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Alan K. (Westport, MA)
A little history and a little nostalgia frame this family drama that covers 50 years of the Stropka family and their close connection with the old Palisades Amusement Park. The writing is serviceable at best and awkward at times but Brennert is a natural storyteller and keeps the story moving and the reader engaged.
Sarah C. (Cape Girardeau, MO)
A thoroughly enjoyable story of a close knit community. Not your average one, in fact one that people of my age were warned to stay away from. Issues are faced and resolved, difficult life situations addressed, some resolved, some just lived with. Having lived in the middle of the era the book is set in, I can say the author is spot on with the times and morays. Also having lived in Hawaii for 20 years, he has that culture spot on. I would recommend this to anyone. Good solid read!
Marianne S. (Ulysses, KS)
Visit the past at Palisades Park
This book has three main characters: Eddie, his daughter Toni and Palisades Park itself. The book begins with eleven-year-old Eddie visiting the fantastic Palisades Amusement Park in New Jersey in 1922 and continues until 1974. The Park with all its wonders and occasional tragedies really comes alive in the book. I wish I could have visited the park! I learned a lot about the history of amusement parks and about Toni's unusual occupation. The many unique characters are sometimes flawed, but always interesting. There are sad and serious events in the book, as in life, but the book is by no means a tragedy. There are interesting issues for book clubs to discuss. I did find the first part a little slow, but it was worth sticking with the book. I recommend it for people who like historical fiction and books about people's lives through time.
Lisa H. (Salisbury, MD)
Dive Right In
Go ahead, stick your toe in and test the water. I guarantee after the first few pages you will want to dive right into Palisades Park. It is a sensory pleasure! Brennert brings the sights, sounds and smells of the amusement park to life. While I have never been to Palisades, I live near Ocean City, MD, and the descriptions of the vendors, rides, attractions and people make me nostalgic of the Ocean City Boardwalk & Pier. I found myself googling images and history of Palisades as I read, and was amazed how thoroughly Brennert wove the facts into his bit of fiction. I highly recommend this wonderful story!
Jeannie T. (Lexington, KY)
Palisades Park is a beautifully written story about a family of dreamers in New Jersey at the Legendary Palisades Amusement Park. This book has very well researched historical references woven throughout the story.
Palisades Park would be an excellent read for any age group, but especially those that love historical fiction or want to be taken back in time when amusement parks and carnivals were valued entertainment. Having never been to New Jersey, I so appreciate that the author shares this loving tribute to the Park and piece of history. I couldn't put the book down. Although, there were heartbreaking times during this stormy era in history, this is a feel-good book. The characters in the story offer much insight about acceptance, loyalty and never giving up on a dream.
I enjoyed this novel that used the backdrop of the iconic Palisades Amusement Park in NJ to tell the story of the Stopka family over several decades. At all times, the author's depictions of the changing times rang true, from the pre WWII era and the societal changes the war brought, to the struggle for integration in the 50's and 60's. For me, having visited the park as a child, I found the portions of the novel focusing on the park's history the most interesting.
Cheryl W. (Crosby, MN)
I enjoyed this book and the characters were outstanding and well developed. Antoinette's (Toni) coming of age was fun and for her to know what she wanted and to go after it made the story delightful. I also learned a lot about Amusement Parks of the past.
Marjorie W. (Bonita Springs, FL)
Just a easy read.
Couldn't put it down. I read this book over a weekend and was sorry to have it come to an end. Alan Brennert has continued in the manner in which he started with Molokai and Hawaii - an entertaining fictional portrayal of history. I will be suggesting Palisades Park to my book club.