"Mr. Boardwalk’s central concern … is Jason’s love for Atlantic City in the mid-70s, and his nostalgia for it in the present day. Jason’s teenage years down the shore were those immediately preceding legalized gambling, when Atlantic City wasn’t exactly a more innocent place (Greenstein deals honestly with the drug and sex culture of the era), but a more honest one. Before the huge casinos with faux themes and the false hope of winning big, the city was full of local seasonal businesses which, in the novel, seem to act more like family than competitors.
"Greenstein brings us vividly back to that time, while also reminding us that it was not without its consequences on the individuals who lived it, and that nostalgia can have a bit of a dark side as well. Through the novel, Jason’s love of Atlantic City begins to border on an obsession, which affects not only his life in the 70s, but also his adult life. This connection between the two narratives is one of the real strengths of the novel, and leads to a tight, satisfying ending."
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