Pooker's Reviews > Waiting for Elvis

Waiting for Elvis by David  Elias
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's review
Sep 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: canada, fiction
Recommended for: Anyone who has driven down a lonely highway and wondered about those solitary houses along the way
Read from September 01 to 04, 2011 — I own a copy

A really well-written and compelling read. This would make a good book club read (I'm assuming, not belonging to any book clubs, that people actually discuss and debate the merits of a common book read when they get together). I've read a few on-line reviews of this book after reading it and all the ones I've read suggest that Betty is all goodness & gentleness in a life that has basically been a bummer for her but that, as the story unfolds, there is redemption for her. Frankly I'd take the opposite view. That is, Betty actually becomes (or rather is at the core to begin with) as abusive as any of the other characters, if not moreso.

But first things first.

The cover: I love the cover of this book. As a child, I spent scads of hours on the highway between Winnipeg and Kenora and between Kenora and Thunder Bay (Port Arthur and Fort William in those days)so I'm quite familiar with the booths in the roadside restaurants we at which we inevitably stopped on our travels. You can't travel with umpteen kids and not have to stop for gas (that is to say, in addition to gas, peeing, eating and vomiting). Looking at the cover, I can immediately feel how the naughahide (sp?) tugs at the backs of my legs depending on the heat of the seat and the heat of my legs as a wiggle on over to make room for my siblings at the same time as ensuring I get a window.

Next a quibble:

Okay, anyone who regularly travels the TC knows this diner is not situate "west of Thunder Bay". Let's not pretend. It's west of Kenora, west of Keewatin, west of Falcon Lake even or east of Winnipeg, but not west of Thunder Bay. We've seen the sign. We've eaten the cinnamon buns. We know whose cinnamon buns these are and they're not "Betty"'s. To suggest so is highway robbery. Ha ha! It does disturb me though that, because we know whose cinnamon buns these are, we might also assume that the circumstances set out in this novel are true for the real couple on the TC highway west of Kenora. I didn't know them well enough to say one way or the other, but I do wonder if any of it might be close to the truth and I don't think that's fair to them. Couldn't Elias have had Betty serve up the best blueberry pie in the country instead?

Okay, quibble aside, I loved the book, whole totally believable characters and a haunting story.

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