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Preview — The Bookmaker by Michael J. Agovino
The Bookmaker: A Memoir of Money, Luck, and Family from the Utopian Outskirts of New York City
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 place ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 19th 2008 by Harper
(first published 2008)
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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
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
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.