CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 23 . . . . February 17, 2012
This is an updated edition of Dennis Foon's 2000 book of the same title (CM, Vol. VI, No. 20, June 9, 2000), and the quotation above is from the new chapter inserted to highlight the extra options now open to gamblers of all ages on the Web. However, the book has not changed in its essence -- it is still a powerful picture of the temptations of the quick buck, and the very real effects of a gambling addiction.
Kip, a teenager in his last year of high school, has a lot going for him. He's smart, his mother, his uncle, and his teachers all think he's wonderful, college is just around the corner, but ... he's bored. Except when he has a bet going. Whether it's lunchtime poker or whether the English teacher will belch within the next 22 seconds, betting gives him "the buzz" that makes life worth living. And he usually seems to win. Then he meets a wonderful girl whose father is a stage magician, an illusionist ... and a big-time gambler. He introduces Kip to "real" gambling at the track and the casino where Kip quickly learns to be a big-time loser, first with his own money, then with his college fund taken from the bank with his mother's bankcard. And the only way to pay back the money is by chasing the big win. It doesn't work, of course. Kip's girlfriend's father commits suicide; she discovers that Kip is also a heart-and-soul gambler who is prepared to steal even from her to get a stake; and she dumps him. His mother discovers the loss of his college money. Down and out. Nowhere to go but up? Maybe. The final chapter has Kip working three jobs in order to be able to finance his first year at college. His ambition? To "do a degree in business, make some connections, get out and become a stock broker. These guys have it made. Why put your own cash on the line when people will actually pay you to lose theirs for them?" Has he conquered, or even really admitted to, his addiction? No way!
Mary Thomas spent one afternoon at a casino some years ago, and hated it, in spite of coming away with more money than she started with.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.