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

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  26 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews

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 plac

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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Harper (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-55)
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Landa
Jan 10, 2009 Landa added it
great social history of Co-op City in New York in the 70's
Jules Nadeau
Jun 01, 2015 Jules Nadeau rated it it was amazing
Having discovered and enjoyed Agovino’s "The Soccer Diaries" I wanted to prolong the pleasure by reading his first title: "The Bookmaker". Oh boy! So much fun that I changed gears to 'slow read'. The author has such a keen sense of observation and he expresses his intimate thoughts with art and finesse!

"The Bookmaker" is a chronicle of his resourceful and imaginative father Hugo Agovino, son of Italian immigrants, who indulges in gambling but considers his activities a respected occupation: "I'm
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Alison
May 02, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great autobiographical book that intersects with a lot of my interests- co-ops, NYC politics, and Italian Americans. The author's father was raised in Italian Harlem and paints a vivid picture of the neighborhood where my grandmother was born. His family moves to co-op city in the Bronx to escape the city but soon finds that co-op city changes and declines along with NYC in the 1970s and 80s. His father is a civil servant by day and a bookie at night who is alternately being hounded to pay his ...more
Nette
Jan 11, 2009 Nette rated it it was ok
Simply writing down every single story that your parents have told you, and every single thing that ever happened to you, DOES NOT MAKE A GOOD MEMOIR. The part about the creation of Co-Op City in the Bronx was kind of interesting, but that was one chapter. The rest of book sounds like this: "And then there was Louie, not the Louie from bakery or Big Louie from the Chinese place, but Short Louie, who was friends with Nick-Nick and Joey, who used to have that club over in the Bronx." Seriously, it ...more
Mitchell
Jun 01, 2012 Mitchell rated it really liked it
Observations, based on a childhood residency, about the birth and decline of Co-op City, a failed social experiment of the 1970s imposed upon The Bronx by New York City's legendary master builder, Robert Moses. Agovino uses the hulking apartment complex as a backdrop for his memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional family, raised by free-spirited parents who aspired to high culture and advanced learning, but who got by financially through bouncing checks, and running an underground bet-placing ...more
Mark Magee
Nov 28, 2008 Mark Magee rated it really liked it
The city setting of 1970's NYC reminded me of growing up in Philly, same kinds of urban issues of racial unrest, crime, etc. First part of the book reviewing one character's ethnic roots overwhelmed me with the amounts of names introduced, hard to follow. But the final 3/4 of the book was a good read, following the story of the author's family.
Chi
May 17, 2009 Chi rated it it was amazing
The Projects in the Bronx. A boy growing up in the 70s to 90s in the projects. Excellent reading. Good information.
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Another found on the biography shelf
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