Rachel's Reviews > Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions

Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich
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Aug 11, 2008

bookshelves: abandoned
Recommended to Rachel by: 21 movie credits

When he saw that I'd earmarked this book as one I'd like to read, my friend John offered to lend me his copy. It turned out, however, that he only owns a different book by the same author. That book, Busting Vegas, is the inside story of five MIT students who took Vegas for millions (although the long-winded official subtitle for that one bills it as "A True Story of Monumental Excess, Sex, Love, Violence, and Beating the Odds.").

My interest in the subject (blackjack) and author was initially piqued by viewing the movie 21 a couple weeks ago. 21 is a supposedly true story based on Bringing Down the House, and I enjoyed the film. It had its weaknesses, such as Jill's underdeveloped character (who for unexplained reasons seemed motivated to join the blackjack team in pursuit of something other than wealth and looked down on those who claimed they planned to stick around just long enough to reach a specific financial goal), but was vicariously thrilling and entertaining overall.

I will stick with Busting Vegas to the end, because I am a stubborn reader who can appreciate a good story even when it's rendered poorly, but I've lost interest in reading anything else by Ben Mezrich. I'm unimpressed by his style, which relies on short, blunt sentences and fragments, overblown generalizations, and too much time spent inside the main character's head for me to believe this is a true story rather than a fictional account loosely based on actual events. I consider Mezrich an arrogant, lucky, semi-literate hack who likes rubbing shoulders with brilliant (i.e., bright enough to bolster his own self-labeled "geek chic" image by association) societal misfits and has stretched one book's worth of research into two forgettable, indistinguishable books.
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Reading Progress

August 11, 2008 – Shelved
June 23, 2018 – Shelved as: abandoned

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by John (new)

John i think i have this if you want to borrow it.

message 2: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Thanks! I'd love to borrow it for my vacation next week. I leave after work on Friday, so I'll be in touch between now and then to arrange a hand-off.

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