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Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark Review

My History With the Book:
I don’t recall exactly when I first heard of Elvira’s auto-biography, but I’m pretty sure its when my buddy Michael sent me a text. He knows I’m a huge Elvira fan like himself and he sent me a link to a North Carolina based bookstore that was doing an autograph signing with Elvira. I’ve tried on two occasions to attend conventions where Elvira was scheduled to be, but both times she was forced to cancel. I figured this would make for a great keepsake and I could support one of my favorite horror characters in the process.

The book arrived last fall, but I was overwhelmed with the books I had to read at the time. I wanted to read it, but I just couldn’t prioritize it over the material I was reading at the time. I ended up taking advantage of a discount Audible membership and I decided to spend a credit on Yours Cruelly since it was read by Elvira/Cassandra Peterson and I could make my way through it while working or commuting. This review will focus on the audio book edition.

What The Book Is About:
Cassandra Peterson chronicles her life from the beginning to the present.

What I Liked About It:
-Cassandra Peterson has a great voice, quirky comedic timing, and can tell a decent story. She doesn’t take herself too serious and also doesn’t spend much time in any sort of pity party or woe is me stories. The narration is top notch.

-The beginning of the book was by far the best. Her stories about her childhood, her interesting dynamic with her parents, and how she became physically scarred as a child were riveting and at times moving and sad.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-If you would have told me I would end up disliking this book, and Cassandra Peterson after reading this I would have thought you were insane. Sadly, for the second time in so many months, an autobiography has made me think less of the author (the first was Matthew McConaughey’s Green Lights.) Once Ms. Peterson passes through her childhood upbringing and makes to Las Vegas as a showgirl, the stories become namedropping and sensationalized. Obviously, I wasn’t there, and the timing and popularity of Vegas makes everything possible but we hear dating/sex/insult stories about Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Jones, Elvis Pressley, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Wilt Chamberlain, The Osmond Family, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and the list goes on and on. Each story seems to be more outlandish than the last and well… you can only hear so many before you finally stop and say, “This is bullshit.”

In a hope to prove to myself that Ms. Peterson did live more by the age of 14 in a small mid-western town than most of us do our entire lives, I discovered that others had seen through stories that have changed over the years, stories that didn’t line up, and time lines that didn’t line up. Granted, Ms. Peterson is seventy years old, but so much of her story telling comes across like over-the-top fan fiction and it’s a shame, because I really wanted to like this book.

-Even if you can overlook the outlandish tales and name dropping, Ms. Peterson does very little to actually explain how she feels in any given situation. There is no exploration of conscious or even a deep dive into how these situations helped her develop as a person. It’s more or less, “Oh, I met this person and we made out but didn’t have sex. Then I met this person and they were incredibly cruel. Then I met this person and they wanted to bang me but I didn’t.”

Elvira as a host will always be something I enjoy as well as her two feature films. Sadly, as a person and as a book, this is a big stinker. Even if the stories within are true, it doesn’t paint a positive picture of her as a well adjusted human being. Similar in a way to the Matthew McConaughey book, maybe celebrities truly do live in a world the rest of us don’t understand. Maybe they think they need to tell outlandish tales to justify their stature in our society. I don’t know for sure, but I will say, save your time and invest it into a better horror icon autobiography like, If Chins Could Kill by Bruce Campbell.

I give Yours Cruelly one bloody knife and say skip it.

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