Running To Graceland

John Slayton
Wise Ink Creative Publishing (2018)
ISBN 9781634891110
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (1/19)

John Slayton’s “Running to Graceland” is a testament to friendship and loyalty, at any expense. Readers follow three high-school friends: Jack, Curtis and Bruce who choose to take a road trip after graduation, which ultimately takes them on a path they would never have imagined.

Bruce and Jack have just recently graduated from high school, yet Curtis is out of control most of the time and still has classes to take during the summer. In reality, Curtis had no plans other than to get away since his father died. Curtis took his father’s death hard, even though his dad treated him like crap. It got so bad that he attempted suicide and was placed in a mental hospital.  Given that the boys had been drinking on that wild and crazy trip what happened next was a shock that put all boys lives in jeopardy. Bruce decided to return home, and Jack couldn’t leave his friend Curtis.

I was captivated by the author’s narrative on what lengths one would go to remain loyal to a friend, including seeking a possible myth in the legend of Elvis. The author writes with such realistic and dramatic detail it was hard to put the book down. The story paints a vivid picture of how young people only live for the day, oblivious that the choices made are for a lifetime.

Through Jack’s narrative, the author provides a journey of finding one’s self and what matters most. Both boys make some unwise choices to make money which involves getting high and delivering drugs to unsavory characters.

A relatively short read at 250 pages, I found myself saddened (and at the same time shocked) with the ending. “Running to Graceland” is well written, the characters are well developed and will remind readers of friends from the past. I found that even though the read was entertaining, it was somewhat a journey that many will not have experienced.  For those who want to experience a somewhat unconventional coming-of-age read, “Running to Graceland” by John Slayton will pique your interest.