Vacation To Graceland
by Phillip Cornell
Review by Barry Boy
Vacation To Graceland by Phillip Cornell was given to me in exchange for an honest review when it was the OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day.
Vacation To Graceland is a short story told in narrative format by a young black man, who is one of the people on the road trip – a family outing – to Elvis’ mansion and estate in Memphis from their home in St. Louis. Most of the story is taken up with the retelling of the young man’s tribulations with and resulting embarrassment from his interactions with his mother and old, infirm grandmother.
Many of these situations in Vacation To Graceland are comical, but Cornell’s use of English is lax and conversational. Whether that is his style specifically for this novelette or not, I do not know, but the grammar is poor and there is little evidence of a serious attempt at editing. For example, there is no excuse for writing ‘our parties name’, even if it is in conversation.
However, it is also repetitive and overwritten.
Having said that, it is interesting to read how the family’s road trip panned out, and to see that the problems he had were roughly the same as mine were at that age, despite the fact that where I live is 3,000 miles from the southern states and on a different continent.
Anyway, Cornell gets us readers to Memphis, where his more distant family hold a barbecue, then he takes us around Elvis’ old mansion, Graceland, and back to St. Louis.
It took me a long time to realise that the cover is a drawing of Elvis, but I enjoyed the story in spite of the above criticism of the style. However, I would not read another one, until Cornell improves his skills or hires an editor.
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