Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hats & Eyeglasses

Today I'm interviewing Martha Frankel about her new memoir "Hats & Eyeglasses - A Family Love Affair with Gambling". It was just published on February 14th but has already garnered great reviews, like:

"The thrill of the chase -- or rather, the chase of the thrill -- powers "Hats and Eyeglasses," a fast-paced and amazingly funny memoir by Martha Frankel. Even those of us who scoff at card games will gain a new understanding of the joys of poker, and if you belong to a weekly poker group, well, beware of Internet enticements." Times-Picayune

"A frank and unaffected memoir" Publishers Weekly

What I liked about this book was how Martha connects her growing up years to her adult life under the magnifying lens of poker. She writes of poker games in her house with her dad, known as The Pencil because he was an accountant, learning the ins and outs of poker. Later, when she comes back to poker as an adult, she comes to realize how life changed after her father died and the poker games at her house stopped happening. Learning to play with her cousin and the guys in the neighborhood brings her back to that loving house she remembered from when her dad was still alive.

Not to say that Martha's mom doesn't play a big role in "Hats & Eyeglasses". Martha's mom cheers her daughter on from the sidelines with shrewd advice all along the way.

The most fascinating part of this book is Martha's addiction to gambling. It's not the friendly poker games or casinos or gambling cruises that pull her into the underbelly - it's online gambling that does it in the end.

It's fascinating - the concept of what is addiction in this context.....she still plays poker now, but not online poker. What is an addiction? Do you have to completely abstain to get the monkey off your back? what monkey?

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