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Hats & Eyeglasses: A Family Love Affair with Gambling Hardcover – February 14, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (February 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585425583
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585425587
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,324,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A soft-pedaling memoir by journalist Frankel fondly recalls growing up in the Bronx and Queens, N.Y., learning to play poker from her dad and uncles, which would later become her obsession. As a kid Frankel absorbed the numbers-canny ways of her relatives, who doled out gambling advice such as the reference in the title to a ship's sinking, leaving only hats and eyeglasses floating on the surface. With the death of her beloved father, known as the Pencil because he was a CPA, Frankel's big dreams deflated and she largely drifted through school, a first marriage and drug use, before meeting woodworker Steve. She moved to Woodstock, N.Y., and, through friends, began writing celebrity interviews for magazines like Details. An idea for writing a screenplay about a poker player brought her into close contact with her ex-con cousin Keith, who had taught her how to play. From regular Wednesday night poker games with her friend Sal's group of hard-pickled males, where she learned how not to play like a girl, to an all-poker cruise to casinos in Atlantic City, N.J., and L.A., she gravitated to playing online, which enthralled her—and emptied her bank account. As she explains in this frank and unaffected memoir, shame brought her back to her family and closer to her mother. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Martha Frankel . . . proves in her intimate, exuberant memoir that even in the face of a gambling addiction, frank self-appraisal and an armload of hugs can sometimes win the day.”
O, The Oprah Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Martha Frankel has interviewed actors (Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts), writers (Richard Ford, T.C. Boyle), directors (Spike Lee, Nicolas Roeg), musicians (Branford Marsalis, Mariah Carey), gods (Elizabeth Taylor, Robert De Niro), and supposed monsters (Lee Atwater, Mike Tyson). Her work has appeared in magazines as diverse as The New Yorker, Movieline's Hollywood Life, Cosmopolitan, Japanese Vogue [Vogue Nippon], and the original Details. (http://www.marthafrankel.com)

She is the Executive Director of the Woodstock Writers Festival http://woodstockwriters.com

Her memoir, Hats & Eyeglasses, was lauded in the NY Times and called "intimate and exuberant" by Oprah Magazine. Her next book, Brazilian Sexy: Secrets to Living a Gorgeous and Confident Life, co-written with Janea Padilha, teaches women how to finally be comfortable in their own skin (Perigee/Penguin).

She is a winner of a NYFFA Award in creative nonfiction, was the 1997 Philip Morris Fellow at The MacDowell Colony, a fellow at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the 2003 artist-in-residence at SUNY Ulster. Not bad for a college dropout.

She has been an on-air contributor to VH1's Sexiest Movie Moments, Entertainment Tonight, and Inside Edition.

She is the moderator of the Woodstock Film Festival's Actor's Dialogue. Among the people who have participated in these events are Eydie Falco, Steve Buscemi, Olympia Dukakis, Stanley Tucci, Marcia Gay Hardin, and Aidan Quinn.

Frankel has many new books up her sleeve. A few have started to slip out.

http://marthafrankel.com
http://woodstockwriters.com

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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This book is so fun to read.
daisy Bolle
Martha Frankel's "Hats and Eyeglasses" is a skillful work that explores questions about family, obsession, addiction, and love.
G. Moran
Its a great book, and I can't wait to get hooked on her next one..
Cindy Dasilva

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Abbe Aronson on February 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a review copy, so I read it before publication...what a treat! Martha Frankel's amazingly real story of addiction highs and lows, mixed in with her spicy, sexy family trials and tribulations was utterly capitavating to me -- I related some of it to my own Jewish family craziness, while some of it was completely foreign to me (I've never played poker in my life.) But in both instances, I loved the honesty, the narrative, the direct voice, the whole thing! I actually read it in one day, so reluctant was I to put it down and when it was over, I longed for more...Hats off to Martha Frankel!!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Meira Blaustein on February 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
From cover to cover, HATS & EYEGLASSES has got to be one of the most fascinating books I've read in a long long time. At once heartbreaking and entertaining, Martha Frankel's candid tale of growing up to a Jewish family life overflowing with food, gambling, and love, is one that you would not want to miss. Her ultimate downward spiral and eventual personal triumph will hold you captive till the very last page. I truly did laugh and cry, and learned some along the way. At times reminiscent of Damon Runyon, other times of Neil Simon, yet completely her own, Martha Frankel's HATS & EYEGLASSES is the kind of book you can gobble up in one seating, whether you are relaxing somewhere on the beach or sneaking precious private time before work. Read it, its a blast.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sylvia B. Rozzelle on March 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a fun read! You truly appreciate the author's early family life around the poker and mahjong tables and cherish learning about the people who influenced her life. She brings these family members to the reader in such a kind and loving manner. And, when it comes to the Wednesday night poker games she portrays the players so vividly. Anyone who has played regularly around a poker table will truly get a kick out of these chapters. But, when the author reveals her online poker addiction, the reader feels empathy for the author as she "goes it alone". Whether or not you're a gambler, you'll enjoy this book!

Sylvia Rozzelle
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angela Lovell on October 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was shocked when I realized the age of this writer. The book reads as though written by someone very young, lacking wisdom of any kind. And the name dropping (OH, the name dropping!) is so gratuitous that it remains a major turnoff throughout (I could only make it to the halfway point.) You will never read a self-deprecating phrase - she is IN LOVE with herself. And that's great for her. But what makes a good memoir is honesty and grit. This lacks both.

Another thing: I LOVE writers like Mary Gaitskill and I look for REAL life in the books I read and I never shy away from harshness. There are some seriously vulgar moments in here that took me out of the story and, like the name-dropping, served little purpose other than shock value.

As much as I dislike this book I'm sure I'd like its author in person. She has a good sense of humor and spunk. I just think there was a better way to tell this story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Paturel on December 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. I have 4 half read books on my bedside table that I have started and put down and I've only put this one down once. The next time I picked it up was to finish it. I fell in love with her family and friends and even her acquaintances! Such an open, honest and clear look at the spiraling down most of us have done and what an inspirational kick in the ass she gave herself to get back up. Lovely book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nancy E. Nussbaum on August 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
You know that feeling when you're getting to the ending of a book that you are just enjoying so much and just wishing that another chapter or two will mysteriously appear? Well, that's how I felt reading Martha Frankel's Hats and Eyeglasses. Growing up in an Italian family is just too similar as growing up in a Jewish family (as my husband often tells me), so I could just relate to ALL of the family stuff. While I am not a poker player nor a card player, I just adored this wonderful book and look forward to Martha's next masterpiece! Buy this book...you will not regret it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Toni Messina on May 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
From the first chapter to the very end, Martha Frankel's voice is clear, strong, compassionate and funny. I loved reading about her relationship with her mother as much as finally figuring out the intricacies of poker play and how people become addicted.
The prose is down-to-earth and infectious. The last third of the book picks up speek as she describes her on-line dependancy and run-ins with the gamut of people who attend G.A. (gamblers anonymous) groups. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Stein on April 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
SPOILER ALERT - SPOILERS BELOW

This was a concise, funny, well-written memoir about one of my own hobbies (poker). I liked Frankel's writing style, down to earth and honest - most of all, it seems that she sees the humor in pretty much everything. The scenes of her parents and their friends are hilarious and touching, real and surreal (the part about Kevin and the balsamic vinegar had me laughing out loud).

When her gambling developed into an addiction to online poker, I was riveted. Then, I was annoyed (but not surprised) by the response of Gambling Anonymous. Finally, I was glad that Frankel still plays poker in her weekly game. Some people, no doubt, can never gamble again, just like alcoholics can never drink again, but Frankel was only addicted to online gambling. I'm glad she can still enjoy the game in real life.

I will never play online poker for money. Never. Well, maybe to get into the WSOP.
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