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Hats & Eyeglasses: A Family Love Affair with Gambling

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  176 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
A gloriously written memoir of growing up in a family of hard- core gamblers-Martha Frankel thought the gambling gene had passed her by, until she found herself addicted to online poker and knee-deep in debt.

Most weekends when Martha Frankel was a kid, her mother had a mah-jongg game going in the kitchen with her girlfriends while their husbands were in the living room p
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published February 14th 2008 by Tarcher
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Jason Pettus
Jun 30, 2008 rated it liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Of all the different types of literature I now read and review on a regular basis, easily none of them are more difficult to pull off than the personal memoir, for a variety of reasons I'll be going into later today; and that has me constantly reading on a regular basis a whole series of only so-so m
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Martha Frankel has written an absorbing memoir which deals, among other things, with the problem of online gambling addiction which she faced. Martha is addicted to playing poker and is very very good but when she plays online she finds she is facing a new phenomenon - she loses! Not once, not twice but many times, and she can't stop herself trying to win back her money. This spiral of obsessive behaviour, lies and loss continues and is explored in great detail in her memoir. I found it a compul ...more
Christina Ramos
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
It's unusual for me to finish reading a book that isn't very good. After the first few chapters, I put it in the Goodwill pile and move on to something else. I stuck with this book for two reasons. It is very short (217 pages with large font) and the author is really really likable. She has led a very interesting life and this book partially scratches the surface of that, however, it is not deep enough to leave an impact. Though I am not in the slightest bit interested in poker or gambling in ge ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Jessica by: Theresa Giacopasi
Hats and Eyeglasses is my favorite kind of memoir. It reads like a story, feels like fiction, but is rich with the choices, relationships, and obstacles that face us all in our own ways.

Frankel writes with sincerity. As she falls deeper and deeper into her other life she maintains an honest voice. She never blames her situation on anyone but herself, nor does she berate herself for it. She's a person whose vice is what it is and she deals with it and moves on.

I will recommend this memoir to eve
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: u-s
One thing I loved about this memoir is that it is so spare in one sense--Martha tells her story in a way that I would not be able to, meaning she doesn't throw in every detail about everyone she knows and everything she thought about along the way--but also very full. You still get a real sense of her life and her experiences. I also like how Martha is so honest. And so funny.

I'm the fourth person in my family to read this book, and the fourth person to love it!
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who enjoys true, highly entertaining books.
Recommended to Stuart by: Stuart McCallum
Hats & Eyeglasses is a wonderfully entertaining memoir, with a fabulous mix of colorfull characters. Martha Frankel is open and honest allowing us, as readers, an insight into many highly personal happenings in her life.

Beautifully written, by a sincere woman that excells in our craft of writing totally compelling, and moving stories.

Thank you Martha for writing a truly magnificent memoir.

Kind Regard's

Stuart - Beyond my Control
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Hats and Eyeglasses is a memoir by Martha Frankel. Ms. Frankel shares her story about growing up with a family of obsessed gamblers. They played everything from her mother’s favorite mah-jongg to her father’s love of poker. Already at the young age of four, Martha was familiar with pretty much any game you could think of where gambling was involved. Her parents would throw big parties. Everyone would come over to eat and play games. To Martha the feel of the cards or the sound of poker chips hit ...more
Paul Pessolano
My interest in this book stemmed from the title, the cover, and the synopsison the inside dust cover. The subject matter of the book is gambling and the addiction to gambling.The title, "Hats and Eyeglasses" is a term t describe those times when you are losing so bad your ship is sinking, until all thats left on the surface are your hat and eyeglasses.

Martha Frankel tells how gambling was something her entire family did and thought little of it. Everyone gambled, and they gambled on anything fro
Martha Frankel’s novel about the joys of family and the perils and pleasures of gambling is brimming with abundant doses of wry humor, familial warmth and what it means to play card games with the boys. Ms. Frankel never lets us forget that she’s a woman with a woman’s sense of humor, sensuality, style and what it means to use a poker face or flirting to win at the gaming table. Her slide into gambling addiction is penned so gradually that it’s a little hard to pinpoint where it all goes badly w ...more
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
This book was not only totally moving, heartfelt, and funny, it was also written by a longtime family friend of mine, Martha Frankel, who I first met when I was about three or four years old. Martha is the coolest. I remember her coming to California for a visit during my mom awkward stage of adolescence and being so impressive to all my friends. She's hip, hilarious and knows tons of celebrities, and tells great stories about them.

Even though this book's subject matter is terrifying (imagine lo
Jan 07, 2009 added it
Shelves: interviewees
Read the STOP SMILING interview with Hats & Eyeglasses author Martha Frankel:

(This interview originally appeared in the STOP SMILING Gambling Issue)

Martha Frankel knew, when interviewing a very young Leonardo DiCaprio, that the way to get him to open up would be to challenge him to a spitting contest. Frankel won — and got a great interview — because she has game.

She was raised on the laps of gamblers, chin-high to her mother’s smoky mahjongg board and her father’s wisecracking poker table.
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Martha Frankel grew up in a home where the moms played Mahjongg in the kitchen and the dads played poker at the dining room table. Her dad took her to the track. Mom was a bookkeeper, but Frankel got confused and pegged her a bookie. Gambling was part of weave and fabric of her family.

A professional writer, she started researching a screenplay by learning to play a social game of poker. Poker cruises, casinos and card rooms followed. And she was good! Until she discovered an early version of on
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This autobiography is about Ms. Frankel’s growing up in a family of gamblers, and then how she grows up and starts gambling too. Only it was odd because she wasn’t that into it until she was researching for a screenplay. She tries to learn all she can about poker so she can write about it for a character.

It was fascinating because once she really learned the game she did very well at the table. It was only when she started playing it online that her gambling became a problem.

The book was writte
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked the book up Saturday morning and put it down Saturday afternoon -- a very quick read. The author talks about how gambling was a constant in her life, from childhood on. She obessed with poker and still plays a weekly game. But she does not think that obession was/is addiction. Rather her gambling addiction was to online poker. She was a habitual winner at the poker table where she could see the other players but when online, in the early years of online poker, she lost big time and kept t ...more
Jul 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Read this memoir! I loved it immediately, and couldn't put it down. Martha speaks from her heart, and gets straight into ours. She welcomes us into her world, and we feel like we are laughing, crying, and anteing up right along side her. Her family is as mesmerizing as her story, and I was captivated equally by both..
Angie McCrae
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, life, favorites, 2009
I've been on a memoir kick lately and this is one of the better ones I've read. Frankel's candor and wit lend an authentic feel to the book in a way that makes her story compelling. She engages the reader with a mix of humor, honesty, warmth and nostalgia.

This was a quick and fun read for me. If you're looking for a light read for the summer that isn't fluff, this is the book for you.
Maureen Flatley
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Who knew that a nice, middle class woman who played a little poker could become an online gambling addict? This is a powerful memoir about addiction, trust and honesty. It's also funny, moving and informative.....another great summer book by a friend!
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Entertaining read about a woman who grows up in a gambling family and then finds herself drawn into the world of poker, eventually leading her to online poker. I liked Ms. Frankel's witty and honest style of writing and the book was a fast read.
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Martha Frankel is a celebrity writer and could no doubt write a better book about her career. Instead, this is a book about poker and her addiction to it. It was a good read, not great. Once again, I'd give this book 3.5 stars if the application allowed.
Will Kester
Jul 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Will by: the author
I thouroughly loved reading the stories of the author's travels "down the rabbit hole" of her gambling addiction. We should all have so much fun on our difficult trips in life, or at least see it as that much fun along the way. Good job.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book was one of my favorites. It was a very enticing and actually easy to read aloud. (On road trips, I read aloud as my husband drives!)It was very funny and although contained more language that I prefer it was altogether excellent!
This is a great read, very intimate and easy to access, as if the author is sitting across from you in the living room talking about her life while sharing a bottle of wine or a pot of tea. I heard her on npr and went right out to get the book. You should too.
Jun 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
I only have about 50 pages left and just picked it up yesterday afternoon. this book is fantastic - compelling, funny, touching, well written -- it's got it all. A perfect summer pool side read - preferably poolside in vegas!
Jun 15, 2008 is currently reading it
by a Woodstock friend - never new about5 her problems
Andrea Maletta
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Martha writes from the heart with a fabulous wit. I thoroughly enjoyed this quick read.
Feb 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Laughed a lot and generally loved this book, not just because the author is my friend! Whether you know anything about gambling/cards or not, you will enjoy this quick read.
Sep 01, 2009 rated it liked it
Fun and crazy to think that this life was actually lived!
Mar 14, 2008 added it
Shelves: memoirs
The thing I didn't get was why she didn't go back to normal poker and continue winning money. I guess internet poker was another thing to master.
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Hats & Eyeglasses: A Memoir is the story of my hilarious and totally cockamamie family, and how the gambling gene that I thought was dormant came out to bite me on the ass just at the moment I believed I had (finally) become an adult.

Hats & Eyeglasses has garnered some amazing reviews, including being called "Intimate and exuberant"-O, The Oprah Magazine, "Sparse and honest"- Associated Pr
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