This is an amazing book. A wonderful recreation of a time and place. It's not about Atlantic City. It's about life. Happy, sad, bittersweet. It even has a touch of magic in it. I hope this author continues to write. Enjoy it.
About the "touch of magic" in the book: Here's a comment from Jimmy, the novel's sage and smelly wise man (a counterpart to Rabbi Greenblatt, who is also sage but not smelly). Jason, the narrator, has been bugging Jimmy to explain a seemingly magical event that keeps recurring in Jason's life:
"If you don't know how," I asked, "can you tell me why?"
Jimmy looked up, a wide grin spreading across his face.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"You never asked why before. You only asked how."
"Okay, now I'm asking why."
His grin faded. He looked me in the eye. "To protect you." He stuffed another hunk of pastry in his mouth and washed it down with a gulp of water.