The Year the Music Changed: The Letters of Achsa McEachern & Elvis Presley

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9781592641222: The Year the Music Changed: The Letters of Achsa McEachern & Elvis Presley
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It is 1955. Achsa is a lonely, passionate and precocious fourteen-year-old, isolated at school by her intelligence and disfigurement, troubled at home by the undercurrents in her parents' relationship. She finds comfort and inspiration in the tunes and rhythms she hears on her radio. Hearing a recording by an unknown 20-year-old country singer named Elvis Presley, she fires off a fan letter, telling him she knows he's going to be a star. Insecure in the world he is entering, passionate about music and burning with a desire to succeed, Elvis answers her and enlists her help in teaching him how to "talk good." The intimate, touching correspondence that follows chronicles Achsa and Elvis' coming of age as artists and individuals. Able to confide in nobody else, they share with each other their most private dreams and fears. Elvis becomes Achsas sounding board as she watches her beautiful, distant mother and her sternly religious father lurch toward tragedy, confronts her own scarred mouth, and faces a shattering loss. The young singer's responses reveal his fierce, aching innocence in the year before his star burst forth and offers a fascinating glimpse into the grassroots history of rock and roll.

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From the Back Cover:

THE YEAR THE MUSIC CHANGED

"Touching, funny and tender. . . . Highly recommended." -- Library Journal **starred review**

"A tender and often very funny evocation of yearning, love, disillusionment, joy, and, above all, the hard and redemptive necessity for change." -- bestselling author Anne Rivers Siddons

"A novel that unerringly depicts a pivotal time in American culture. More importantly, Thomas has just as convincingly rendered the timeless intricacies of the human heart." -- Ron Rash, author of One Foot in Eden

"A bittersweet, funny, big-hearted book." -- Joshilyn Jackson, author of gods in Alabama

"Startling in its beauty! . . . The pitch her is perfect. The whole novel sings. This book is as powerful as any love song Elvis Presley ever recorded. You cannot help being all shook up." -- David Bottoms, former Georgia Poet Laureate and author of Waltzing Through the Endtime

"A stunning achievement. . . . It is soul-touching and memorable, and the writing is simply dazzling." -- Terry Kay, author of To Dance with the White Dog

"Elvis fan or not, you will not be able to put down this bittersweet correspondence between a legend in the months before he rockets to fame and the pen-pal who confides in him her own startling story. -- Norris Church Mailer, author of Windchill Summer

"A must-read novel, fresh, surprising, full-hearted, joyful and sad. . . . If novels could sport bumper stickers, this one would read 'Love Me Tender' -- and everyone would. -- Fred Chappell, former Poet Laureate of North Carolina

About the Author:

DIANE THOMAS has worked as Entertainment Editor of The Atlanta Constitution, a staff writer on Atlanta magazine and a freelance writer/editor. She and her husband divide their time between the north Georgia mountains and an island off the Florida panhandle. The Year the Music Changed: The Letters of Achsa McEachern-Isaacs and Elvis Presley is her first novel.

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