Book Review: A Little Thing Called Life By Linda Thompson
July 6, 1972 was a day that changed the life of Miss Tennessee Universe, Linda Thompson, forever. On that day, she met Elvis Presley for the first time. It was a chance meeting, but a meeting that would lead to five years of a passionate relationship with a man thirteen years older. Elvis was older, but in many ways, Linda was the wiser of the two.
Elvis pursued Linda despite the fact that he was still married to Priscilla and had a daughter, Lisa Marie. In 1972, there wasn’t a woman alive who wouldn’t drop everything, do anything, to be at the side of Elvis Presley. Linda eventually moved in with Elvis. From that day forward, they were rarely separated. If Elvis was in the shower, Linda sat outside the shower stall. If Elvis stayed up all night, Linda stayed up all night. She was at his beck and call. He depended on her for everything and she was compliant in the relationship. Unfortunately, his affairs and drug use led to an epiphany for her. After a series of panic attacks, she diagnosed herself as needing to “take back control of (her) life” after neglecting her needs for so many years. She returned to Memphis.
Linda then met Bruce Jenner. Bruce was again, the ideal man for every woman in America. He was an Olympic decathlon winner, a man’s man, and a caring individual. Even Elvis remarked “Damn, if that guy is not handsome!” Linda joked “I’m going to marry that guy someday!” On January 5, 1981, Linda married Bruce and had two children with him. Bruce was a dedicated father and their life was blissful, until Bruce confessed that he “identified as a woman.” The day Linda saw him in full makeup and female clothing, she collapsed to the floor. The relationship ended and Linda moved on to working as an actress. She was a complete success in both acting and voice overs but her biggest success, in her words, was to be a mother to her two sons.
Linda then met David Foster, a 16 time Grammy award winner. David left his wife after meeting Linda. They married and became an award winning songwriting duo. Linda was a lyricist, winning an Emmy in 2003. Her professional career was successful and satisfying, but her personal life was controlled and stressful. David was obsessed with a certain chair in the kitchen and refused to let anyone sit in the chair but himself. Eventually, the family made a “King David” sign to place on the chair! David was also prone to disappearing for days. Linda made excuses for him until she finally realized she couldn’t stop the odd behavior. The final straw was the day Linda was in a serious car accident. She called David and he refused to pick her up at the hospital, sending an assistant in his place. The marriage ended.
Linda continued to raise her sons, enjoy friends and family, and work diligently at acting and songwriting. She reveled in being able to wake up when she wanted, have her dogs in the house or enjoy other simple pleasures of a less controlled life. As she writes “What a beautiful gift we have been given-a little thing called life.” This book is a beautiful gift for anyone remembering Elvis or for anyone struggling with controlling relationships. She gives hope to all that the twists and turns of life are indeed precious.