Palisades Park Author:Alan Brennert Bestseller Alan Brennert's spellbinding story about a family of dreamers and their lives within the legendary Palisades Amusement Park — Growing up in the 1930s, there is no more magical place than Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey—especially for seven-year-old Antoinette, who horrifies her mother by insisting on the unla... more »dylike nickname Toni, and her brother, Jack. Toni helps her parents, Eddie and Adele Stopka, at the stand where they sell homemade French fries amid the roar of the Cyclone roller coaster. There is also the lure of the world’s biggest salt-water pool, complete with divers whose astonishing stunts inspire Toni, despite her mother's insistence that girls can't be high divers.
But a family of dreamers doesn't always share the same dreams, and then the world intrudes: There's the Great Depression, and Pearl Harbor, which hits home in ways that will split the family apart; and perils like fire and race riots in the park. Both Eddie and Jack face the dangers of war, while Adele has ambitions of her own—and Toni is determined to take on a very different kind of danger in impossible feats as a high diver. Yet they are all drawn back to each other—and to Palisades Park—until the park closes forever in 1971.
Evocative and moving, with the trademark brilliance at transforming historical events into irresistible fiction that made Alan Brennert’s Moloka'i and Honolulu into reading group favorites, Palisades Park takes us back to a time when life seemed simpler—except, of course, it wasn't.« less
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As an enormous fan of MOLOKA'I and HONOLULU, I wanted to love PALISADES PARK...unfortunately it was a very disappointing read.
This was a nostalgia-laced snooze fest for me. I gave it 100 pages, but was bored, bored, bored. The family story was too slow and had too low a pulse to engage me and hold my interest. I didn't really care about them enough to keep forcing myself to turn the pages, so I had to move on.
Nevertheless, I will be one of the first in line for Alan Brennert's next book!
Loved the book. I moved to Fort Lee, NJ the year that Palisades Park closed; so, I loved all of the references to Palisades Park, Cliffside Park, Fort Lee, etc. The history of the park was so interesting and informative. I would highly recommend this book.
Brennert calls this book "a love letter to a cherished part of my childhood". Book is a fictional account of the Park from 1930 through its closing in the 70's. It follows a family which made its living at the park and the people they encounter. Although it is fiction, many of the people and events are taken from history. It is an interesting look at entertainment and the people who created it.
I grew up across the river from Palisades Park, and although I never got to go there - we'd visit Rye Playland instead - it was as much a monument in the NYC area as the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. Except that it was more beautiful and much more exciting.
I loved Toni's story. She was a great heroine, and I loved the very colorful cast of family and friends that completed the cast. I grew up with these same people!
I remember climbing cliffs and swimming in the Hudson. It was a time when we could have colorful mentors like Bunty and Eddie - without question or suspicion.
And I remember how the events of that time affected us all, too, from learning how to duck and cover in case of a nuclear attack to the civil rights movement.
I do agree though, that the star of the book was The Park. And after all those years I finally feel as though I was able to visit.
Even now, whenever I drive the West Side Highway I still look across the Hudson to that spot on top of the Palisades and even though there are a couple of ugly apartment buildings crowning that spot now, I see only the colored lights of Palisades Park.