the outset it must be noted that much of the material in the
book about the sexual awakening of Ms Presley relies on the
account of Currie Grant (once part of Elvis' inner circle)
and the veracity of his story has been questioned more than
Bride is never boring and it certainly is more "juicy"
than Ms Presley's own memoir, Elvis and Me. There are
many fascinating issues discussed. In particular, Elvis' unusual
sexual psychology and the extent of Elvis and Priscilla's
pre-marital sexual relationship is engrossing, while Priscilla's
escalating seeds of doubt about Elvis' lack of faithfulness
to her during the Hollywood years is well described as the
on-off-screen relationship between The King and rising star,
Ann-Margret hots up.
cleverly uses both direct passages and indirect sexual symbolism
throughout the book to
heighten the narrative, be it the "bondage of high school"
that shackled the teenage
Priscilla to her "ultra-feminine sexuality" and her "romantic
master bedroom which...featured
four-poster bed, special dimmed lighting, and a mirrored ceiling".
is no doubt that at times this symbolism outweighs other noteworthy
preoccupations such as the flourishing skin care and perfume
lines Priscilla promoted in the 1990s. Child Bride was also
one of the first books to cover Elvis' relationship with Barbara
Leigh, who would later release her own book, The King, McQueen
and the Love Machine.
are detailed accounts of Priscilla's film career including
her little known but eventful role starring alongside TV legend,
Michael Landon, in Comeback, to her celebrated role
as Jenna Wade in super-soap Dallas, and her featuring
as one of TV Guides Ten Most Beautiful Women.
a weakness in the book is Finstad's less than substantial
account of the mother-daughter relationship between Priscilla
and Lisa Marie. It iis not as detailed as some other accounts
but the tensions and angst felt (sometimes) between them does
come through. Personally, I had expected a lot more on this
Finstad has woven an intricate portrait of a young girl
who was thrust into a very unreal situation with world's
biggest superstar, a young woman who over time developed
an immense inner self-confidence and business savvy
that provided her with real power in an often superficial
and cutthroat entertainment environment.
there are many sensational parts to her story, the author
also outlines the impressive resilience and "street
smarts" that today typify the person who is Priscilla
Beaulieu Presley. How one perceives these qualities
is a personal process which will differ, often radically,
from person to person. (opposite:
USA cover courtesy of Sanja Meegin)
there are many examples of these qualities. One is the way
Priscilla threw herself head-first into filming of the comedy,
The Naked Gun, a film Bo Derek apparently declined because
of its off-beat comedic requirements. The fine result is a
fitting testament to Ms Presley's talent.
paramount though is the way Priscilla, with the help of Jack
Soden, took the Elvis estate by the scruff of the neck and
transformed it into a vibrant, money making machine. Regardless
of anything else, Ms Presley is owed a big debt of gratitude
for this initiative, although many fans today may argue that
EPE has become drunk on power and profit.
does Child Bride answer the question: who is Priscilla Beaulieu
Presley? This is very difficult question to answer as do any
of us ever fully know anyone else?
Nevertheless, Suzanne Finstad offers a multi-layered look
at Priscilla Presley which provides more than its fair share
of the jigsaw pieces that together reveal who the lady is.
book features a black & white photo section which includes
many candids from the Beaulieu family archives and several
interesting photos of the younger Elvis with fans and in Germany
and Paris during his Army stint.
Child Bride is a thoroughly enjoyable book that will leave
you questioning your perceptions of not only its major protagonist,
but also her former husband, the King of Rock & Roll.
Bride was published in hardcover format by Century/Random
House (ISBN: 0712677747) in 1997 and in softcover format by
Berkley Books (ISBN: 0425165442) in 1998.
now out of print, used copies can be found on Barnes
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