30 Books in 30 Days, Vol. 3
Action Park tells the story of the country’s most dangerous theme park, from the perspective of the son of the man who owned it. Gene Mulvihill wanted to provide a theme park that catered to people who didn’t want to passively experience things, but be the actor in the rides and attractions. His lax attitude towards safety standards and his strong belief that people had the right to endanger themselves meant injuries and near-drownings were the norm for guests in the park. And people did die. There is a reason the names “Class-Action Park” and “Traction Park” became synonymous with its actual name.
This park sounds like a wild place, but I didn’t really like the author very much and a lot of the stuff he wanted to write about didn’t need to be in the book. I appreciated the insight into the behind the scenes details of how the park ran and why and how the attractions came to be (his father was a character, to say the least), but I absolutely did not give two shits about his political beliefs (he admires Ronald Reagan and was a Young Republican), his time at school, or his romances. If this had focused solely on the park it would have been a four star read. But I just can’t give four stars to a book that at several points, I kept wanting to read other things instead.
I also listened to the audio version, bought off a $2 Audible sale years back. The narrator does a good job with the story. An entertaining read overall. Some of the details in here definitely gave me that feeling I was looking for when I went into this, that “I can’t believe I just read that” feeling. But it could have been tighter and less of the author’s personal life would have been preferred.