Graceland Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Graceland

A Nigerian teenager leaves his troubled home and reflects on his past before finally leaving Nigeria in search of a better life. Elvis is a Nigerian teenager who has to escape his dangerous surroundings in order to seek a better future. He lives with his father Sunday and his stepmother Comfort, but he does not get along well with them. He spends much of his time hanging out in his dirty, run-down neighborhood, and sometimes he tries to earn money by performing impersonations of Elvis Presley, after whom his parents named him. He had a much better relationship with his mother, who died of breast cancer when Elvis was young, and with his mother's younger sister Felicia, on whom Elvis had a secret crush. He leaves home an runs afoul of robbers who kidnap children, and he even finds severed human heads in the back of their truck. He is taken to a dungeon where he is sexually abused, but he eventually escapes. While he is on the run, he reflects on his relationships with the people he loved, including his mother, his aunt Felicia, his grandmother, and a girl named Efua. Eventually, he reconnects with his school friend Redemption, who is very good and talking his way out of trouble and has even been known to bribe teachers. Shortly before the end of the book, his father Sunday is killed when a bulldozer runs over him, and Elvis meets a girl named Blessing, whom he likes, and who also has a troubled past. The book ends when Elvis is in the airport, about to travel overseas. Redemption has given Elvis his passport, and the book ends with Elvis telling an official that his name is Redemption.
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Best part of story, including ending: I liked that it gave a picture of what is beautiful and scary for a teenager in Nigeria.

Best scene in story: I liked the part where Elvis and Redemption are riding in the car and talking about the future, because it showed that Redemption is clever and is a very faithful friend to Elvis.

Opinion about the main character: I like Elvis because he repeatedly overcomes adversity, and he never forgets the people who have been kind to him.

The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Tobkin a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of Graceland

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   African Blacks Other aspects:    -   immigrant story Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes Age group of kid(s) in story:    -   high school Wild kid(s)?    -   runaway!

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Black (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   5 () Africa    -   Yes Kind of Africa:    -   Black Africa City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Graceland

Chris Abani Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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