I received many wonderful and unforgettable gifts for Christmas this year, but one of the best was the review of my memoir, Dear Elvis, that follows.
McCloe presents a heartwarming memoir with fictionalized elements about dealing with the death of the man she loves by writing letters addressed to Elvis Presley. The author tells the story of how she, a middle-aged divorced woman, fell in love with Don, a widower. They met at work, where they both drove school buses for a living, and became close friends, lovers, and then just close friends again before Don’s death, due to heart failure. At the start of this work, Don has already died and McCloe is coping with her pain by writing missives in a diary, begging the spirit of Elvis in the afterlife to pass along messages to Don. This correspondence chronicles her feelings as she manages such emotions as denial, anger, heartbreak, hope, and finally, peace. She also begins a friendship with a priest named Father Chris (a fictional, composite character), who encourages her to find a way to move on. As the author reveals more about Don’s life and their connection, Father Chris affirms her suffering while also urging her to memorialize Don in her own way, and live her life in a manner that would make Don proud. Her letters then directly address Elvis, asking him about his life and telling how his music career positively affected her as she attempts to find catharsis. Over the course of this book, McCloe’s prose is relatable, likable, and highly sincere; she’ll make readers think about how one can easily take one’s relationships—and, indeed, one’s life—for granted. The changing format of the letters keeps the narrative engaging and propels the story forward in an offbeat way. This book will likely appeal most to those who are coming to terms with personal grief, as it accurately conveys the conflicting emotions that come with the grief journey, while also honing in on how one always has the ability to find joy again. A grounding and deeply human take on love and loss. Kirkus Reviews
Dear Elvis is available at amzn.to/2uPSFtE