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Overlay: A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas (Memoirs of Marlayna Glynn Brown) [Kindle Edition]

Marlayna Glynn Brown
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (395 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Set in glamorous 1970s Las Vegas, OVERLAY is the fighting-to-come-of-age story of a resilient child born into an ongoing cycle of alcoholism and abandonment. Marlayna develops a powerful sense of self-preservation in contrast to the fallen adults entrusted with her care. Her profound story explores the characters and events populating her life as she moves from home to home, parent to parent, family to family, ultimately becoming homeless at the age of fourteen.

Out of the resources of her remarkable childhood emerges an inner strength that will charm and captivate readers and remain in their consciousness long after the last page of her story has been turned.

*2013 Winner of a Next Generation Indie Book Award*

Editorial Reviews


"This may be the very best teenage suicide prevention tool ever created." - David J. Gallant

"Outstanding piece of writing. Recommended for anyone. An unbelievable story, well written, really a classic young teen novel. Recommended highly."- Janis Moorhouse

"One pitfall that Brown avoids is that lugubrious pit of self-pity that taint so many memoirs of similar life conditions." Grady Harp - Vine Voice

"The language of gambling makes an interesting and recurrent motif throughout this memoir, asserting that it is only by chance that any one of us could have traveled this very same road. Decks are shuffled, hands are played. An ultimately uplifting, beautifully written, and inspiring memoir." - Fiona Edmonds

"I have read all three books by Marlayna Glynn Brown and will say they are the best books I have read. I highly recommend her books if one is interested in the cold, hard truth of so many kids these days." Jean Malik

"One notable writer said a miserable childhood is an author's gold mine. Marlayna comes from the motor lode of miserable childhoods and she has spun an exceptional narrative from her nightmare." R. Vincent

From the Author

Thank you for reading the first volume in my memoir series.
First, this story is true - every bit of it. Some doubt that one child could experience so much drama-trauma and survive. The message I wish to share is that it is not only possible to survive, but it's possible to thrive and design a highly productive life. There are many thrivers like me among you, I promise.
Creating Overlay was moving, purifying, horrifying, challenging and ultimately cleansing, as you might understand once you've read the story through to the end. There are chapters which describe events I had never told another person. There are chapters not in the book because early readers told me the book was 'too dark' and 'overwhelming.' I condensed Overlay to include highlights of patterns and lightened it up a bit so future readers would be more comfortable. 
Many readers are surprised that I have forgiven my mother. Forgiveness was a natural and inevitable result from the creation of Overlay. In recording the stories of people and events from my childhood, I eventually came to realize that my mother did her best. Perhaps she didn't do my best, or your best. But she did do her best.
And in the end, isn't that the most we can expect from a person?
As a wise man once said, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent to throw it at another person; you are the one who gets burned."
I dropped that coal. And that is when Life began.
Thank you for sharing my life with me.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2823 KB
  • Print Length: 413 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1475200358
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Bawer House Artisanal Publishing (January 16, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007IKDI0Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,797 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
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 managed to navigate this world as an adult when she essentially had to learn it all on her own. How did those childhood experiences shape her as she entered her 20s, 30s...? I guess that is a testament to the author: That I was left with wanting more, and was sad when the story ended.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She acheives what few authors do: making you care April 3, 2012
By Kelly
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I picked up this book, a part of me expected a quick read akin to the reprinting of years of diary entries. What I didn't expect was that within a few pages of the end, I would realize that in what remained of the story there was no way I was going to learn as much of her as I wanted to know.

Some authors are able to help the reader create an emotional connection with the characters they create, and in so doing make the reader somewhat sad at the final turn of the page that their journey with that character has ended. Forevermore these characters linger in our mind's eye, and we imagine that somewhere, in some dimension into which the author was able to give us a glimpse, the character is alive and continuing their journey. Marlayna accomplishes the same feeling of connection with her main character, a fact that is made all the more overwhelming when the reader realizes that her protagonist is not a fictional creation; she is real. And she weaves this story with a humanity that leaves the reader feeling as if the emotions could leap from the pages to underscore particularly poignant observations.

One of the things that make writing a memoir tricky (aside from overcoming the obvious question of "who would care?") is in telling a real life story in such a way that the reader feels as if the journey is shared and extraordinary, but not pedantic. Anyone wanting to know what it is like to navigate the minefield that is poverty and addiction, a task difficult enough for adults, but harder yet for children, needs to read this book. In her uniquely simple, unassuming way Ms. Brown presents her story in a fashion that leaves you with an undeniable urge to invent a time machine just to find her adolescent self, wrap her in a protective embrace and offer a heartfelt promise that "it will all be okay." And you'll mean it when you wish that you could.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting July 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
An easy read, seemed like the child herself was writing. Her lonely life was sad, and also the life of the surrounding children were very sad. I am a few years older than she, and I too had an alcoholic father who left us when I was 6 and the youngest of 4. When my mother had to go on welfare, we finally had fruit and other good food in the house. At least I did have a loving mother who sewed clothes for us and rode the bus everywhere and took us to clinics for our health and once for my teeth. (I too had bad teeth.) I'm glad she has children of her own to finally have a family. I do want to continue to read her next book to see how as an adult, she dealt with men, drinking, smoking, eating habits, and bringing up a family.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable Memoir January 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was hooked right away on this book. I truly could not put it down. It is a memoir about the author's life from ages 4-17. It was hard to hear of her struggles, especially knowing there are so many children with similar experiences. Her strength was very inspiring and would help others with similar struggles. I did not agree with her statement at the end that she takes responsibility for her actions. It felt as though she was putting part blame on herself which I didn't understand. She was a victim of her circumstances but she handled it the best that she could. Children in those situations have no choices-just survival.
I will definitely be reading her next book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Abhor Alcoholism, Abuse, but most of all Abandonment September 16, 2013
By Soozy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed, if that is a relative word to use in this tragic child alcohol, abuse and abandonment book. The very fact that Marlayna rose above the disease and destruction of her life and the lives around her is astounding to me. I grew up with an alcoholic father then went on to marry an alcoholic, so I know the drill although not to your extent. I'm 63 years old and after all these years Marlayna made me realize that all my life I unwittingly put up with relationships and tried to fix relationships that I should have cut from the get go! My marriage (now divorce) produced 4 wonderful grown children although one is now unfortunately an alcoholic. However the relationships I'm talking about are ones that were before my marriage. Alcoholism, the disease, takes us all down! So Marlayna, I thank you, in my golden years, for opening my eyes to a fact I should have realized long ago. You are a survivor. I am too. Thank you for sharing your story, and I'm so terribly sorry that "the bottle" meant more to your parents than you did. But you are who you are today because of it. God bless. Great read.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Edited May 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Marlayna's story is captivating. I stayed up way too late just to find out what would happen next. She is a gifted storyteller. However, the book itself is poorly edited. Glaring grammatical errors, misspelled words, and mixed up character names are found throughout the book. They distracted me from enjoying the story. Ms. Brown is a gifted writer. She needs a better editor!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific
Very well done biography by a true survivor. I can't wait to read part 2.
Brown has the ability of truth telling without self pity.
Published 2 hours ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Life Means Interesting Story
A hard story to read. I cannot abide child abuse or neglect so I found this story hard to read. The story was well written and carried a lot of buried anger and sorrow. Read more
Published 6 hours ago by B. Wolfsong
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart wrenching
I couldn't put this book down. There are a few errors that an editor should have caught, but they did not come close to taking a single thing away from this story of stark... Read more
Published 21 hours ago by LuAnn Ragge
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read leaving the reader with many feelings of mixed ...
A good read leaving the reader with many feelings of mixed emotions. Within each chapter, my heart just poured out for Marlayna.
Published 3 days ago by Kim Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Growing up in the 70's
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was heartbreaking to say the least. How could one little girl go through so much and have no one to love or take care of her? Read more
Published 3 days ago by alice
4.0 out of 5 stars amazing book
For someone to have such an adverse beginning, she has certainly overcome many obstacles in her life. I am anxious to read city of Angeles
Published 3 days ago by Libby Shrout
4.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was able to identify with the ...
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was able to identify with the character. Sorry to say, the author is not alone in growing up in abusive relationships. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Geraldine A.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I couldn't put it down. Very well written
Published 4 days ago by Elena McRaven
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlay
Couldn't put it down. Couldn't believe what I was reading. Her strength is remarkable. She turned out better than most who grew up having more. I admire her tenacity for life. Read more
Published 5 days ago by sassystuff
5.0 out of 5 stars Very intriguing
I found I kept want ting pick this book up again to see what happened to Marlayna. I recommend it.
Published 6 days ago by jblmom
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More About the Author

Marlayna Glynn Brown is a best selling American author, speaker and award winning photographer. Immediately upon publication, Marlayna's first memoir, Overlay: A Tale of One Girl's Life in 1970s Las Vegas, became one of the highest rated author memoirs on Amazon.

Subsequent publications include City of Angeles, Big as All Hell And Half of Texas, The Trilogy, Rest In Places: My Father's Post Life Journey Around The World and The Scattering of All: Tales From Extraordinary Survivors of Suicide Loss.

Marlayna's award winning photography includes subjects in more than 25 countries. Her short film, People That do Something can be viewed on Marlayna's Youtube channel.

To learn more please visit

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