It takes dedication to write consistently in a journal or diary. It does become easier over time if one forms a habit or if one has a passion to write about. However, it takes courage to share that passion and those personal thoughts with complete strangers. An autobiography is a very personal form of writing and, once one’s life is out there in paper or electronic form, there is no turning back. One courageous soul to share her life and her love for a very famous singer was Sandra Ann Falcetta in her autobiography Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers.
Beginning her book from the age of 10 in 1958 and ending it in the year 2012, Falcetta talks about her life and the many events that happened during it through diary and journal entries, but many of those events involved a legendary icon: “the King of Rock ’n’ Roll” himself, Elvis Presley. From the early age of 10, Falcetta discovered and fell in love with the King. Her first diary entry told of when she first saw and heard Elvis sing, “He has long hair and he moves around and makes faces when he sings. He must be scared because his whole body shakes most of the time. All the girls cry and scream. So funny and crazy. I like his songs” (Falcetta 1). Ever since that first journal entry on March 16, 1958, Falcetta was hooked: listening to, watching everything, and writing anything she could about Elvis. One may think Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers is just a fan girl’s obsession with a man every other girl in the world had an obsession with; however, that is not the case. In her entries, Falcetta recollected what it meant to be a true fan who admired everything Elvis did and everything Elvis was.
Other than the fact that the whole book is mainly about Elvis, what really brings Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers to life is the voice. Falcetta’s voice keeps readers’ attention throughout the book’s entirety. Short entries and short sentences keep readers reading and wanting to know what will come next. Readers will find themselves wanting to know what happened to Falcetta as she endured good times, bad times, exhilarating times, and difficult times. In one autobiography, readers are reading about two lives: Sandra Ann Falcetta’s life and Elvis Presley’s life. Not only are readers learning about two lives, they are also revisiting events in history that Falcetta was able to witness: President Kennedy’s assassination, Apollo 11 landing on the moon, Watergate, the impeachment of President Nixon, and segregation to name a few.
Readers who have a passion, whether that passion is for Elvis or something else entirely, will be able to relate to Falcetta on another level. Readers who have a passion understand what one will do to be able to do anything they can for that passion. Falcetta moved to Tennessee so she could be closer to Graceland and saw Elvis more often than many fans can say. She was able to talk to Elvis in person and through letters, which not many fans can say they have done. Some of these letters as well as pictures are scattered throughout the book, bringing Falcetta’s entries to life. She shares so many stories of waiting at the gates of Graceland to meet Elvis, of racing him on the streets in her car, seeing him in concert multiple times, interacting and talking with him for brief moments that readers will almost feel like these events had happened to them.
For such short diary entries, there is so much information to read and enjoy in Dear Diary: An Elvis Fan Remembers. It is truly a story to read and experience for one’s self. Through the highs and lows of Falcetta’s life, she truly is a courageous woman and her passion for Elvis shows in her book. She wrote her book to tell the world who Elvis really was, “I want the world to remember him for what he truly was: a beautiful Southern gentleman, at times a little boy in the body of a man, an egotist at times but mostly humble, rebellious but law abiding, sexual, and religious. He was rich enough to buy whatever he wanted. He was an active man, but he was confined due to his frame. A husband who loved his wife. A father who adored his daughter. He was a loving son. A man who owned the world, but died thinking the world owned him. A man known worldwide by his first name: Elvis. Superstar… the King of Rock N Roll — a name he didn’t like. He always said there is only one King and He is in Heaven. A blessing from God to the world. God bless his soul” (Falcetta 140). After having revealed her past to readers, Falcetta ends with her present life, telling readers that she still has more to do in the future. Perhaps more diary entries await Falcetta and a new autobiography will be shared with the world.
Originally published at www.examiner.com on October 29, 2015.