Title: Brooklyn Story
Author: Suzanne Corso
Publisher: Gallery Books
My synopsis: This is the story of Samantha. She is 15 years old, Brooklyn born and bred. Bensonhurst to be exact. She is different than a lot of the other kids because she is half Jewish, half Italian. If you aren't full-blooded Italian, it is hard to fit in in the neighborhood. Her father took off before she ever had the chance to know him, so it has been just her, her mom, and her grandma.
Her mom isn't much as far as support goes. She liked to have a good time when Sam was younger and many men were paraded through the apartment. It was Sam's grandma who kept her grounded and encouraged. Sam loved to write and with an old typewriter that her grandma gave her, she was aspiring to become an author and make it to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Her life was really going to start when she was able to make it in Manhattan.
Then, her best friend Janice and her boyfriend Richie, introduced her to Tony Kroon. Sam had never really had a boyfriend before, and Tony blew into her life like a tornado. Everybody knew the Priganti Family ran the neighborhood and Tony along with Richie, were friends with Vin Priganti. It always seemed they had to be somewhere or there was some job they needed to go take care of. Sam had always prided herself on her honesty, but it wasn't long before she was looking the other way and ignoring the signs that the gifts and money that Tony lavished on her were probably ill-gotten gains. She was in love with him as any teenager is with their first love. She imagined that once she got her publishing deal that he would join her on the other side of the bridge and then they wouldn't have to live according to Bensonhurst's rules.
My thoughts: This was a great coming of age story, and though I have never been anywhere Brooklyn, I definitely felt like I was there. The only experience I have with the area is through TV, books - but the dialect and the way the guys treated their girls made me feel like I was there. There was a lot of references to songs throughout the story - it begins in 1978 and goes through the early 80's - right when I was becoming a teenager - and those songs really brought back memories to me. The descriptions of the women's clothes and their teased hair definitely made me picture how "Mafia" wives might have looked during this time.
I really like Samantha and wanted to slap her upside the head when she let Tony get away with some of the stuff that he did. It was encouraging to see her grow and really find her strength (as well as Janice). She embraced fully who she was and never made any excuses for her own behavior. She just knew at an early age what she wanted to do and where she wanted to end up, and though she was blown off track for awhile, she finally regained her footing and continued to move forward. The story really pulled me in and I was able to fly through the book in just a couple of days.
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Gallery Books in exchange for my review.~
Publisher/Publication Date: Gallery Books, Dec 28, 2010