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 unladylike 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 simplerexcept, of course, it wasn't.
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"A pleasure to read, especially for those who collect giant pineapples, roller coasters and other roadside attractions." - Kirkus
"Brennert convincingly incorporates into the narrative authentic figures and anecdotes about the park, and creates a real emotional pull in his evocative descriptions of the eccentric, hardworking people who made up the Palisades family in good times and in bad." - Publishers Weekly
"Brennert effectively captures twentieth-century American history from the unique perspective of the park and the lives of those who work there. But if at times Brennert's narrative seems to only lightly skim the surface of history, then Stopka's old-time integrity and lovable gullibility are rewarding depictions of the more cheerful, hopeful American of old." - Booklist
"This tightly researched book (the author grew up at the foot of the Palisades) makes for fascinating reading, down to the tiniest authentic detail: how fries are made on 100 degree summer days, how Toni learns to dive, how her brother Jack fares at war. For those who want to escape the late winter/early spring doldrums, this nostalgic coming-of-age tale of a little girl with big dreams is the perfect read." - Library Journal
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Alan Brennert was born in Englewood, New Jersey, to Herbert E. Brennert, an aviation writer, and Almyra E. Brennert, an apartment rentals manager. He grew up in Cliffside Park and Edgewater, New Jersey, always living within a mile of the legendary Palisades Amusement Park. Since 1973 he has lived in Southern California, where he received a B.A. in English from California State University at Long Beach and did graduate work in screenwriting at UCLA.
In addition to novels, he has written short stories, teleplays, screenplays, and the libretto of a stage musical, Weird Romance, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by David Spencer. He has developed screenplays for major studios, as well as miniseries, pilots and television movies, and earned an Emmy Award for his work as a...
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