with an Elvis song).

Harriet Klausner

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