Thursday, June 24, 2021

Pressing my Luck - A Book Review


Paul and Micky sitting in Paul's house on Cavendish Avenue.  This is where Shirley and her friends sat 3 years later.

It is interesting how I find books to read sometimes.  Last week, I was looking for some information about Paul McCartney's song from 1986, "Press."    And while I didn't exactly find what I was looking for, I did find out about a book called Pressing my Luck written by Shirley Press.    The Beatles connection in this book is a stretch, but it was interesting enough for me to mention here. 

Shirley is an extremely interesting person.   Her parents were Holocaust survivors, having been tortured in concentration camps.   Reading about her parents and how they were able to survive such terrible treatment was interesting and sad to read.   I think it is important to continue to tell the stories of the Jewish people that lived and died in concentration camps.    Shirley grew up in New Jersey in the 1960s and was a Beatles fan.   Her family owned a dime store and Shirley would open up the Beatles trading card packs and take out the cards that she needed and return her doubles into the pack.   She sadly never got to see The Beatles perform live. 

It is obvious that The Beatles were and remain an influence in Shirley's life.   So much so that all of the chapters in this book have Beatle-themed titles. 

In 1970 Shirley was in London and she and two guys broke into Paul McCartney's house on Cavendish Avenue.  She went in through -- an open door!   My first question is this:  How many fans got into Paul's house during this time period?    Now the three young people did not take a single thing.  They just walked around and took photographs.  Shirley does say that it was wrong of her to do, but she was young and she had the opportunity to do it.   I thought that chapter of the book was really interesting and shines a light on London in general in 1970.

Shirley grew up and became a pediatrician at an emergency room in Florida.  In 2001 she won a huge amount of money in the Florida Lottery.   The point of this book is to show that while your financial situation changes,  that does not mean your life situation will suddenly become perfect.   Geroge Harrison spoke about this often himself.   She continued to do her job because she enjoyed it and she lived her life about the same as she had before winning the lottery, with a few exceptions.    However, even with all the money, she could not stop her son from becoming addicted to crack cocaine.  Even with treatment, he would relapse a few months later.  The anguish she felt dealing with her son's addiction was heartbreaking.   Then her husband suddenly had to have an emergency liver transplant and that more stress on her.    In winning the Lottery, learned who her true friends really were and weren't.  She also learned a lot about charities and who to trust. 

The last part of the book reminded me of that guy at was at the end of 60 Minutes.   You remember that guy?  He was always complaining about something or giving his opinion on unimportant stuff.   That is where this book went.   Suddenly Shirley is giving us a list of all the things she remembers from her childhood that are no longer around or complaining about how friends have done her wrong or about how she likes to write letters to the editor and complain about this and that because it is a concern of hers.   

This memoir was not the best book I ever read.  I found a lot of it boring.  But I did enjoy the parts about her parents and her time in London (especially going into Paul's house).  It did make me think about lottery winners and how their life does not necessarily change in the way you'd think it would.  But this book was $1.99 on Kindle, so the price was right.


  1. There are precious few pictures of Paul's music room so these are fantastic.

  2. No e in Micky. (MarkZapp)

    1. Thanks I fixed it. I am NOT a Monkees fan at all, so I was impressed with myself that I remembered that guys name without looking it up. I knew it wasn't Davey Jones because he was the guy on the Brady Bunch. LOL

    2. No "e" in Davy either! teehee!

  3. Ugh, Davy! I'm a big Monkees fan. I knew of them before I did of The Beatles. Having a weekly television show in the 60's certainly helped. (MarkZapp)

  4. thanks for your comment on the Holocaust which shamefully seems to be no longer written about in history; my dad's cousin was a survivor with the numbers branded on her and was affected mentally for the rest of her life