The Education of a Poker Player Summary and Reviews

The Education of a Poker Player

by James McManus

The Education of a Poker Player by James McManus X
The Education of a Poker Player by James McManus
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2015
    320 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

These autobiographical stories are enlightening and evocative, providing keen, often humorous insight into Catholicism, faith, celibacy and its opposite, as well as America' favorite card game.

Persuaded at age eight by his grandmother that entering the priesthood will guarantee salvation for every member of his family, Vince eagerly commits to attending a Jesuit seminary for high school. As the meaning of a vow of celibacy becomes clearer to him, however, and he is exposed to the irresistible temptations of poker and girls, life as a seminarian begins to seem less appealing. These autobiographical stories are enlightening and evocative, providing keen, often humorous insight into Catholicism, faith, celibacy and its opposite, as well as America' - increasingly the world's - favorite card game.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. With this plainspoken, highly readable coming-of-age story, McManus adds another winning hand to a growing body of work on the hearts and souls lost to the game of poker." - Kirkus

"McManus is a writer of immense talent, deft with language and with an ear that seems to catch all the right conversations. And he has a cast of characters that would be the envy of the most imaginative novelist." - Chicago Tribune

"McManus writes with verve and knowledge... Entertaining, informative and genial ... a copious, lively account of poker's past and present." - The New York Times Book Review

"McManus has a writer's eye for anecdotes and details that bring the material to life. The book covers a lot of ground, but thanks to McManus' particular blend of skills, it does so with insight, clarity and credibility." - Seattle Times

"In writing about poker Jim McManus has managed to write about everything, and it's glorious." - David Sedaris

"McManus has captured a Chicago Catholic kid's universe with an accuracy that made me laugh. A royal flush. Bravo!" - Sandra Cisneros

"Reading The Education of a Poker Player, I realized I had completely forgotten what it had been like to be a boy. McManus remembers it exactly. There are many things to admire - the delights of the Kennedy era Catholic household, the movement of a mind through time - but what stuck with me most was how McManus nails it dead: being a kid isn't anything like being an adult. Instead it is something stranger, something wilder, and something we shouldn't forget. Consumed with desire for girls, a place in the clergy, and a secret obsession with a certain gambling game that is played with 52 cards, McManus's narrator will help you reclaim something you may have lost. Pick up this book." - Jesse Ball

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Author Information

James McManus

James McManus has been called 'poker's Shakespeare." He is the New York Times-bestselling author of Positively Fifth Street and Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker, among others. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's, The Believer, Paris Review, Esquire, and in Best American anthologies for poetry, sports writing, science and nature, and magazine writing. He is the recipient of the Peter Lisagor Award for Sports Journalism, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations. He teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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