Louise Wener: The Perfect Play

The Perfect Play is a novel about a young woman coming to terms with her abandonment issues via a quest for her vanished professional gambler dad. Audrey Unger is a mathematical genius, but her penchant for periodic drastic upheavals of her life has left her a chronic underachiever. As the clock seems to be running out on her current relationship, she struggles to find a way to become more stable. She comes to the rather surprising conclusion that immersing herself in the world of professional poker players is the way to go.

I didn’t find the portrayal of the high-stakes poker world very convincing. Maybe it really is like all the movies, I dunno. The dynamic between Unger and her reluctant poker instructor Big Louie is a little too pat. And the ending seemed weak — Wener sets up situations where it’s just a little too obvious what the resolution has to be, and then draws the curtain down before a key scene.

But on the whole I liked this book. Unger is an engaging narrator, and Wener’s a keen observer of middle class life — her portrayal of a sad little local casino was every bit as compelling as that of the high-stakes room wasn’t.

This Perfect Play doesn’t lean as heavily on Wener’s previous experience in the music industry as Goodnight Steve McQueen did, but it does have a good handful of hip music references. At one point Audrey worries that her inability to grok nu-metal means she’s growing old, then she finds herself enjoying some of it. Been there, done that!

needs more demons? just a smidge.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

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