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Brighton Beach Memoirs

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The first in Neil Simon’s "Eugene Trilogy," followed by Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound Winner of a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play Meet Eugene Jerome and his family, fighting the hard times and sometimes each other—with laughter, tears, and love. It is 1937 in Brooklyn during the heart of the Depression. Fi The first in Neil Simon’s "Eugene Trilogy," followed by Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound Winner of a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play Meet Eugene Jerome and his family, fighting the hard times and sometimes each other—with laughter, tears, and love. It is 1937 in Brooklyn during the heart of the Depression. Fifteen-year-old Eugene Jerome lives in Brighton Beach with his family. He is witty, perceptive, obsessed with sex, and forever fantasizing his baseball-diamond triumphs as star pitcher for the New York Yankees. As our guide through his "memoirs," Eugene takes us through a series of trenchant observations and insights that show his family meeting life's challenges with pride, spirit, and a marvelous sense of humor. But as World War II looms ever closer, Eugene sees his own innocence slipping away as the first important era of his life ends—and a new one begins. This semiautobiographical classic was adapted into a film by Simon’s longterm professional partner, Gene Saks, who directed, among many others, Biloxi Blues, The Odd Couple, Broadway Bound, and Lost in Yonkers. 


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The first in Neil Simon’s "Eugene Trilogy," followed by Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound Winner of a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play Meet Eugene Jerome and his family, fighting the hard times and sometimes each other—with laughter, tears, and love. It is 1937 in Brooklyn during the heart of the Depression. Fi The first in Neil Simon’s "Eugene Trilogy," followed by Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound Winner of a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play Meet Eugene Jerome and his family, fighting the hard times and sometimes each other—with laughter, tears, and love. It is 1937 in Brooklyn during the heart of the Depression. Fifteen-year-old Eugene Jerome lives in Brighton Beach with his family. He is witty, perceptive, obsessed with sex, and forever fantasizing his baseball-diamond triumphs as star pitcher for the New York Yankees. As our guide through his "memoirs," Eugene takes us through a series of trenchant observations and insights that show his family meeting life's challenges with pride, spirit, and a marvelous sense of humor. But as World War II looms ever closer, Eugene sees his own innocence slipping away as the first important era of his life ends—and a new one begins. This semiautobiographical classic was adapted into a film by Simon’s longterm professional partner, Gene Saks, who directed, among many others, Biloxi Blues, The Odd Couple, Broadway Bound, and Lost in Yonkers. 

30 review for Brighton Beach Memoirs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    I may have loved this even more the second time than I did the first time around.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This was a fun play to read. I have seen the movie a few times and wish I could see the play version. Neil Simon wrote Brighton Beach Memoirs. it is bases on his own childhood. It is seen through 15 year old Eugene's eyes. It takes place in 1937 over two days a week apart. Eugene lives in a house in Brighton Beach New York, with his Father, mother, Brother Stanley, his aunt Blanche and two cousins Nora, and Laurie. Times are hard his dad works hard to support the extended family. Eugene breaks t This was a fun play to read. I have seen the movie a few times and wish I could see the play version. Neil Simon wrote Brighton Beach Memoirs. it is bases on his own childhood. It is seen through 15 year old Eugene's eyes. It takes place in 1937 over two days a week apart. Eugene lives in a house in Brighton Beach New York, with his Father, mother, Brother Stanley, his aunt Blanche and two cousins Nora, and Laurie. Times are hard his dad works hard to support the extended family. Eugene breaks the fourth wall by talking to the audience. inviting us into his home. There are issues in the home that happen over the two days. Chances for a job, pay loss, a possible date for his widowed aunt. and Eugene's raging hormones. Most of the play is done with Neil Simon's sense of humor. I liked getting to read this play. Since i have seen the movie a few times I could now read the humorous dialogue in this well done play.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    I went to Coney Island and simply had to pick this up again. Only Neil Simon can bring tears to my eyes and make me laugh in the same scene :''''') I went to Coney Island and simply had to pick this up again. Only Neil Simon can bring tears to my eyes and make me laugh in the same scene :''''')

  4. 5 out of 5

    The Sweaty Nerdie

    Wow! This was awesome. Really funny and entertaining. It had me in splits. I'm eager to read the next book in the series. Wow! This was awesome. Really funny and entertaining. It had me in splits. I'm eager to read the next book in the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    S61

    Favorite play that I have ever read so far. Loved the characters, story, and dialogue. Can't wait to read more. Favorite play that I have ever read so far. Loved the characters, story, and dialogue. Can't wait to read more.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Sapitanan

    There were two things boys were into back in the late 1930's. It was Baseball or sex. Believe it or not, most boys didn't care about school, all they did was play "ball", hang around, and of course, were attracted to the girls. This in 1937, the pre-war era, taking place in Brooklyn, New York. In this Memoir Brighton Beach Memoirs by Niel Simon describes 15 year old Eugene Jerome living in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. Also the time era during the great depression. Eugene (the main character) desc There were two things boys were into back in the late 1930's. It was Baseball or sex. Believe it or not, most boys didn't care about school, all they did was play "ball", hang around, and of course, were attracted to the girls. This in 1937, the pre-war era, taking place in Brooklyn, New York. In this Memoir Brighton Beach Memoirs by Niel Simon describes 15 year old Eugene Jerome living in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. Also the time era during the great depression. Eugene (the main character) describes himself as a witty, perspective, obsessed with sex and will always fantasize his baseball-diamond triumphs as star pitchers for the New York Yankees. Throughout the story, Eugene describes the series of trenchant observations and insights. Also how his family meeting life challenges with pride and marvelous humor. This Memoir was written by Niel Simon. Niel is an American playwright and a screenwriter. During WWII, he was discharged from the Army and Air Force reserve training program. Since 1961, He has written numerous Broadway shows and plays. He also wrote musical plays and shows including his famous one "Sweet Charity". In 1991, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play "Lost in Yonkers". Lately in 2006, he won the Mark Twain Prize for American humor. Simon uses literary devices such as characterization, setting, and theme to convey what the message of the story was. The use of characterization really gave the audience a clear image of how the character personality is like and how they look. I personally like the setting that Simon used in the story. It really fitted along. Before WWII started, Many Jewish Families had fled to the United States to start a new life rather than get captured at the war zone. Whats great about this was that setting made Eugene family fit in because Eugene family also happens to be a Jewish family that also moved to New York. Last is the theme. The author uses theme so that there is a meaning to the story. Because of the other literary devices that are used in the memoir, they help convey the theme through the story. I loved the way Simon put the whole story together. Through Eugene story, I am able to relate his story with mine. As for the theme, I learned that in life, no matter what you do, you are always going to change as time progress. As like my teacher said, "it takes time for thing to get better at." In his case, Eugene grew from a "I-don't-care" young teen to a respectable more matured young man. Just like Eugene, I will also become a better person as time passes by. I recommend this book to those who have a sense of humor. This book was mainly about how much you can mature through time. If you interested in humor, lessons, or even sex, feel free to pick this book. I liked it and you probably will too.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Keith Moser

    I saw (and I think read) Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs several years ago after a local theater put on a production of it. The same theater is doing it again and I wanted to reread it to see if I should audition for it. I love Simon’s writing and I believe this may be one of his best. This semi-autobiographical story revolves around Eugene, a young boy who struggles with puberty and living with his family—his older brother Stanley, his parents Kate & Jack, his aunt Blanche, and his two cous I saw (and I think read) Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs several years ago after a local theater put on a production of it. The same theater is doing it again and I wanted to reread it to see if I should audition for it. I love Simon’s writing and I believe this may be one of his best. This semi-autobiographical story revolves around Eugene, a young boy who struggles with puberty and living with his family—his older brother Stanley, his parents Kate & Jack, his aunt Blanche, and his two cousins, Nora & Laurie. They struggle to make ends meet during the Great Depression while newspapers hint that another Great War might be looming... Eugene is developing feelings for his older cousin Nora (although any female could probably win his love) while he’s constantly being told what to do since his younger cousin has some apparent health problems. Jack and Stanley work several jobs between them to try to keep all seven fed and clothed. Blanche is a widow who feels some shame being a burden on her sister, but Kate barely says anything and just lets the stress bubble up inside her until it breaks through in Act 2. And Nora is frustrated because she wants to join a new Broadway musical but her family wants her to stay in school. There are other little conflicts that come up, but it's all written so realistically with Eugene often breaking the fourth wall and the omniscient narrator for the whole tale. Jack is the only role I could hope for, and I may be a little too young for it, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to try—with the right kids, it can be a fantastic show.

  8. 5 out of 5

    ☯Emily Ginder

    I'd love to share with you why I thought this book was just okay. However, as I'm not sure how I might step over Goodread's invisible line for appropriate, on-topic content, I will refrain until such time as the guidelines are made clear, easily accessible, and announced to all members. http://emilyg.booklikes.com/post/6556... I'd love to share with you why I thought this book was just okay. However, as I'm not sure how I might step over Goodread's invisible line for appropriate, on-topic content, I will refrain until such time as the guidelines are made clear, easily accessible, and announced to all members. http://emilyg.booklikes.com/post/6556...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marlathemom

    My first Neil Simon play was short, sharp, and satisfying. Told over the course of two days pre-WWII, fifteen-year-old Eugene details the lives of his crowded house and his crowded thoughts as puberty and complicated family dynamics encroach upon his life. 130 pages of (sometimes bawdy) humor and heart.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kaila Tacazon

    Really good story about family and the working class and real life. How did I not read Neil Simon until right now??

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jessica López-Barkl

    I couldn't remember if I've read this one before, but I read it again today after watching the film in preparation for my professor audition that starts tomorrow and runs through Monday. The professor audition starts with a viewing of New Mexico State University's production of this play. I'm a firm believer that Neil Simon is an under-appreciated playwright, but it's still hard to talk about his plays. I taught a playwrighting course in the summer of 2010 at Washington State Penitentiary and I I couldn't remember if I've read this one before, but I read it again today after watching the film in preparation for my professor audition that starts tomorrow and runs through Monday. The professor audition starts with a viewing of New Mexico State University's production of this play. I'm a firm believer that Neil Simon is an under-appreciated playwright, but it's still hard to talk about his plays. I taught a playwrighting course in the summer of 2010 at Washington State Penitentiary and I made them read interviews about different playwrights' processes from the book PLAYWRIGHTS AT WORK. I surprised myself when I read Neil Simon's interview written by James Lipton, and realized that his process was definitely one that I would assign the guys to read because it made logical sense and he said lots of things that are important for emerging artists to hear. One of which was that good plays are hard to talk about. Well, case in point, BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS is just what Neil Simon writes - a well-made play: it starts with a conflict and a main character's desire and follows character. How it is done so seamlessly and in such a heartfelt way, is Simon's own version of genius. Do I like the play? I don't know. I don't want to run out and be in it, produce it, or see it, but...I recognize it's beauty. If you are interested in pursuing playwrighting or writing comedy; I think you should read Simon's canon and his processes. Also, by the by, I think Kate in this play is a character I would like to play when I finally look 40.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carly Ashner

    "Brighton Beach Memoirs" was a hilarious book. It was fascinating to read about a boy going through his teens, since I am girl, going through her teens. Eugene Jerome ( the main character) is a typical teenage boy. He is starting to get interested in girls, he loves baseball and his family is struggling through the Depression. Brighton Beach shows that even though the hard times will get to you, your family will always be there for you. No matter what age you are, you will be able to take away s "Brighton Beach Memoirs" was a hilarious book. It was fascinating to read about a boy going through his teens, since I am girl, going through her teens. Eugene Jerome ( the main character) is a typical teenage boy. He is starting to get interested in girls, he loves baseball and his family is struggling through the Depression. Brighton Beach shows that even though the hard times will get to you, your family will always be there for you. No matter what age you are, you will be able to take away something from this book. The depression hit families hard, and Eugene's family was no exception. We see the family grow and come closer together over time. Even though talking about the Depression is a sad topic, Simon added humor to it, which made it interesting. There were points through out the book that made me laugh out loud. The humor made this an enjoyable book to read. If you have not read it, I would get a copy of it as soon as possible.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    I am thinking about auditioning for this show and had not yet read it so I picked it up for a quick read today. I was rather disappointed as I was expecting Neil Simon to be funny (isn't he usually funny??). I get the historical significance and the bold positions (all the naked discussions and the swearing) were cutting edge for the time, but for modern times it is rather tame. And nothing really happens. Yes, family is about forgiveness and working together and siblings fight. So what? And so, I am thinking about auditioning for this show and had not yet read it so I picked it up for a quick read today. I was rather disappointed as I was expecting Neil Simon to be funny (isn't he usually funny??). I get the historical significance and the bold positions (all the naked discussions and the swearing) were cutting edge for the time, but for modern times it is rather tame. And nothing really happens. Yes, family is about forgiveness and working together and siblings fight. So what? And so, I did the show and we are done, but the trailer was fabulous (especially since my son ended up as Eugene) and I wanted to save the link: https://vimeo.com/152049917

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Deal

    One of my absolutely favorite plays, this play starts off the Eugene trilogy, also know as the Brighton Beach triology. In my opinion, Neil Simon’s three greatest plays, no offense to the Odd Couple. All these plays center around the main character of Eugene, and look at three phases in his life. Based on Neil Simon’s growing up, these plays resonate with the audience, and reader even now. The characters are so real, the family situations you can identify. Lots of great drama mixed with Neil Sim One of my absolutely favorite plays, this play starts off the Eugene trilogy, also know as the Brighton Beach triology. In my opinion, Neil Simon’s three greatest plays, no offense to the Odd Couple. All these plays center around the main character of Eugene, and look at three phases in his life. Based on Neil Simon’s growing up, these plays resonate with the audience, and reader even now. The characters are so real, the family situations you can identify. Lots of great drama mixed with Neil Simon’s humor. Love this play.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    There is not much to argue about this book. It was mediocre and not very plot driven. I chose to read it because I knew that it was written in the format of a script and I assumed there would be monologues in it. As an actress, I always have my eyes peeled for an interesting monologue. It has interesting voice coming from a teenage boy, but is not very plot driven. I would not recommend this book for school essays or discussions because it is hard to be enthusiastic about something so mundane.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    One of my favorite Neil Simon plays. He writes this one so well that I felt I was a member of the family and experiencing with them their ups and downs. Simon does what all great writers do; he makes the old seem new.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Connie G

    A humorous account of coming of age, and the immigrant experience.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    Sometimes amusing and quaint autobiographical coming of age play.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Darkestar

    It's like Holden Caulfield meeting Willy Loman :) It's like Holden Caulfield meeting Willy Loman :)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Noemi

    I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but it was a light, enjoyable read. Simon especially succeeded in creating an effective and likable narrator with the fifteen-year-old Eugene. The transitions between his interactions with the other characters and addresses to the audience flowed naturally, providing context and commentary whenever necessary. His good-natured sense of humour as he recounts the difficulties of growing up in a large family during the great depression coupled with the struggles of I wouldn't call it a masterpiece, but it was a light, enjoyable read. Simon especially succeeded in creating an effective and likable narrator with the fifteen-year-old Eugene. The transitions between his interactions with the other characters and addresses to the audience flowed naturally, providing context and commentary whenever necessary. His good-natured sense of humour as he recounts the difficulties of growing up in a large family during the great depression coupled with the struggles of a teenage boy going through puberty made me genuinely interested in what he had to say. Even the weird parts about "lusting" after his cousin Nora didn't seem so awkward because of his innocence and charm, which made what could have otherwise been uncomfortable, harmless and entertaining. That is not to say that it supported the idea of incest because it wasn't serious. It was just another strange but harmless side effect that comes with puberty. This is another tip of the hat to the playwright's ability to create a strong, believable character. Also particularly effective were his transitions between the little scenes that take place simultaneously in different parts of the house. Sometimes, in plays where several interactions happen on stage the same time, and the focus shifts between them, the pauses between the conversations feel awkward and unnatural (especially for the actors). This indicates that the playwright hasn't considered how his play might work on stage. Simon, however, was able to fill those transitions in a way that felt very smooth, and left me with the impression that he really understood how to craft a good stage play. I look forward to reading more of his work and also seeing a live production of "Brighton Beach Memoirs."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I recently started playing this Trivial Pursuit board game from like 1983 with my family and kept getting my ass whipped on the questions about Neil Simon. I had never heard of him, but my parents clearly had and knew all of his movies and plays and it was becoming a serious crutch...and his name kept showing up! Anyway, I'm trying to catch up to get some wins in the entertainment category, plus I really enjoy reading plays and hadn't in a while, so I picked up a collected works from the library I recently started playing this Trivial Pursuit board game from like 1983 with my family and kept getting my ass whipped on the questions about Neil Simon. I had never heard of him, but my parents clearly had and knew all of his movies and plays and it was becoming a serious crutch...and his name kept showing up! Anyway, I'm trying to catch up to get some wins in the entertainment category, plus I really enjoy reading plays and hadn't in a while, so I picked up a collected works from the library. It ended up only being like volume III of his collected works and didn't even have the play I was looking for ("The Sunshine Boys"), but did have a version of the Odd Couple and all three of the Eugene Trilogy, so I'm diving into that. This is the first of three plays in the trilogy. Based on name alone, I figure we'll be following Eugene through different stages in his youth. Brighton Beach Memoirs begins with a 15 year old Eugene who is obsessed with baseball and prepubescent horniness. His family is part of a poor Jewish community in New York City and they recently took in his Aunt Blanche and her two daughters after her husband passed away. Eugene is always getting yelled at and clowned on by everybody in the family. He's also always talking to audience like Woody Allen, "get a load of my mother, I can't believe this!" Really it was a pretty good family drama with a lot of jokes. I'm looking forward to reading the other two and maybe building my love for this first one. I would say it's a little inconsequential with quick created and resolved conflicts and an obvious but still quickly spelled out thesis of the suffering faced by all and the preservation of dignity throughout. On to da next one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nolan

    In these days when unhappy families are the main course in lots of what we read and watch, it’s wonderful to step back a bit and peek in on a family that, while it had its moments, was made up of members who clearly loved one another and who would unite to take on a harsh and increasingly uncertain world. Eugene Jerome fantasizes about lots of things. His 15-year-old mind is fertile indeed. He is, in his mind, the world’s greatest baseball player. Ah, and he’s a Casanova of the first order. Probl In these days when unhappy families are the main course in lots of what we read and watch, it’s wonderful to step back a bit and peek in on a family that, while it had its moments, was made up of members who clearly loved one another and who would unite to take on a harsh and increasingly uncertain world. Eugene Jerome fantasizes about lots of things. His 15-year-old mind is fertile indeed. He is, in his mind, the world’s greatest baseball player. Ah, and he’s a Casanova of the first order. Problem is, the girl to whom he is wildly attracted his is 16-year-old cousin. It’s up to his older brother to help him deal with that and so much more. Like so many Brighton Beach families of the time, the Jerome family is barely making it. They depend on every dollar that comes into the house, and so fragile is their familial economy that the loss of even a few bucks can be catastrophic. But this is far from being a gloom-and-doom book. Through all the struggle and deprivation, this family holds fast to love and humor. Simon’s dialogue is redolent with nostalgia and charm. You will agonize with Eugene’s parents over where the money is coming from that feeds the family; you’ll laugh out loud at some of Eugene’s adolescent thought processes. But above all, you’ll revel in the optimism and love that ultimately shines forth here. I managed this at 3x over a leisurely evening meal. The narration is so excellent I almost wonder whether the narrator has had experience with the play. Considering who narrates it, I may not be all that far afield in my speculation.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Just finished reading “BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS” by NEIL SIMON. I read this book while listening to the audible version narrated by Valerie Harper, Jonathan Silverman, and full cast. This book is a play about Eugene Jerome and his family, fighting the hard times and sometimes each other—with laughter, tears, and love. It is 1937 in Brooklyn during the heart of the Depression. Fifteen-year-old Eugene Jerome lives in Brighton Beach with his family. He is witty, perceptive, obsessed with sex, and for Just finished reading “BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS” by NEIL SIMON. I read this book while listening to the audible version narrated by Valerie Harper, Jonathan Silverman, and full cast. This book is a play about Eugene Jerome and his family, fighting the hard times and sometimes each other—with laughter, tears, and love. It is 1937 in Brooklyn during the heart of the Depression. Fifteen-year-old Eugene Jerome lives in Brighton Beach with his family. He is witty, perceptive, obsessed with sex, and forever fantasizing his baseball-diamond triumphs as star pitcher for the New York Yankees. As our guide through his "memoirs," Eugene takes us through a series of trenchant observations and insights that show his family meeting life's challenges with pride, spirit, and a marvelous sense of humor. But as World War II looms ever closer, Eugene sees his own innocence slipping away as the first important era of his life ends—and a new one begins. I have also seen this movie several times and love it. 👍👍👍👍👍

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lexi Goyette

    Brighton Beach Memoirs is very different than the other 2 Neil Simon plays I've read (The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park) and the 2 I've seen (Rumors and California Suite) because it lacks the same sense of farce. The comedic pacing is Simon-esque but the subject matter is much deeper, with higher stakes. It's an emotional roller coaster. That being said, I enjoyed some of the plot elements more than others. The sibling bond is a huge aspect of the play, with Stanley and Eugene at the forefr Brighton Beach Memoirs is very different than the other 2 Neil Simon plays I've read (The Odd Couple and Barefoot in the Park) and the 2 I've seen (Rumors and California Suite) because it lacks the same sense of farce. The comedic pacing is Simon-esque but the subject matter is much deeper, with higher stakes. It's an emotional roller coaster. That being said, I enjoyed some of the plot elements more than others. The sibling bond is a huge aspect of the play, with Stanley and Eugene at the forefront. The brotherly bond was realistic, heartfelt, and entertaining. However, Kate and Blanche's sisterly relationship felt a little forced to me; there was too much exposition, too much stating things, and not enough raw emotion for me. In addition, Laurie and Nora's relationship fell very flat; they had a nice scene together at the beginning but it never came around full circle. The male characters in this play are much more dynamic, multi-dimensional, and interesting than the female characters. To me, that was a big drawback. The setting of this play, in pre-WWII Brooklyn, was unexpected from Simon and his usual antics. The looming fear of WWII's arrival creates a sense of discomfort at the otherwise typical comedic ending. As a whole, I enjoyed this play, but it's not one that will stick with me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Dambro

    I am simply astonished by this play. I listened to the audiobook version, so it took longer than it should have. But the last 30 minutes I listened on the verge of tears. It took me back to my childhood in the 50s. The truth of family and lost chances and forgiveness strikes one in the face. Sons and fathers and mothers and daughters fight and draw apart and come back together. God's grace has something to do with it. Mere humans could not manage it on their own. Neil Simon understood that. The I am simply astonished by this play. I listened to the audiobook version, so it took longer than it should have. But the last 30 minutes I listened on the verge of tears. It took me back to my childhood in the 50s. The truth of family and lost chances and forgiveness strikes one in the face. Sons and fathers and mothers and daughters fight and draw apart and come back together. God's grace has something to do with it. Mere humans could not manage it on their own. Neil Simon understood that. The one great truth is that family members die, but the family goes on.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Journee

    There isn't much I can say besides this play is an amazingly truthful and hilarious look at a Jewish-American family in dire straits during the start of World War II that begins and ends with thought out quips and a sense of belonging. Neil Simon was an incredible playwright, I wish I had discovered him sooner. Its first presentation starred Matthew Broderick as Eugene which is the main character/narrator of the play and it is such a perfect fit, honestly, I enjoyed visualizing him in the role. There isn't much I can say besides this play is an amazingly truthful and hilarious look at a Jewish-American family in dire straits during the start of World War II that begins and ends with thought out quips and a sense of belonging. Neil Simon was an incredible playwright, I wish I had discovered him sooner. Its first presentation starred Matthew Broderick as Eugene which is the main character/narrator of the play and it is such a perfect fit, honestly, I enjoyed visualizing him in the role.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I visited Brighton Beach for two-and-a-half days last month and I want to start writing my own memoir. I decided to check out Neil Simon's work to get my own ideas and all I can say is, now I wish I spent time chatting with the locals. Brighton Beach is 95% Russian now and most of the stores are in Russian. This play takes place during the Great Depression, before World War II started. It's a great history to explain the area now. This doesn't have to do with the play; the play had me laughing, I visited Brighton Beach for two-and-a-half days last month and I want to start writing my own memoir. I decided to check out Neil Simon's work to get my own ideas and all I can say is, now I wish I spent time chatting with the locals. Brighton Beach is 95% Russian now and most of the stores are in Russian. This play takes place during the Great Depression, before World War II started. It's a great history to explain the area now. This doesn't have to do with the play; the play had me laughing, crying, and everything in between.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul LaFontaine

    The first play of the Eugene Trilogy, the Jerome family tries to navigate their close proximity, frustrated dreams and hard economic times. Though I am not a fan of plays where family members yell at each other throughout the performance, Neil Simon's tight writing and clarity of characterization is captivating. This play for me is the writers crafter overcoming an unappealing plot. Recommend. The first play of the Eugene Trilogy, the Jerome family tries to navigate their close proximity, frustrated dreams and hard economic times. Though I am not a fan of plays where family members yell at each other throughout the performance, Neil Simon's tight writing and clarity of characterization is captivating. This play for me is the writers crafter overcoming an unappealing plot. Recommend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    I listened to the audiobook—it’s only 3 hours, has noticeable actors, and incorporates sound effects. I’ve never seen the play, but I think the screenplay is well done. I initially thought it was trying too hard to fill the Jewish New York immigrant family in the 1930s mold (lots of family members living together and chaos in the home). However, it grew on me with the commentary on family, relationships, coming of age, and impending war. Plus, the jokes get better...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Davis

    OMG. So, I began this book after catching a bit of Biloxi Blues' movie adaptation on TV. It was then I knew I had to read Biloxi Blues, but that meant I had to read what came before it: Brighton Beach Memoirs. WHAT AN AMAZING PLAY!!! It's so out there for its time (which I suppose is arguable but shhh), I loved every bit of it, so yeah, I don't know. It was a great read for my first play and I laughed throughout it! OMG. So, I began this book after catching a bit of Biloxi Blues' movie adaptation on TV. It was then I knew I had to read Biloxi Blues, but that meant I had to read what came before it: Brighton Beach Memoirs. WHAT AN AMAZING PLAY!!! It's so out there for its time (which I suppose is arguable but shhh), I loved every bit of it, so yeah, I don't know. It was a great read for my first play and I laughed throughout it!

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