Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bringing Down the House - Ben Mezrich

Title: Bringing Down the House
Author: Ben Mezrich
Date Finished: Dec 26, 2008 #72
Published: 2002 Pages: 257
Rating: 3.5/5

After attempting to watch the movie 21 and falling asleep (not because of the movie...unfortunately I have a tough time staying awake while watching any movie at home), my dad told me he read the book and enjoyed it more than the film. So, instead of renting 21 again, I decided to make this my quick holiday vacation read. And quick it was!

Bringing Down the House tells the true story of Kevin Lewis and a group of other students from MIT who use their math skills to beat the Las Vegas casinos at blackjack thus winning several million dollars. The book was very entertaining and oftentimes a page turner as Mezrich discusses the strategies used in order to win thousands of dollars in a matter of hours and the close calls the group faced as casino managers began to catch onto their scheme (although card counting is not illegal you can be thrown out of a casino).

The characters are colorful and well-developed, although according to wikipedia, many of the events and even characters are exaggerated or even fictionalized. Kind of burst my bubble, especially as I was really excited about this book and kept relaying the events to hubby. It's still a really fun and interesting read--not very deep or thought provoking, but definitely great for a short break from heavier reading.

Woohoo! Year's shortest review. :P I'm still really swamped, but here's to hoping that next week will bring back the slower pace in life. Hope everyone is well!


bermudaonion said...

I remember hearing about that when it happened, but didn't realize there was a book out about it. Sounds interesting.

samantha.1020 said...

I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm going into 2009 behind in reviews. I've got this one on my TBR list though.

Thoughts of Joy said...

Oh, I think I'd like to get this book. I fall asleep in theaters, as well as, at home, but when I saw this one - I didn't! :) I really enjoyed it. I'll have to remember to get it. Thanks, Trish.

Happy New Year! :)

Harry Markov said...

I enjoyed "21" the movie, although it was somewhat uneventful as a whole. I mean the whole degree of tension didn't affect me much, but thought it was an okay attempt.

I doubt the book will be present in my language, ever, but let's stay hopeful and think that one day we might cross paths with that one.

PS: Rest for a while. I hate it when my battery is fried... And the holidays aren't the easiest time of the year.

Alyce said...

I really liked this book too! How disappointing to find out that parts were fictionalized.

Amanda said...

Oh my husband really likes this book. He said the movie did not look anything like the book so we didn't watch it. I've been meaning to read it for a while now. Great review!

valentina said...

We keep this in the true crime section, but it doesn't sound like they did anything illegal! were they arrested for that or not?

Ana S. said...

I remember hearing about this too! Though I didn't know there was a book about it. I'd have been disappointed about it being fictionalized too, but it still sounds like a great read.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Bermuda - The book is really interesting! Have you seen the movie with Kevin Spacey?

*Samantha - Hope you like this one!

*Joy - I do better in the theatre, but at home? No way! :) I think you'd like this one...pretty interesting.

*Daydream - The book was a little more intense than the movie, but I'm not sure if that's entirely fair since I fell asleep during the movie.

*Alyce - I'm still really disappointed to find out that some of the aspects didn't really happen. Makes you wonder what non-fiction books you can trust!

*Amanda - After telling my husband about the book, it sounds that they are very different--but isn't the book always better? ;)

*Valentina - In the US, card counting is not illegal. They were thrown out of some casinos, which is the casino's right, but no one got arrested.

*Nymeth - I didn't realize there was a book either until my dad lent me his copy. I was kind of upset to find out that it was heavily embellished, but it was still a good read.

Rae said...

I read this book two summers ago and LOVED it. The movie was a definite disappointment.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I really liked it also but was SO disappointed to read that not all of it was true. I'm reading another memoir right now and I can't help wonder how much of it is completely accurate (although it is about a psychic healer, so I'm already skeptical). Oh well.

Hey--I meant to write this at the other post and forgot because I got carried away by the ancestors. If you're looking for a book to read, I'd really recommend The Book Thief by Mark Zusack. It's a little thick, but it is considered young adult, so it's not too heavy. But it's about a little girl in Germany during WWII (death is the narrator). VERY good.