Heather Abraham spent her formative years in a household dominated by gambling in the small town of Jeannette Pennsylvania in the 60s and 70s. Her father, Al Abraham at 6’4’’ and 500 lbs, was larger than life, a fun loving bookie with a passion and addiction for gambling and food. Her mother, Bonnie a diminutive hot-tempered, woman with a tragic past fought her own addictions to alcohol and amphetamines. Heather and her sister often witnessed their parent’s violent outbursts. At times these escalated to gunfire and stabbings.
Life for the Abraham’s revolved around their family run legitimate general store and their illegal backroom gambling, bookmaking and various other illicit trade. From an early age Heather was groomed to work in the family businesses, both legal and illegal. She was taking bets before she entered grade school and accompanying her father on midnight runs for illegal goods by her early teens.Her daily life was never dull or sheltered from the seedy underworld.
Police raids of her families’ home and business were commonplace. This lifestyle puts her in the direct path of some dangerous characters, including pimps, pedophiles, hit men and kidnappers. Heather found herself, on more than one occasion, a defenseless child facing down the very worst criminal element. Her parents clearly loved her but their own addictions and tumultuous tempers hampered any chance of providing a safe, stable home life.Resigned to her current situation, Heather dreams of the day she turns 18 and can leave behind her parent’s world and get a legitimate job.
The author writes with humor and heartbreak as she explores her complicated love-hate relationship with her parents. She clearly has worked hard to understand these flawed individuals and to not repeat their destructive behavior. The story seemed disjointed at times because the storyline was presented by reoccurring themes throughout her childhood, as opposed to chronologically order.
“The Bookie’s Daughter” is an insightful true story from the perspective of a young girl longing for security while caught up in her parents’ chaotic world of addiction and criminal activities.
Reviewed by Maureen Fajt for IndieReader