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1 Burnside MEMOIR- WELLNESS

The Bookmaker: A Memoir of Money, Luck, and Family from the Utopian Outskirts of New York City

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The Bookmaker: A Memoir of Money, Luck, and Family from the Utopian Outskirts of New York City Cover

ISBN13: 9780061151392
ISBN10: 0061151394
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Marking the debut of a gifted new writer, The Bookmaker teems with humanity, empathy, humor, and insight.

At the heart of Michael J. Agovino's powerful, layered memoir is his family's struggle for success in 1970s, '80s, and '90s New York City—and his father's gambling, which brought them to exhilarating highs and crushing lows. He vividly brings to life the Bronx, a place of texture and nuance, of resignation but also of triumph.

The son of a buttoned-up union man who moonlighted as a gentleman bookmaker and gambler, Agovino grew up in the Bronx's Co-op City, the largest and most ambitious state-sponsored housing development in U.S. history. When it opened, it landed on the front page of The New York Times and in Time magazine, which described it as "relentlessly ugly."

Agovino's Italian American father was determined not to let his modest income and lack of a college education define him, and was dogged in his pursuit of the finer things in life. When the point spreads were on his side, he brought his family to places he only dreamed about in his favorite books and films: the Uffizi, the Tate, the Rijksmuseum; St. Peter's, Chartres, Teotihuacán. With bad luck came shouting matches, unpaid bills, and eviction notices.

The Bookmaker is both a bold, loving portrait of a family and their metropolis and an intimate look into some of the most turbulent decades of New York City. In elegant and soaring prose, it transcends the personal to illuminate the ways in which class distinctions shaped America in the last half of the twentieth century.

Review:

"In the 1960s, the author's parents seemed poised to join the exodus of Italian-American families from New York to the suburbs. Instead, thanks to the chronic gambling debts of his father, Hugo, a city welfare bureaucrat who ran an illicit sports-betting operation on the side, they wound up in the Bronx — at the vast Coop City housing project that became a watchword for urban anomie. Ignoring overdue bills and eviction notices, his parents insisted the family partake of the finer things — books, museums, opera, European vacations — all financed by bad checks and fast talking. Journalist Agovino, with an apparently verbatim recall of long, colorful conversations from decades past, paints a loving, picaresque portrait of his youth and the tension between his mother's yearning for middle-class stability and his father's faith in the big score. He sets it amid an elegy for a white, ethnic New York — the old-country foods, the lovable wise guys — that expired in Coop City's windswept Le Corbusierian sterility. Unfortunately, the author's family seems more eccentric than iconic, and Agovino's narrative, meandering from Caribbean travelogue to summer food-service jobs, doesn't impart much shape to their sociocultural journey. Photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Agovino has written for The New York Times, Esquire and GQ, and this memoir covers both his upbringing in one of the most ambitious housing projects in New York and his father's attempts to expose his family to the finer things in life. Written for general readers, this book uses an episodic format to reveal the author's feelings about such landmarks as the Plaza Hotel, Shea Stadium, Madison Square Garden and Pennsylvania Station as well as his father's ambitions while living in Co-op City. The family's travels to such places as the Uffizi, the Tate and St. Peter are also described in detail. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Recalling "The Tender Bar, The Bookmaker" is a memoir of sons, a gambling father, and the ups and downs of life in the Bronx during the 1970s.

About the Author

Michael J. Agovino has written for a wide range of publications and online sites, including The New York Times, Esquire, GQ, Salon, Elle, and The New York Observer.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

dcontid, November 7, 2008 (view all comments by dcontid)
Great memoir-funny, touching and smart. I highly recommend it, even if you're not an Italian American from New York.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780061151392
Subtitle:
A Memoir of Money, Luck, and Family from the Utopian Outskirts of New York City
Author:
Agovino, Michael
Author:
by Michael Agovino
Author:
Agovino, Michael J.
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Gambling - General
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
Family Relationships
Subject:
Bronx (new york, n.y.)
Subject:
Bronx (New York, N.Y.) Social conditions.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20080819
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.27222 in 22.16 oz

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Memoirs
History and Social Science » Americana » New England and Mid Atlantic
History and Social Science » Americana » Northeast
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Bookmaker: A Memoir of Money, Luck, and Family from the Utopian Outskirts of New York City Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Harper - English 9780061151392 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In the 1960s, the author's parents seemed poised to join the exodus of Italian-American families from New York to the suburbs. Instead, thanks to the chronic gambling debts of his father, Hugo, a city welfare bureaucrat who ran an illicit sports-betting operation on the side, they wound up in the Bronx — at the vast Coop City housing project that became a watchword for urban anomie. Ignoring overdue bills and eviction notices, his parents insisted the family partake of the finer things — books, museums, opera, European vacations — all financed by bad checks and fast talking. Journalist Agovino, with an apparently verbatim recall of long, colorful conversations from decades past, paints a loving, picaresque portrait of his youth and the tension between his mother's yearning for middle-class stability and his father's faith in the big score. He sets it amid an elegy for a white, ethnic New York — the old-country foods, the lovable wise guys — that expired in Coop City's windswept Le Corbusierian sterility. Unfortunately, the author's family seems more eccentric than iconic, and Agovino's narrative, meandering from Caribbean travelogue to summer food-service jobs, doesn't impart much shape to their sociocultural journey. Photos. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Recalling "The Tender Bar, The Bookmaker" is a memoir of sons, a gambling father, and the ups and downs of life in the Bronx during the 1970s.
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