Book Review · Humor · OnlineBookClub

Vacation To Graceland by Phillip Cornell

Book Cover

Genre: Humor
Number of Pages: 92
Publication Date: May 18, 2016

Rating: 1-star-review out of 5
OBC Rating:  1 out of 4 stars
Story Perspective: First-Person

To Learn More About the Book, Click: Vacation to Graceland on OBC Bookshelves

*This was part of the Book of the Day Program and is part of the Blogger Review Program*


A family of six heads off on a five-hour road trip to Memphis, Tennessee for a family reunion.


My thoughts…I’m not really sure what to make of this book. The main character, which I don’t think we ever learned the name of, seems likable enough. He’s pretty upbeat, even when he makes choices like not eating for sixteen hours straight and is starving.

Aside from the protagonist, we don’t really get to know the other characters very well. We get a snapshot of granny and her obsessive lottery tickets ways, a bit of mom, not much of Crissy (the protagonist’s sister), and barely enough information of Crissy’s children. Then, when the family reaches the reunion, no other character really sticks out.

Now, the plot itself is very bland and flat. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where literally nothing happens. The grandma is on dialysis and the mom has figured out a way to take the grandma on a five-hour road trip with no issues, which is an interesting addition to the plot. It is clear that some arrangements needed to be made, but, as the reader, I never find out what those arrangements are. Also, the blurb mentions about bickering and how hard the car ride was supposed to be, but I didn’t really see any of that. Sure, the kids complained about certain things, but nothing too crazy. And honestly, I don’t really know what circumstances made this trip to be an unforgettable experience since nothing happens. I will say that one of the aspects that made me excited to read this was the fact that the family was going to vacation in Graceland, Elvis’s old stomping grounds. Unfortunately, the trip was just a snapshot and the family only spent a few hours there.

There aren’t really any themes here, and the genre is confusing. I was expecting this to be a laugh-out-loud type of book, but I barely found a moment to even smile. It’s not because I don’t love humor, I do (I mean can’t stop laughing when I watch The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family). I just didn’t see where in the book was meant to be humorous. The grandmother had some potential to be funny, but she didn’t really get to shine here.

Looking at the writing style, which is also bland, I felt a bit annoyed at times. The protagonist kept repeating himself throughout the text. For instance, on Loc. 415, it is stated, “Seeing that the experience at the Cracker Barrel went smooth, I was glad we made it in and out with no major complications.” I mean this simply is stating the same thing twice, and there isn’t a need for it.

Aside from the writing style, there were endless amounts of errors from start to finish.

  • Added and missing commas (Memphis Tennessee – should have a comma in between)
  • Missing letters in words (‘ever’ should be ‘every’ on Loc. 16; ‘were’ should be ‘where’ on Loc. 630; ‘happed’ should be ‘happened’ on Loc. 678)
  • Missing possession (‘My granny room’ should be ‘My granny’s room’ on Loc. 449)
  • Missing plurals (‘2 shrimp’ should be ‘2 shrimps’ on Loc. 484)
  • Repetition (’12:00 noon’ should either be ’12:00pm’ or ‘noon’ on Loc. 57)
  • Barely quotation marks, so it was hard to tell when anyone was speaking or not

This book needs another big round of editing. I have read another book by this author and in both cases the editing seems nonexistent.

Overall, the premise of the story is good and the protagonist seems likable enough, but the book lacks in attention-grabbing plot, developed characters, and editing.

Tough to say. I wouldn’t recommend it to any of my friends, but I see others have liked it.

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