Neon Dreams by Marilyn Mufson

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

unrated

Synopsis

The grinding tribulations of a promising young woman breaking from the bad habits sewn by her upbringing.

Mufson introduces readers to Rebecca Plotnik, home after college, in the early 1960s, living with her parents in Las Vegas. Her dreams of an acting career in New York City are busily thwarted by her discouraging mother, her gambling-addicted father and her insecurities. Neon may be blinking in the streets, but Rebecca's world is pure noir, a shadow land of enfeeblement, asymmetry and an identity in vertigo, freighted with the banality of her everyday woes and the desperation of finding the right somebody to lift her from her emotional flux and head eastward. A biting, chromatic portrait of Las Vegas in the '60s alternates with Mufson's sure hand that allows Rebecca to make one bad choice after another, falling for men who are too good to be true—one with charm enough to coax a hungry dog off a meat wagon, another not "merely handsome. He was Art."—but just this side of believable to make us fall for them as well. She is also artful with the quality of the book's creepiness—when her father introduces Rebecca to his gang, she says, "I pictured convicts breaking up rocks…I felt like a stripper in a graveyard"; her drop-dead-gorgeous boyfriend Alex's relationship with his mother is a mix of Oedipus, sunglasses and a vodka martini or three (winningly, Alex's siblings have figured out his degenerate ways—"So bohemian," says Rebecca. "Gets pretty boring after a while," says Alex's step-brother.) Rebecca may be enslaved to fattening foods and her mother's admonitions, but she is also a smart cookie, with a worldly eye that knows the difference between Middlemarch and Marjorie Morningstar, and Mufson lets Rebecca's English professor nail her to the cross—"You may have done your best to turn in a shitty paper, as you called it, but your writing still showed promise—a series of brilliant starts that went nowhere."

A deftly crafted tale of an absorbing character in dire straits; readers will be pulling for Rebecca Plotnik.

-Kirkus Review
Editor Review
 

About Marilyn Mufson

See more books from this Author
Marilyn grew up in Las Vegas, where Bugsy Siegel bounced her on his knee and gave her silver dollars for her piggy bank. She spent her formative years acting in theater companies in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and went on to write and direct the show TIME PLAY, which won both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts grant. She also acted in one of the most widely viewed sex education films in the US, DEAR DIARY (much to her children's dismay). She has written extensively for print and theater and maintains a vintage Vegas blog at www.neondreamsthebook.com. Neon Dreams is her first full length novel.She has three grown children and currently lives in Brookline, MA with her husband, Mike.
 
Published July 21, 2010 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 363 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Neon Dreams

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

“Gets pretty boring after a while,” says Alex’s step-brother.) Rebecca may be enslaved to fattening foods and her mother’s admonitions, but she is also a smart cookie, with a worldly eye that knows the difference between Middlemarch and Marjorie Morningstar, and Mufson lets Rebecca’s English prof...

Mar 01 2011 | Read Full Review of Neon Dreams

Reader Rating for Neon Dreams
92%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 12 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review