The press release, blurb and cover of Everyday Las Vegas: Local Life in a Tourist Town might lead you to expect that this book would reveal what it is really like to live and work in Las Vegas. To a certain extent that is true but only in the broad, academic sense. Most of the book deals with the problems caused by the rapid expansion of the city in recent years. There is a lot of discussion of traffic, far more than some readers may feel is necessary. Other issues revolve around the transient nature of the population and how that affects education, churches, and the sense of community. Water issues and the fear that Las Vegas may run out of it eventually also get attention.
But the book is very academic. There is no real feeling of connection to the people’s daily lives here. I expected interviews with the actual workers. What is it like to work in a casino? What is the day-to-day routine? What is it like to be an entertainer, a showgirl, to work in a pawn shop or convenience store in Las Vegas? How does it feel to be a student? I am sure those people have a lot of stories to tell.
Instead you get mostly dry commentary from teachers about the problems of keeping Las Vegas kids in school, from clergymen about the rewards and problems of ministry (but not with many actual examples) and quotes from politicians and city planners.
There is some interesting information here but very little drama, even when discussing the “Sin City” image and the problems of addiction and gambling. Some personal stories would have been far more interesting than second-hand opinions and statistics.
Another problem with the book is that it was obviously started and then set aside or the author wrote very slowly because most of the photos in the book were taken in 2007 and many of the reports and sources quoted are from that same time period. Since the author emphasizes that Las Vegas is constantly changing, the reader is left to wonder if the photos and facts are still accurate more than six years later.
This book will be most useful for those who live in Las Vegas or the surrounding area or who are thinking about moving there. Those who are merely curious about the city may find it disappointing.
[amazon template=iframe image&chan=default&asin=0874179459]