Buy Used
$4.95
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: The pages are in "like-new" condition and the cover is in "very good" condition. Qualifies for FREE 2-Day Shipping / Item Shipped Directly From Amazon / Sold by a Family Owned Business
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Balling the Jack: A Novel Paperback – July 28, 1998


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$5.92 $0.01

Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd
The strong-minded Bathsheba Everdene—and the devoted shepherd, obsessed farmer and dashing soldier who vie for her favor—move through a beautifully realized late 19th-century countryside, still almost untouched by the encroachment of modern life. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release a movie version of Far from the Madding Crowd May 1st. Learn more
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (July 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684845814
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684845814
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,000,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"Betting all you have cleans the system," says young Wall Street paralegal Tom Reasons as he hands over $400 of his weekly $447 paycheck to his bookie, Toadie, in bets on baseball games. But it's the low-profile sport of darts that gets Tom into real trouble, in this raucous, raunchy thriller. When he loses $40,000 on the toss of a feathered sliver of steel, Tom has to outsmart Mafia loan sharks to stay in one piece. Along the way, Frank Baldwin manages to tap into the energy of ambitious, amoral, and frighteningly fascinating 20-somethings. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

"Balling the Jack"?to risk everything on one attempt?is exactly what Tom Reasons is doing in Baldwin's exciting debut novel about life in the fast lane. Tom's work as a paralegal in a prestigious Wall Street firm is not a career but a means of earning betting money. He thrives on the adrenaline rush of risk-taking and turns a blind eye to duty. Then he risks everything on a wager that changes his existence and shows him a darker side of the "high life" that is more than he bargained for. Baldwin is gifted at exposing Tom's character. Simultaneously showing his irresponsibility and his subtle compassion, he makes it easy to like Tom, although we never really understand his motives. Readers will enjoy the fast-paced story and the thrilling, unpredictable ending. Baldwin is working on the screenplay for this work. Recommended for most contemporary fiction collections.?Stacey Reasor, ITT Technical Inst. Lib., Tampa, Fla.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
70%
4 star
15%
3 star
15%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 20 customer reviews
This novel is harmless fun; good airline or beach read.
Scott Swindle
Another problem with the novel is that Reasons isn't all that sympathetic or likable.
Matthew Budman
A smile...a giggle maybe...but rarely does a book make me laugh out loud.
Jana McBurney-Lin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is incredible. I've heard a lot of people complain that the book is shallow, but come on, that's real life. Tom Reasons, the lead guy, is more human than many of the "deep" characters that you read about. Sure, he drinks a lot, he objectifies women, he gambles, and he doesn't do anything of any worth, but doesn't that describe us all? This character is truer to most guys I know than any I have ever read. If you're looking for deep symbolic meaning and extended metaphors look elsewhere. If you're looking for a real-life character in a great plot, without a ton of pretentious attitude this is your book. If you're not buying this book you're sitting in your beret, discussing existentialism, and reading books by Hume and Foucault that you really don't understand. Tom Reasons is the True american male.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Justin Warnick (juwarnic@vt.edu) on October 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
While I often find it hard to laugh out loud at a novel, Frank Baldwin manages to get me to crack on numerous occasions with his first novel. While reading the philosophy espoused by the main character, Tom Reasons, I found it hard not to laugh. I highly reccomend this book to anyone in need of the best medicine.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Balling the Jack" is a perfect example of a light, summer read. The novel is fast-paced, thick with interconected plot lines, and it just feels real. Perhaps the greatest thing about the book is the sympathy we feel for the main character even though he is a perpetual loser who does it to himself. "Balling the Jack" won't win any awards or praise for its depth or importance in the world of literature, and I'm sure it won't end up in any University's canon anytime soon, but that is what makes it such great fun. The book doesn't take itself to seriously. It is funny, it is moving, it paints a very real picture of a young single man's life in NYC. Speaking of which, the setting is marvelously handled as are the supporting characters including various bar owners, dart buddies, and girlfriends. All of the supporting characters are given enough depth to make them round, but none is given so much weight that they distract from the main character. Despite all of the exciting window dressing, this book really boils down to a story of a young, single man coming to terms with his own immaturity. Balling the Jack is a fantastic read and the kind of book you will want to lend to your friends. As my friend did for me. That being said, I definitely think that men will enjoy this book more than women. It is certainly a "guy" story, but I think both genders will get a good, fun read out of Balling the Jack. Hopefully, Frank Baldwin will get another book out to us very soon. By the way, toward the end there is a great moment between Shakespeare and Keats. You have to read it to believe it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By james hughes on January 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
difficult to believe people on this page are actually comparing baldwin to jay mcinerney. baldwin is a gallant trier, and that's no sneer, but he's not in mcinerney's league, let alone bracket. baldwin's style is unadventurous, his dialogue usually false, his gags usually telegraphed and his editor usually lazy - every third sentence is flab (might have been intentional to make the voice offhanded). none of which means this isn't a cool first novel. baldwin is charged up and for that he's to be welcomed. nice to see a book about people who like a good time - the odd scene really does smoke. but to all you swooners: some perspective, please. if you're looking for fast lane fiction try nettie jones' "fish tales" or richard price's "ladies man", both set in 70's nyc. or mcinerney's "story of my life". or jimmy carroll's "basketball diaries". or australia's justine ettler or andrew mcgahan or christos tsouslakis. try walter teavis's "the hustler".
frank baldwin's done okay here but his editor let him down. and his 'irish' characters don't seem authentic, not even remotely. the character 'duggan' is a half baked cartoon. in short, the book lacks grit. it aint ever dark. show me the ghosts that come for a person's soul, even if only for a glimpse.
weird thing is, somehow i dug 'balling the jack'. narrator tom reasons is like a kelpie at your heels. fiction needs vigour and fiction needs speed and this book does has tons of both. and baldwin's plot has the juice. good luck to him. if he finds an editor sharp enough to sharpen him, he'll gleam.
happy new year all.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
Balling The Jack is the most energetic novel I've read in a long, long time. Baldwin writes in a hip, edgy style that propels the reader forward, making it a fast, fun read. However, its quick pacing doesn't mean that Baldwin doesn't have some important things to say. Balling The Jack (which is slang for risking everything all at once) shows a guy who finds life too safe today and has to go out looking for thrills. He finds it in gambling, and this -- of course -- leads to trouble. There's a definite theme of risk and renewal (Risk and reward, baby. Risk and reward.) that shows there is more to Baldwin's writing than showing a guy night on the town. It's about finding something to believe in during an age of cash machines and less and less human contact. All in all, Balling The Jack is a book for everyone. Men will identify with Tom, and women will find him charming -- even if they don't admit it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.