A confession: I didn't finish this whole book, for the same reason I didn't finish a roast beef sandwich that contained a hair at lunch yesterday; it was simply too disgusting to continue . I DID read about 90% of it, but you don't have to examine every item in the trash bin, down to the bottom, once you've ascertained that it's garbage. This guy KILLS me, and, by his book's third chapter, I wanted to return the favor.
Michael Edwards dated Priscilla Presley from 1978 to 1985. It took her almost seven years to figure out what I did in about two days: this man was nothing but an egotistical, shallow, opportunistic interloper. Poor Lisa Marie Presley. In the books photo section (and are there ever PHOTOS- Good Grief.... these two just LOVED having their pictures taken; I quit counting at thirty-five), little Lisa looks sad, but also, she has a resigned look on her face, sort of a "if you can't beat'em, join 'em" kind of smile. Mr. Edwards DOES present some interesting tidbits about Priscilla, and even Elvis himself, which is the only reason I gave this book "***". Some of them:
--Edwards was with Priscilla on the first anniversary of Elvis' death, and he recorded that Priscilla was deeply depressed during that time. She brought Edwards with her to help clean Elvis' Palm Springs bungalow in preperation for sale. It was exactly the way Elvis left it on his last vacation, and Edwards describes finding "soiled bed linens and towels" . He calls the stains on them "bodily fluids", though he doesn't say how he knows this fact. While Priscilla is sadly gathering her ex-husband's personal things, all Edwards seems interested in is pawing through the King's treasures, and asking if he can have some of them,meanwhile splashing Elvis'fermenting bottle of "Brut" all over himself, even though he hated that particular brand of cologne.
--Although several sources, and (some reviwers on this site) state that Edwards was blatantly bi-sexual, there are no signs of that lifestyle in this book. On the contrary, he seems obsessed with every female he meets, especially Priscilla. While they were living together, he chased everything in heels. He and Priscilla cheated on each other repeatedly. He with whomever he was working with (he was a male model, and according to him, THE most in demand model of his- or any other- time); she with everyone from a fellow student in her acting class, to Julio Iglesies, capped by a humiliating, drunken one night stand with a very young Richard Gere, who never called her or responded to her calls, ever again. Edwards even details for the reader the indignant, baffled letter Priscilla wrote to Gere.
--The "Bombshell" in this bio is that Michael Edwards very plainly states that he became attracted to and subsequently "fell in love" with a pre-teen Lisa Marie, going so far as to sneak into her bedroom at night, and peering under her covers. Lisa pretended to be asleep, but the next morning, she and her mother good-naturedly confronted Edwards about it, who "explained" that he was feeling "down", and he wanted to just "look at" the child. Excuse me? Priscilla and Lisa dropped the subject; nevertheless, Priscilla told Michael that she would no longer be leaving her daughter alone with him , which she didn't.
--Priscilla became pregnant with his baby, and they debated over what to do about it. He half-way wanted the baby, but there were both worried about their "careers". He left the decision in Priscilla's hands, and she had an abortion. He wrote that they both cried, all the way home, and that they were profoundly depressed for months afterwards, lamenting that they should have had the child.
Edwards makes many observations, some of which astounded me, if only for his boundless temerity in making them. 1) He felt that he was "annointed" to "take Elvis' place"- a direct quote. He felt fate wanted him to be Lisa's surrogate "Daddy", and he even relates a "vision" in which Elvis lets him know that it was time for him (Elvis) to "let go", and let Edwards step in. Can you imagine the Elvis Presley we know and love, telling another man that he would gracefully "bow out" of his ex-wife and daughter's lives just so Edwards' dreams could come true? I'll bet Elvis cut a dance jibe from "Jail House rock" in his grave when he "heard" that one!
The saddest thing in the book, to me, is the adolescent life of Lisa Marie. She depended on an elderly couple in her mother's employ for some measure of stability, and spent most evenings in their quarters, watching T.V., and just talking. Lisa was heart-broken when they tendered their resignation, the couple explaining to Priscilla that they felt there had been "too many changes" in the past year and a half for their comfort. This maid and butler took an interest in Lisa, and upon learning of their departure, she told her mother that "they quit because of Michael!" When Priscilla said that they would have quit anyway, Lisa wandered the house for quite a while afterwards, often asking, "What am I going to do NOW? Who am I going to talk to. What am I going to DO?"
Though Edwards had his own career, both in modeling, and obtaining bit parts in movies (you may remember him as "Uncle Ted", the man little Christina caught making out with her mother, Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest") he freely admits that he adapted to the new "high life" very quickly, and very well. He spent Priscilla and Lisa's money unashamedly- which, in reality, means he spent Elvis' money on purusing his various interests. So, when did invested in shady deals and failed, it wasn't his shirt he lost- it was Lisa's.....
In reading this, I was reminded of the story from the "New Twilight Zone": a pathetic, lonely mis-fit of a man idolizes a beautiful star, played by "Vanity". He was granted three wishes, which he used to win her love. He asked for his own physical beauty, which made her want him. Then, he asked that she fall madly in love with him, which she did. Once her obtained her, however, he STILL wasn't happy, and one long night, "Vanity" inspired a revelation, by saying, "You're unhappy? You wanted to be with me, didn't you?"
"No", he says, the awful truth dawning on him as he answered," I don't WANT you.. I want to BE you!"- whereupon his last wish is granted, and he becomes a grotesque version of Vanity. I kept thinking of that show, unseen for twenty years, while reading Edward's bizarre observations. He didn't want PRISCILLA, he wanted ELVIS- and she and Lisa were the closest he ever came. Then, he veers off by comparing himself to Elvis, in every way, from his hair, to a character Elvis had played in one of his 1960's movies-- "prophetically"(yet another photo caption reads) a character named "Mike Edwards"! Spooky, huh? Gimme a break, fella...Elvis played a character by the name of "Mike Stone", too. Was Priscilla running off with the REAL Mike Stone "prophetic", too? Anyway, it dawns on him that he wants to BE "Elvis", so he begins to study his life and the two girls Elvis loved, with a tenacity that was almost frightening. It got disturbing, after a while.
I looked Edwrads "up" on IMDb, and he's basically dopped out of sight since the late '80s, after revealing to his ex Priscilla (who left him for Marco Garibaldi, father of her son)that this book was in the works. He'd promised her that he WOULDN'T write a book or give interviews about their relationship- yet she was flabbergasted when he did it anyway. "Gee, Priscilla," I thought, "He's breaking his word? Why, you'd think the guy had NO MORALS!"
If you're interested in Priscilla Presley, RAW and uncensored, and are curious about her true feelings about Elvis (she really did love him, very much), then this is the book for you. Edwards describes her sexual proclivities, her nominal, rare use of hard drugs, like cocaine, and her parenting methods-- she once "jumped on" Lisa Marie for sneaking around and lying to her. She grabbed her hair and kept slapping her, all outside. A neighbor called the police, and, according to Edwards, Priscilla "instructed" her daughter to tell the cops she was "fine".
I'm not privy to what goes on in Micahel Edwards' head (God be praised), but after reading this, I DO believe that he misguidedly thought he loved Lisa and her mother, and that he admired and idolized Elvis-- but that he was discontent just being one of the King's subject; he wanted to be near the King, and eventually, he wanted to BE the King. As has been written, "Envy so often passes for love...."