Cold weather got you shivering? Want to be transported back to summers as a kid spent at your favorite amusement park eating cotton candy, riding the Ferris Wheel and listening to the rock n’ roll hit “Palisades Park” by Freddy Cannon? Alan Brennert’s novel Palisades Park is just the ticket for you. The story intertwines the history of Palisades Park with the Stopka family from Fort Lee, N.J. Adele & Eddie wed on the park’s carousel and operated a French Fry stand there for years. Their kids grew up spending summers in the park’s salt water pool – one of the first to have wave action. Inspired by her childhood, daughter Toni becomes a high diver whose act includes lighting herself on fire, and diving 90 feet into a small pool that was also ablaze. Great stuff! The family drama set against the history of the park and the social history of the times creates a nostalgic look at family life in the US from the 1930s on.
I grew up in Western PA and my family frequented Idora Amusement Park in Youngstown, OH. It was closed in the 1980’s after a major fire, as was Palisades Park. There are several websites dedicated to the happy memories created at both of these amusement parks.
Alan Brennert has also written two novels that are set in Hawaii. Molokai and Honolulu are stunning stories of early 20th century island life. All are available in regular and large print, and Honolulu and Molokai are also available as books on CD. -Rita