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Overlay: A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  541 ratings  ·  87 reviews
*2013 Winner of a Next Generation Indie Book Award*

Fans of The Glass Castle, The Liar's Club and Angela's Ashes will appreciate this award-winning tale of survival and resilience recorded in spare and convincing prose. This tale describes the turbulent childhood of the author in 1970s Las Vegas.

Born into an ongoing cycle of alcoholism and abandonment amidst fallen adults,
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Paperback, 258 pages
Published March 7th 2012 by createspace
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Community Reviews

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Grady
Underlay to Overlay...and beyond

Finding an author who can create a memoir from the voice of a child flowing into a young teen and beyond is always refreshing but especially so when the author maintains the sense of educated dignity in the language, allowing the language of a child to remain of the period but informed with an adult's sensitivity of expression. That is precisely what Marlayna Glynn Brown has accomplished in this tough little book about the slings and arrows of growing up in a fami
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Lori
Jun 05, 2013 Lori rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: memoir
a*3.5* read this book on my kindle.Marlayna writes about her first 17 years of life in 1970s Las Vegas. do not want to sound mean but this is pretty much another " my crummy childhood" memoirs. there are an awful lot of these kind of books out there to read. I will give Marlayna credit. her writing and memory about her childhood are both good. Her mother and father were both alcoholics. they were married until Marlayna was about six or seven. her father disappeared from her life for a few years{ ...more
Lisa
This is undeniably the best memoir I have ever read. Marlayna's story reads like a fictional coming of age novel. Starting from the age of 4, the author recounts her shocking home life. Her story makes Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, life look like a Leave it to Beaver episode. By the way, I did love The Glass Castle. Brought into the world by two alcoholic parents, Marlayna struggles to survive; often times just trying to get her basic needs of food and a safe shelter meet. Her on ...more
Marie Rutherford
Marlayna in 1970s Vegas is often left struggling to find the most basic necessities of life - food and shelter. Neglected by her alcoholic parents with no stability in her life,she develops an amazing resilience and survives the most awful experiences. She tells her story with child-like language and understanding from about age 4. Several reviewers have said that they wanted to hug and cuddle her & heal her little heart, BUT more importantly the book has impacted readers to look at their ow ...more
Cj
I have found myself mesmerized by Marlayna Glynn Brown and cannot stop reading her words. Very rarely does a book leave you at a loss for words because of the journey you travel personally while sharing the author's story. Overlay is deeply personal and tragic with not only Marlayna's story but with the reality of just how prevalent some form of abuse touches so many lives and that is just her experience alone. While devouring this book, I found myself in anguish for a little girl that never exp ...more
Jessica Buike
I almost didn't read this book since I have a natural aversion to memoirs - as a whole, I find them to be rather boring and self-indulgent. But from the very first chapter I was drawn into this life of struggles portrayed through the author's childhood voice. It is written in a way that draws the reader in and you find yourself not wanting to believe that it is true, but if you had a difficult childhood you realize it can be true. I saw a few glimpses of my own dark childhood mirrored in her sto ...more
Jo
This memoir was written by the child of two alcoholics. It is, very sadly, the portrait of a childhood similar to that of many youngsters living in 1970's Las Vegas, which was then a center of poverty and child neglect in this country. Part of a trilogy, it describes the author's life of neglect and abuse from ages 7-14. Heartbreaking, of course, and very disturbing, it also serves as somewhat of a testament to the human spirit as we see this young girl grasp for and find ways to survive a world ...more
Cathy
A truly powerful read... one that will transport you to 1970s Las Vegas. More important than "where" the book is set is "who" you will walk alongside as you read it. You will meet, and get to intimately know, a young girl growing up amidst the devastating impact of alcoholism, drug abuse, neglect, parental instability, abuse, and homelessness. You will feel her pain as she navigates her way through her life, and will experience her life 'from the inside out' rather from 'the outside in' thanks t ...more
Maryann Winship
Excellent Read. Her parents was a prior beauty queen and her father was attractive person who appeared in magazines. I guess physical beauty is fleeting. Parents became alcoholics, when they probably could have been much more. They leave her on her own way too many times and this starts at a young age when she is left in alone in a hotel room so her parents can go to the bar. Her parents get a divorce and her mother just attracts all the wrong men. She married one that was unemployed. How a once ...more
Brigetta Barone
Loved It

Loved It

I couldn't put this book down. Harrowing tale, powerfully recounted. I am going to immediately download the next book in the series.
Linda Glass
This woman had a horrendous childhood and adolescence but, strangely for me, it was quite boring to read about it. The cycle of alcoholism, poverty, abuse, and (understandable) self pity kept grinding along from the age of five to sixteen. I can understand her need to write this book but I'm sorry I read it.
Jeni Sanderson rutjens
I LOVE the style of writing of this book. It makes it easy to read.
However, it's a sad tale. It makes me want to be a better parent to my kids, while also realizing I am a good one. Reading this, you just want to take the little girl into your arms and protect her forever.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Beetqueen
Probably 3.5 stars.

I checked this book out through my Amazon Prime membership. I never quite know which books to pick as my monthly free read, but I like memoirs, so that's usually where I start. I picked this one because I've always wondered what living in Las Vegas is really like. I've been three times, once as a child, once right out of college and once in my early 30's. I'm not much of a gambler (I've never spent more than $20 gambling), so I people watch. One thing I noticed is that once yo
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Tina
I heard about this book on Amazon for it's acclaimed ratings and awards and although I don't typically like memoirs or biographies it sounded appealing. This story was hard to put down and was so well written I would have thought I was reading a novel. From very early in her childhood Marlayna is raised under horrible circumstances that no child should have to bear. Alcoholic parents, step-parents, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, neglect and abandonment. Written in first person about how s ...more
Kimberly
Well written and read within two days.
Jessi Bevan
I read a lot of biographies and memoirs. This book although written more from her childhood point of view rather than a retrospective was hauntingly brillant. I found myself very much caught up in what was happening and felt angry/sad/happy all the emotions during the events. I really felt like I was cheering her on at some point just so someone was fighting for her besides herself. Much like other biographies I've read where the subject has gone through terrible hardship as a child it's nice to ...more
The-vault
By Marlayna Glynn Brown. Grade: B

What is it that makes one’s life interesting to another? Is it the reader’s perceived shared experience with the writer? Thankfulness for not having shared such an experience? A story that evokes emotion – whether it be relief, anger, fear, sadness or joy? Our shared desire for entropy, balance, peace and happy endings?

Author Marlayna Glynn Brown has crafted an extraordinary tale of survival and resilience in spare and convincing prose. Written form a child’s poi
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Wanda
This book is a memoir of the author's young life - a child with an alcoholic father and a mother who just doesn't seem to care - a very dysfunctional family. With a very simplistic style, Marlayna writes with strength, painting a vivid picture that captures your attention from the beginning.

Many times Marlayna displays anger at her mother and is confused how she could both hate and love her mother at the same time. There was very little food purchased for the house and many times Marlayna cried
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Karen
Truly fascinating memoir written about Marlayna's growing up years, born to alcoholic parents and it gets worse from there. The writing style is easy and clear and flows beautifully. It's hard to read and see how this young girl was repeatedly put in harm's way by parents who cared more about losing themselves in alcoholic binges than watching over their daughter. She had to grow up fast. Glad to see she overcame and has had a good life beyond the first 18 years.
Dava Stewart
This is a good book. I'm considering buying the next one, even though I don't really like memoirs. I find the narrator untrustworthy in all memoirs, probably because I find my own memories untrustworthy. Also, this story is one of those that makes me uncomfortable because of the level of neglect described.

One thing that really stood out as I thought about this story is that the author gained a firm belief in herself through all of the horrors and discomfort she endured. She came through it knowi
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Farrell
I couldn't put the book down; I kept turning the pages, reading well into the night.

A story of survival even in the most terrible of circumstances. A child who lost her innocence early on due to her mother's neglect and her father's alcoholism, but who ended up rising above it, guided by her own morality and sense of right/wrong, despite never being taught. It came from somewhere; within.

This book is about the author's childhood but I think there should be a sequel: I want to know how she manage
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Barb
Sometimes you wonder how children survive a childhood filled with neglect and danger. Marlayna Glynn Brown describes her own growing-up years as she bounced between parents who were active alcoholics and who put her in situations no child should endure. This is a disturbing memoir to read.
Julie
This book captured my whole heart and soul. I could not put it down. I fell in love with little Marlayna and just wanted to hug her and love her and help heal her little heart. My gosh, what she went through, no child should have to go through. But she did, and so very many like her. This story made me realize how much I need to pay attention to the children around me and what impact I can have on their little lives.
I can't wait to hear more of her story.
After so much pain, I hope there has bee
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Connie
This is a very well written memoir. At times it was very hard for me to read, only because some of this was my story too. I couldn't put it down though and read the next books as well. She really puts her heart into her writings.
Chrisann Justice
I just finished this book. It was a journey and a half to read it. It was a harsh reminder of how difficult some people's lives can be. I don't want to forget it's lessons as I work with children and youth throughout my life.
angela
I'm not sure why I so enjoy reading about suffering, but I do. This girl went through a horrible childhood, virtually fending for herself from 4 years old because her parents were neglectful and abusive alcoholics. It's nice to see the author pulled through an unimaginable obstacle course. I have to say, it needed some more editing. But overall, it was a quick read falling between similar books as The Glass Castle & The Liar's Club.
Christina
This book is currently in the kindle lending library.
This book reads similar to The Glass Castle but of course with the author's own unique story line. I am amazed at not only the genetic makeup that makes individuals have strength in character but the environmental pressures that people live through and the choices they make that lead to a balanced complicated yet simple human being that basically needs water, food, love and companionship. Growing up in the '70's I enjoyed the references to th
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Stacey Thomas
If you've ever been under the impression that the world was better 40 years ago, read this memoir. Alcoholism, drug abuse, school shootings, child abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, murder, domestic abuse, teenage promiscuity, homeless children, murder, and so on all were just as prevalent as it is today...except there were fewer resources for those suffering. Reading this book has changed the way I think about my own life and has made me thankful for the goodness of my parents. I also appreciate how ...more
Patricia Phillips
Great read

couldn't put it down.. loved her style of writing....astonishing the will some posess to survive...god bless Marlayna...I'm thrilled she eventually found what she so desperately needed and wanted.








Susan Jorgenson
Overwehelmed

Overlay was a difficult read for me as I cannot phantom how parents could do this to their child for so many years made me feel heavy in the heart. The ending better and my heart felt lighter. Overall a good read as we know terrible things happen and good does come out often times.
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Marlayna Glynn Brown is a best-selling American author and photographer. Immediately after publication her first memoir, Overlay: A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas, became one of the highest rated author memoirs on Amazon. Overlay was honored by the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards with an Overcoming Adversity award.

Marlayna has a remarkable gift for observing and recording humani
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“I don’t tell my mother what happened the night before. I’m too embarrassed to tell her that I allowed that fat nasty man to stick his tongue in my mouth. A small part of me is afraid to tell her the truth. What if she doesn’t do anything with the information? She isn’t protecting me from Billy Dean so why would I think she would call the police on Big Ray? It’s easier to remain quiet and optimistic and think that if I had told her then maybe she would have become enraged and driven to his house and cracked him over the head with that blaring television set. Although I can’t imagine my mother capable of that level of passion, part” 0 likes
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