Book Review – Mr. Boardwalk by Louis Greenstein

Mr. Boardwalk
Louis Greenstein
Print Length: 294 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: New Door Books (March 12, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

“At the age of seven, Jason Benson first experiences the wonders of Atlantic City—carnival rides, fortune-tellers, fudge shops, arcades and Miss America. Smitten, he decides to live there forever. But when we meet him as an adult in New York, he’s been keeping his youth a secret from his wife and daughter. Why? This dual coming-of-age tale traces the excitement and perils of the young Jason and the moral growth of the adult who must come to terms with the past he tried to forget.”

In this wonderful novel, the reader is introduced to Atlantic City through the eyes of the adult Jason as he begins to share his history with his wife and his daughter. The scene is set so vividly, we can feel the chill, salty spray from the ocean, see boys tossing a football, and sense Jason’s trepidation. Then we go back to his childhood and see the magic that first had him fall in love with The Boardwalk.

Jason’s father decides to quit the job that he hates and start making and selling pretzels on the Boardwalk. Every summer Atlantic City becomes a playground for many people and street magicians, fortune tellers, and food venders set up shop. Jason works for his father, but soon learns how to juggle. When he starts doing shows, he is successful enough that he can finance his dream of moving from Philadelphia to live and work full-time in this place he has come to love.

This is a story with a lot of layers and the author does not back down from the hard stuff of life, but it also celebrates the themes of loyalty and devotion. Not that the relationships in the story are all perfect. People and relationships are never  perfect. They are human, and that is how Jason is played out in the story. He is a wonderful, human character to whom we can all relate.

There were so many things I loved about the story and the writing, there is not room here on my blog to include them all. The relationship between Jason and his father was poignant and often humorous, and it was the author’s deft use of humor to lighten some scenes that I especially liked. The cast of supporting characters, especially all of the other folks who worked the Boardwalk before the casinos were built, were terrific.

According to the author bio, this is Louis Greenstein’s first novel, and I certainly hope it is not his last. He will be my Wednesday’s Guest this week, so I do hope you will come back to meet him. He is sharing three main things he learned about writing from his day jobs, and he has had many. You might be surprised at some of the things he has done, and equally surprised at what he learned from those jobs.


LOUIS GREENSTEIN’s writing has crossed multiple genres, from scripts for the Emmy Award-winning Nickelodeon series Rugrats to stage plays performed by theaters around the country. Several of his plays are available in print, and his playwriting has been honored with a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His musical show One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro, co-written with performer Kate Ferber, travels to multiple venues in New York City and elsewhere.

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