Cover Image: Action Park

Action Park

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Member Reviews

Downloaded this title for my work as a marketer for Penguin Random House, will not be posting my review publicly.
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“Your dad’s in some shit.”

“You’ll have to be more specific.”

If there’s were ever a way to demonstrate Andy Mulvihill’s casual indifference (or perhaps resignation) to his father’s crazy antics, it’s the above exchange between Andy and a classmate when Andy’s father Gene finds himself in serious trouble with the law. 

The aforementioned trouble and loads more of it is the subject of Action Park, the wildly entertaining, unique, and delightful semi-memoir of Andy Mulvihill, son of the owner and inventor of Action Park, Gene Mulvihill. 

Andy, perfectly exasperated when describing his father’s loony ideas yet an enthusiastic, willing participant in them, is about the best you can ask for in a narrator. He’s observant, hilarious, and honest, carefully chronicling his childhood in the shadow of the what was once the world’s most dangerous amusement park.

I won’t get into specifics here because I don’t want to spoil any of the joy you’ll experience when reading about Andy and Gene’s wacky world for the first time, but I will say that Andy’s thoughts and observations are almost as joltingly delightful as the events that inspired them. 

This is easily one of my favorite books of the year thus far, a madcap heap of fun and a perfect read if you’re craving some light nonfiction but still want that delivered to you by a witty, incisive author. 

Final note: While the documentary on the park is also excellent, the book is better (aren’t they always?) and I recommend reading it before watching the television program.
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A fun summer read that reeks of Coppertone and stale beer and the secondhand smoke from your dad’s Marlboros. You can’t be of New Jersey and not know Action Park. I’ve never been but was able to close my eyes and picture the commercial with surprising accuracy.

The history of the park is told through Andy’s experience growing up alongside it. But it’s also the story of how his father’s outlandish vision could only have been made possible in the late 70s/early 80s and, as much as Andy pushes back against it, a case for government regulation of amusement parks. It is so over the top unbelievable what Gene was able to get away with.

A good companion for one of the most stressful weeks of this pandemic and I look forward to channeling even more of this adrenaline soaked free fall feeling into watching the “Class Action Park” documentary next month.
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After having read the Mental Floss oral history of the park, written by Rosser and featuring Mulvihill, this book was like catnip to me, and it did not disappoint.  The absolute debauchery and carnage of Action Park is enthralling,  My students loved the oral history, and while the novel might be too young for them as an assigned read, I definitely see a copy of this hitting my bookshelf soon.
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Fun but went on a little to long. Glad I never went to the park But my husband and son would have loved it.
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This book was a thrill ride, just like the Action Park attractions described throughout. I am familiar with Action Park and learned all kinds of horrifying new trivia reading this, but readers without prior knowledge will enjoy the insanity too.
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As someone who lives in North Jersey and grew up near Action Park, but having never gone there, I was intrigued by this book. My husband had been there numerous times, so everytime I mentioned something, his response usually was "I DID THAT".  I even mentioned the book on my Facebook page and had such a huge response from people saying how much they loved the park and they still had the scars. It seems everyone has a story, and i absolutely enjoyed reading this. I look forward to selling this in my market.
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I was a strong swimmer in my youth, raised in a swimming pool, a junior lifeguard by age 10. I almost drowned in the tidal wave pool at Action Park. I, along with tens of thousands of tri-state area kids, had a close brush with fate at Action Park. Believe the hype, the legends are true.
This is a fabulous true tale of American ingenuity and individuality. Gene Mulvihill was a maverick turned legend in New Jersey. At times, he veered close to con-man territory with his insurance racket and complete disregard for safety. This book is authored in part by his son who played an outsized role in the running of the park since before he hit puberty. The reader can feel the love, suspicion, hero worship, and frustration his son felt for him. 
I loved this book. Someone has to buy the rights and turn this into a prestige ensemble dramedy. I laughed and cried reading this book. Well done.
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