Hats & Eyeglasses by Martha Frankel

January 14, 2008
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Hats & Eyeglasses
Martha Frankel

Penguin Press
1/14/08
Hardcover/214 pages
ISBN: 1585425583
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". . . a fun and flirty and no-holds-barred tell-it-like-it-was autobiography . . ."

Hats and Eyeglasses : A riveting and often funny love affair with gambling.

Martha Frankel grew up at a time when women wore dresses and furs while hosting weekly parties in their homes. The ladies played Mahjong, the kids sneaked surreptitious sips of their parents mixed drinks, learning about the finer points of gambling while their fathers played poker and other card games.

Such was Martha Frankel’s world and the training ground for her entrée into the world of gambling, a world of fun and excitement and financial ups and downs. Her mother was a bookkeeper and her father a CPA. Martha was a whiz at math, her daddy’s pride and joy. Then her father died, leaving the whole family bereft and lost.

Martha admits her father’s death left her rebellious and at times angry. Mostly she felt mixed up. She careens from impoverished college student to marriage to a bookie’s son, whose parents think she is beneath their golden-haired boy, to divorce based on staged infidelity. She comes back to life and eventually marries again and falls into a job as a freelance journalist, travelling the world interviewing movie stars. Her job leads to a movie script optioned for a year and research on another screenplay focusing on a woman card shark. Martha dives into the research with gusto and a lively interest born during those weekly parties sitting on her daddy’s lap learning the finer points of gambling. She’s off and running.

Hats and Eyeglasses refers to a sinking ship, a disaster; the only things left floating on the surface are hats and eyeglasses. Martha Frankel was sinking when she discovered online gambling, but she couldn’t translate her hard-earned real world skills to the cyber realms of legalized Internet gambling, losing thousands of dollars and putting everything and everyone in her life at risk.

Hats and Eyeglasses is a fun and flirty and no-holds-barred tell-it-like-it-was autobiography with moments of pure pleasure contrasted with moving scenes that elicit both disbelief and sympathy. Martha Frankel’s style is fast-paced and as easy as listening to an old friend who knows your secrets and isn’t afraid to share hers. I enjoyed every single moment I spent with Martha, even the sad ones, and look forward to visiting her again. Her Aunt Tillie was right as Martha openly admits: her life and family are far more interesting than any movie star she interviewed. I can’t wait for her next book.

Reviewer: J. M.Cornwell

 

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