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Centered on dead-on perceptions of the swirling needs, poses and cruelties of her family, Lederer's debut memoir is less Positively Fifth Street than an alienated New England version of The Liar's Club, and ends up with some of the best of both. Poet Lederer (Winter Sex) winningly tracks her siblings' improbable metamorphosis from New Hampshire private school faculty brats (and occasional degenerates) to world-class card sharks at the Las Vegas poker tables. (The transformation of Katy's father Richard Lederer from quiescent teacher to celebrated author of Anguished English and other language puzzle books happens mostly off-camera.) After parsing the class codes (and anti-Semitism) of her rich peers, young Katy becomes curious about her siblings' mysterious, money-laden reinventions of themselves, eventually following her brother, Howard (with their recovered alcoholic mother keeping his bettor's books), and sister, Annie, to Sin City to stake her own claim. There aren't enough of Lederer's blow-by-blows of learning to play among hardcore pros, tourists and "compulsives," but her descriptive gifts are on display throughout, even in the "ultragibbous" eyes of one of her brother's sports bettor clients. Totaling up her experiences at the $3-$6 tables, Katy chooses writing over poker, but while studying poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, her mother and older siblings' massive accumulation of wealth disappears overnight, with jail looming. Despite loose structuring and too many sketchily detailed events, Lederer hones in on the family's complex relationship to games, money and one another and their efforts to direct the ebb and flow of all three, and will convince even the abstemious of gambling's deep power to alter relationships.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The youngest of three children, Katy lived with her family in the dormitory of the East Coast boarding school where her father taught English--her modest circumstances contrasting vividly with the other students' old money. During Katy's younger years, her mother drank, her brother policed the liquor cabinet, her sister stole from their mother's pocketbook, and her father did his best to keep up appearances. When Katy was nine, her brother, Howard, took off for New York to become a "professional" gambler, living in sleazy hotels and supporting himself in backroom poker games. Soon after, her mother, now sober, joined her son. While in high school, Katy visited both of them regularly, intrigued by their bohemian lifestyle and cautiously eager to learn Howard's craft. As an English major at Berkeley, Katy goes a different direction, but she reverses course and winds up in Las Vegas, mastering the art of poker at her brother's knee. Like James McManus' recent Positively Fifth Street [BKL F 15 03], about the World Series of Poker, this offbeat memoir will attract both gamblers and literary types. Mary Frances Wilkens
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but lost some interest in the middle and then lost complete interest at the end. Read morePublished on August 29, 2011 by Poker777Face
Well written account of a young lady's perception of her family. I hope she writes more books!Published on August 27, 2010 by bonobuddy
In its complete lack of navel gazing or self-pity, this brief memoir refreshes. In the book's opening, Katy is the much younger sibling of young adults, her Dad a noted scholar and... Read morePublished on February 20, 2010 by CGombar
The best thing about this book is that it is a quick read especially when you start glossing over the mundane noncrisises in her life. Read morePublished on August 3, 2009 by S. W. Baker
I love poker, and I've always been fascinated by people who decide to play for a living. That's just what just about everyone in Katy Lederer's family did, and one day Katy decides... Read morePublished on May 19, 2009 by Louis
Utter crap. Not interesting, not worthy of print. This memoir was not written in courage and truth. Everyone in the book is careful, predictable and boring. Read morePublished on May 2, 2009 by rc
Having grown up with the author and knew her father - I don't feel her father was accurately portrayed. Read morePublished on August 13, 2008 by Jennifer
This book does not deal the reader a full hand. It tantalizes and teases the reader into thinking that there is something of substance, ultimately failing to deliver anything other... Read morePublished on February 5, 2006 by lawyeraau
Katy, thank you so much for writing this book. I found it extremely interesting and enjoyable. I thought it was really interesting to see Howard and Annie's progression from... Read morePublished on October 14, 2004 by desertsun