Book Review: Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark.  By Cassandra Peterson.

Book Review: Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark. By Cassandra Peterson.

. 2 min read

Review by Evie Arnaude.

No matter how old you are, you can proudly proclaim that you were raised by Elvira. And after reading Cassandra Peterson’s new memoir, Yours Cruelly, Elvira, you’re about to start your own fan-club chapter and elect yourself president. We know that not all heroes wear capes, in Cassandra Peterson’s case, some wear dangerously low-cut dresses, catch a whole lot of shit for it, and push forward in the name of progress. If you’re reading this here, there’s a good chance you can’t recall being shocked by Elvira’s appearance, but if you close your mind and harken back to Satanic-panic ‘80s America, network execs and a whole lot of others “freaked” out at a sexy, dark demoness. Seems ridiculous now, right? Well, yes, but that’s always the way for anyone who had to start something and fight for change, even when they’re cracking purposefully terrible jokes while hosting the best-worst of the B-horror genre.

If you’re wondering if there are any gigantic reveals in the book, there are—sort of. The headlines promoting the book’s September release touted Peterson’s 19-year relationship with a woman, as though that’s the whole story. No doubt, it’s beautiful when a celebrity chooses to share something intimate about their world with the rest of us. Though that “reveal” comes at the end of the book, it’s hardly the end for 70-year-old Peterson, who is still portraying the iconic character she created.

This is truly a story of a strong woman who made it all work, somehow, against all odds. From her very rough start with a complicated family and a burn accident that scarred her for life, to topless showgirl, to living in a haunted house (no—really!), to a marriage marked by verbal abuse, nothing came easily for her. Laced with her signature upbeat tone, I’d highly recommend getting the book on audio, as her warm, distinct voice is like that of an old friend.

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