Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Fooling Houdini is Alex Stone’s ode to his love affair with magic. His story begins when he was just five years old and moves though his learning to do and perform magic for others and for himself. He uses magic as a way to manage life stressors and problems. Along the way, he joins the Society of American Magicians and finds a deep connection with other members. He did struggle with bouncing back after being humiliated during the Magic Olympics, and tried to restore his faith and confidence in himself by perfecting his skills.

Although Fooling Houdini is based on real life events, it reads more like a novel. There is lots of flowery dialogue, and Stone sometimes appears to try too hard to make the point. The book does describe what it is like to live a life with magic at the core, and for that I am grateful because it is a subject I have no insider’s information about (except for having seen the odd made for television special on magic). The book discusses the joys and heartaches associated with the world of magic and the reader gets a good glimpse of what it is really like to be a master magician and performer.

I thought the sections about street crime and street scams were particularly interesting to read about, and the book was also interesting in regard to how it describes magic and how a person can become an expert at sleight of hand and an artisan at magical illusions. It has a lot of dialogue which some people will appreciate – it is a real life journey which reads more like a novel. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in a real life version of becoming a magician.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.