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3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  239 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
East Tupelo was a sprinkling of poor houses at the scratched-out back edge of Mississippi--and the birthplace of a boy who would become the greatest rock legend of his time.

In Tender, novelist Mark Childress has redefined the American epic. He takes us on a wild ride through the last three decades as his fictional hero, Leroy Kirby, makes his meteoric rise to stardom, from
Paperback, 576 pages
Published April 28th 1998 by Ballantine Books (first published 1990)
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Ed Baldwin
Jan 21, 2013 Ed Baldwin rated it really liked it
It's Elvis. It's fiction, and the protagonist is named Leroy Kirby; but it's Elvis. Mark Childress writes Southern Fiction and I wanted to see how good he is. I remember a lot about Elvis because I lived in Memphis in the 1960's when he lived at Graceland. So, it was a test.

Mark Childress is a talented writer and this is a good story. If you want to feel what Elvis felt, buy this book.

At first I thought Childress hit the details in "Leroy's" early family life too hard; such as being a surviving
Dec 19, 2013 Mel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Elvis Fans
This is the story of the rise to fame of rockabilly super star Leroy Kirby. Leroy Kirby's life bears a remarkable resemblance to another famous musician from Tupelo who ended up in Memphis, TN. We all know that person as Elvis Presley. Yep…the king himself. Of course, this book is fiction but it reads like a biography only the names are changed and Mark Childress also has changed the name of a lot of the songs and some other key pieces of info but not so much that you don't get that it is Elvis. ...more
Hal Brodsky
Sep 10, 2015 Hal Brodsky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, collection
I am in my mid 50's and the Elvis Presley I remember was a fat sweaty guy on TV singing in Hawaii while handing out sweat soaked scarves to middle aged women in the audience. He seemed a parody of something else, like Bill Murray's piano bar singer.
Reading Marc Childress's "Tender" shows a different Elvis, an almost accidental star who was unprepared for his own fame and the trappings and entrapment that his fame and fortune produced.
Marc Childress is a gifted Southern writer whose books captu
Kris Ashton
Feb 22, 2016 Kris Ashton rated it really liked it
Ostensibly a roman à clef based on Elvis Presley’s childhood and rise to stardom, Tender is in fact about the hero’s intense relationship with his mother and how it affects his life.

The Elvis character, Leroy Kirby, is born in a simple building in rural Mississippi, surviving a twin who is stillborn (this will have a subtle ripple effect through the ensuing years). His upbringing is inconsistent to say the least; with his father either in jail or unable to hold down a job most of the time, the
Aug 11, 2012 Judi rated it liked it
TENDER is the story of Leroy Kirby, the greatest rock and roll star ever. This is similar to but not Elvis Presley's life. I've never really been fascinated with Elvis per say, but this is a good novel. It has a knack of staying with you a long time after you've finished reading it. Childress knows how to make you laugh while he's documenting social history.
Jan 03, 2012 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: another-go, own
The King!!!! Unfortunately it doesn't cover his whole life, I could've read on and on..
Jim Leckband
Sep 22, 2013 Jim Leckband rated it liked it
"Tender" is a tough novel to appreciate. A novel about the unlikely rise of the King, Elvis Presley, but it instead uses the name Leroy Kirby (Le Roy, "The King"). This is not a fictional retelling where things happen that are vaguely similar but some things are totally different. Joyce Carol Oates is an author who does "reality" like this in some of her novels. This is a novel where it seems every little thing known about Elvis is mined and used.

So what's with the name changing of Elvis, his re
Nancy Willauer
Apr 30, 2016 Nancy Willauer rated it it was ok
This was my least favorite book of Mark Childress. It was not bad, but I felt it really dragged on and on with different girls at different concerts. It was a fictional story of Elvis' life, it seemed to me, I just didn't connect with it. Disappointed.
Mar 07, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of a young musician named Leroy Kirby, from Tupelo Mississippi. Sound familiar? If you are an Elvis Presley fan, or if you are interested in a fictional account of his life, you will enjoy this novel. I am and I did.
Jan 12, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Learned a lot about Elvis' life (novel loosely based on his life). It wasn't as entertaining as other books by this author
Jun 07, 2011 PM rated it liked it
Entertaining fictional account about Elvis Presley's life when he was young.
Aug 26, 2009 Teresa rated it really liked it
I had more sympathy for Elvis after reading this book.
Tom Eldridge
May 08, 2009 Tom Eldridge rated it really liked it
Terrific, engrossing, thinly disguised story of Elvis. Fun!
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Mark Childress was born in Monroeville, Alabama. He is the author of the novels A WORLD MADE OF FIRE, V FOR VICTOR, TENDER, CRAZY IN ALABAMA, GONE FOR GOOD, ONE MISSISSIPPI, and GEORGIA BOTTOMS. Childress has received the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Author, Thomas Wolfe Award, the University of Alabama's Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Alabama Library Association's Writer of t ...more
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