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Jay has had a very diverse background. He worked his way through college as a psych. tech. inside the locked units of 2 psychiatric hospitals. He has been a Los Angeles County probation officer as well as a bouncer in a Country & Western nightclub. Jay received his Master's Degree in Psychology.
In 1993 Jay was hired as the doorman at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas. His shift was from 7 pm to 3 am. Under The Neon Sky, is the winner of three national and international book awards.
on Nov. 28, 2011 :
After sitting a day to write the review, I am still on the fence for this one. From one side of the fence, there were a crazy amount of curse words and the language was very crass. But the other side of the fence - this book provided an awesome insider's view of the city that many wish to visit for one reason or another.
A doorman for the largest hotel in Las Vegas that within it are held the biggest boxing matches on the same nights of concerts, shows and more. A huge job that at times can be downright overwhelming partly because you are dealing with the public the entire time. I felt for him at his job where his supervisors were conniving and his co workers were deceitful. From his work life to his home life, he was surrounded with destruction. But I wonder and I think he wondered if it was all due to living in Las Vegas?
An entertaining story that due to my being in Vegas for a quick work trip helped me see a different view of the city that maybe vacationers don't want to admit to seeing while they are in town. When I go back to vacation, I will definitely have this book in the back of my mind with questions about how well the employees are being treated in such a harsh atmosphere.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Nov. 14, 2011 :
Under The Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story by Jay Rankin gives us a candid look into working in one of the largest hotels in Las Vegas – the MGM. What goes on behind the scenes? People work very hard to make Las Vegas a tourist attraction, focusing on the fun that one can have in Vegas. The bright and shining neon lights. The shows and performances. Not to mention that fun to be had at Casinos. But in today’s society so many people are focused on their own paths, not paying attention to their surroundings, that it is easy to miss the things that are happening right in front of you.
Mr. Rankin shares his experiences with the reader and allows us to feel what being that environment is like. So many events and emotions are told, not all positive, and it really opened my eyes to Las Vegas. It amazes me about the behavior some people exhibit in public places. Getting a job that tons of people strive to get isn’t always the best way to go. The pay received per night may be worth it, but Jay’s story reminds us that sometimes your personal life and emotional state may suffer the consequences.
If you are interested in visiting Las Vegas, I would suggest you read Under The Neon Sky: A Las Vegas Doorman’s Story as a way to prepare yourself for the adventure you will be embarking on.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Nov. 06, 2011 :
Las Vegas is a city where anything goes. The stories about things that happen there are legendary. It's not known as Sin City for nothing. The large hotels of Vegas are cities unto themselves, hiring tons of staff to run everything as smoothly as possible. Some of the first people visitors see at the hotels are the doormen. They are considered the "ambassadors" for the hotel. For six years, Jay Rankin was one of them. A doorman at the MGM Grand, Jay worked an overnight shift that marked some of the busiest times for the hotel doormen. While working as a doorman, Jay saw a little bit of everything. At work and at home, he soon discovered that Vegas was a city that could get under your skin in numerous ways. While the money was good, everything around him seemed to be falling apart. He would be forced to choose between Vegas and his life, but that is not as easy a decision as it may seem.
I was immediately drawn into this book. It will reaffirm the truth in almost every crazy story you've heard about Vegas and then some. I found the structure of the hotel system fascinating. They really are their own little cities. There are so many people involved in making your visit to Vegas smooth for you, and some of them are definitely characters. However, they are almost always written about with great affection. You can feel that despite everything that happened, the author still has a great love for the people and the city itself. There are some crazy stories about things that happened there. Of course, the wildest night is the one that changes everything for Jay Rankin, the infamous Tyson vs. Holyfield match. Yes, the ear biting one. As he begins to see just what Vegas can do to you, Jay has to make some tough decisions.
Despite all the interesting stories, there are a lot of dark aspects to this story. Jay watches as several friends make horrible decisions that get them into even worse positions in life. While he struggles to try and find ways to help them, there is only so much he can do. Even worse is watching Jay's marriage and life spiral out of control. It seems like the more success he has at work. the worse things get at home. Luckily Jay had enough presence of mind to know when it was time for a change. Unfortunately many people he knew did not.
I really enjoyed this book. It is a very quick read. It also really made me think. When there is so much craziness around you, is it really possible to keep your balance? At first it seems entirely possible, but as the book goes on you see that maybe this is not doable after all. This book will be of great interest to people who are interested in Las Vegas or just interested in all the wild things that can happen there. And after reading about so many lives falling apart, the ending gives just a bit of hope that some people can escape the insanity.
Book provided for review.
(reviewed long after purchase)