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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,215 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
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, Marlayna develops a powerful sense of self-preserva
Paperback, 418 pages
Published March 7th 2012 by Createspace
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May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Linda Glass
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jessica Buike
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Nora Greaves
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
heart breaking memoir of a young child to teen living in Las Vegas in the 70s. once I got the rhythm of her writing I couldn't put it down and immediately upon finishing it bought the second book in her trilogy. I need to know what happens to this young girl.
Jeni Sanderson rutjens
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well written and read within two days.
Brigetta Barone
Jun 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memor
Hey moms, if you need to feel better about yourself - read this book!

Think you're a "bad mom" because you forgot about your kid's science project? Feel guilty because you fed your kids non-organic celery? Did your kid dissolve into tears when you refused to [fill in the blank]? This book will bolster your confidence in yourself as a parent!

Marlayna grew up in Las Vegas in the 1970s, as the title indicates, a place that seems to attract the lowest forms of life, from what I can discern. The book
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

No child should to endure Ms. Glynn's suffering. This book enraged me, made me cry and left me astonished at her resilience. It is well written, but there are some gaps in time that I think she should have filled.

Nevertheless, I am eager to read he next book in her series.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing

"Overlay" was an incredibly moving memoir about Marlayna, a young girl growing up on the seedy side of Las Vegas in the 1970's. It begins when she's old enough to remember things at the age of four. Her parents are careless alcoholics and put themselves before their child. She has a lot of questions and doesn't know what things mean when she's young. She was born with a strong will to survive and this is her story.

At first, they live in a somewhat ordinary situation but it soon beco
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2012-book
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
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Best Memoir Ever!

I read / listened to this book in audio format via I always choose audio books over any other type of book as the narrators tend to breathe life into the books and because the audios allow me to still get things done and still read my books at the same time! Audio books also make a great companion on the long road trips!

I really liked this book. Overlay is the 1st book of a series of 3. It is a memoir about the authors life. While I find most memoirs dull, this memo
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Ughh... my heart broke for young Marlayna... especially all the adults that could have stepped in and helped (older siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles). I'm really glad Marlayna was one of the rare cases of people who survive this childhood. I agree with the other reviewers- if you like books like The Glass Castle, you'll probably like this one as well.

I have two gripes with this book. First, I felt like the individual stories didn't tie together very well, especially at the beginning of the
Michelle Walls
Mar 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing

I really liked this memoir. It is in my top three favorites. Marlayna writes about her parents, herself and the horrible people she had to deal with along the way with brutal honesty. It wasn't a pretty life. She writes about the things she didn't have, like bare necessities, love, safety, protection and the humiliation of it all without coming off as feeling sorry for herself or bitterness. It's just the way things were for her. It was what it was. She had some much to overcome and life dealt h
Jessi Nill
Aug 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dava Stewart
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Brenda Schoolcraft
Nov 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you loved the Glass Castle, Alice Had a Palace, or Angela's Ashes, you will love this book. A page turner, I couldn't put it down. A sad existence in a terrible dysfunctional life of a child. An only girl child, dragged through the mud by her alcoholic mother, and the many men she brought into her life. A child should never worry where there next meal is coming from. I hated this mother that treated the child like she was baggage she wished she would have dropped off somewhere. Choosing the s ...more
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Chris Gregory
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enthralling but traumatic read

Yes, this is an interesting, almost enthralling story, but the details are painful to bare and difficult to read. The writing is superb and captivating as this young girl rises up through a broken family that is disjointed and neglectful. The abuse is shameful. The remarkable aspect: she made it through that minefield with apparently little trauma and rose to write this memoir and other offerings. The author has made several contributions to troubled youth and succe
Stacey Thomas
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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Marlayna Glynn is a memoirist, speaker and award winning photographer. Immediately upon publication Marlayna's first memoir, Overlay: One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas, was honored by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards with an Overcoming Adversity award.

Marlayna's published journey includes Overlay: One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas, Angeles, As All Hell, The Trilogy: Memoirs of Marlayna Glyn
More about Marlayna Glynn...

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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” 2 likes
“Some Folks Are All Right Until They Get Two Pairs Of Britches." - Prosperity often affects people adversely.” 0 likes
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