: Never tell our business to str (9780345505354) : Jennifer Mascia : Books
  Login | Register En  |  Fr
Antoine Online

Never Tell Our Business To Str

by Jennifer Mascia
Our price: LBP 39,000Unavailable
*Contact us to request a special order. Price may vary.
I Add to my wishlist

Product Details

  • Publisher: Villard
  • Publishing date: 23/02/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780345505354
  • ISBN: 0345505352


Amazon Exclusive: Jennifer Mascia on Never Tell Our Business to Strangers

Connie Corleone I’m not.

That’s what I have to remind people whenever I tell them that my father worked for the Mafia and their eyes light up. Because, while my father may have been a freelancer of sorts for the Gambino clan, he was more of a brokester than a mobster.

What is a brokester, you ask? According to William K. Rashbaum of the New York Times, "The impoverished gangster barely eking out a living is so commonplace that mobsters have a word for these poorer men of honor: brokesters." Sorry to puncture the romance, but my Dad was one of dem guys, with his "one-two-tree" Brooklyn accent and his bicep tattoos.

Of course, I grew up thinking John Mascia was a mere carpet cleaner. But those rough, calloused hands had been put to other, more sinister uses, something I didn’t discover until I was in my twenties. For me, his criminal past first emerged when the FBI came for him, when I was five. I didn’t know we’d been fugitives for five years, living under the surname of an old prison buddy of my father’s. Nor did I know that we’d been living on the lam in southern California suburbia because my father had been in prison for a dozen years before I was born and violated his parole by selling cocaine. Nor did I know then that the reason he had been in jail so long was because he had committed murder, shooting a criminal informant who’d been ratting on his gang.

No, I got John Mascia for the last third of his life, when he tried at his hand at legitimacy, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes, when money was tight, he would sell cocaine, sending kilos and cash to Miami and back via FedEx. We never saved money--my parents’ idea of a bank was a hole cut in the padding below the carpet. We went bankrupt several times, spending up our credit cards with abandon. My father’s business was off the books; my parents knew so little about taxes that when it came time for me to do my own, they both looked at me blankly and suggested an accountant who lived in our building. We never owned a house, never set down financial roots anywhere--money came into my parents’ lives in big, unaccounted-for bundles and flowed between their cigarette-stained fingers like fine Long Island sand.

And I always wondered why. My mother was book-smart and my father was street-smart--hell, he was pocketing $80,000 tax-free in the go-go Eighties, plus whatever he made from the occasional cocaine sale. Where had they gone wrong?

Later, when I started working for the Times and did some digging into my father’s criminal past, I came across a private investigator who told me about men like my father.

"Associates never hold onto their money," he said. "They think, ‘I can just go out and do this again tomorrow. I don’t have to worry about saving money--my life is a stream of money.’ Most of the guys just burn through it. Also, it’s the lifestyle. There are great moments of exultation--it’s nice when you walk into a restaurant and everybody bows to you. But you get the same effect by handing out fifties, let me tell you."

I felt hollow. Surely my father was more than a flashy social climber. He’d been a caring, patient father to me.

But maybe his brokester status was a gift. I own one credit card, my paychecks are faithfully deposited into a checking account, and I always pay my taxes. Eventually. --Jennifer Mascia

In just a few easy steps below, you can become an online reviewer.
You'll be able to make changes before you submit your review.

  • Never tell our business to strangers: a review of a memoir
    From Amazon

    "Never tell our business to strangers" is a memoir of a family with secrets. Jennifer Mascia grows up in a family that she thinks is normal. Jennifer Mascia is currently a reporter with the New York Times. This is a book that emerged from a piece in the New York Times called "Modern Love"by the author. Mascia recalls her early life in a family she sees as normal. But to the reader and eventually to her things are not as they seem. Many secrets are revealed. An unknown age difference. An affair. Hidden family members. Name changes. Covered ties to the Mafia. The family was on the run from the law due to a "side career." Questions are asked and incomplete and incorrect answers are given. When stability finally happens to this family, it is too late, and underlying issues emerge that destroy the family. Mascia's account is interesting, but at 380 pages seems a little long. Mascia spends too much time in describing her childhood and adolescence and things that are occuring to her-but her Mother and Father are the ones the reader is interested in. Mascia herself seems boring-perhaps that is because she is a normal, law abiding citizen. Conversations are described as verbatim could not have been remembered by the younger Mascia. The pictures in the book though add necessary human warmth to the story. The "Prologue" at the beginning of the book seems overly long and completely unnecessary in relation to the story. Overall, I would recommend instead the far superior memoirs "A glass castle" and "Her last death" as intense portraits of dysfunctional families.

  • gets better as it goes along
    From Amazon

    About halfway thru this book I didn't want to read farther because I was getting bored by the book, but I'm glad I pushed thru to the end. The last hundred or so pages are both intriguing as the author uncovers more and more about her parents' past, and a wonderfully compelling story about a daughter's love for parents and family in the wake of revelation upon revelation that things were darker than they seemed. Reviewing a book like this where the element of surprise is a key player in the narrative constrains what one can write compared to discussing the book with someone else who has read it. So while I won't go into specifics, I will say that the book starts out by depicting a putatively normal life. Unfortunately while Mascia is a gifted writer, her gift is not for narrative writing. I never got a sense of time or place as she describes her family and childhood; rather it seemed like a jumble of stories and observations. It is only at the tail of the book that her wonderful writing ability can be seen, when she both unravels a mystery and weaves within a searingly honest and touching essay on family and love.

  • "Soprano" surprise
    From Amazon

    WOW !!! What a book ! I'd be afraid to write anything but a positive review after reading this. Intrigue , suspense , murder , organized "crime" , all rolled into one fantastic read. If this type of book suits you , pick it up.

  • I should have passed
    From Amazon

    You know the old expression, "A child only a parent could love?" Welcome to a story of parents that only a child could love. This is a horribly troublesome read with its redundancy and poorly edited style. This family is far from the All-American family - aren't we all? But this family is worthy of Jerry Springer. It's understandable that Jennifer would love her parents and justify so much, but to share it with the world and expect us to accept such tripe? Boring and full of filler, this book was better left unpublished. It was probably good for Jennifer to write, but it should have stayed in the nightstand drawer.

  • i wish she hadn't told her business to strangers!!!!!
    From Amazon

    this seemingly never ending book is redundant--if boredom and repetition could kill the author would be in the same league as her father. this is the story of a murderous ex-con drug dealer who is himself a philandering drug addict and his wife who met him in prison where she was visiting another boyfriend (classy lady!). The wife is aware her husband is a murderer and low rent dirt bag but she's one too so they become a couple. then they decide that their drug soaked life of crime should include a child so the author is born. in her book, she states over and over and over and over how horrified she is by their crimes but truth is her tone conveys she secretly thinks it's somehow romantic and glamorous. she has aggrandized the two derelicts so much that she tries to portray them as criminals with hearts of gold. people who kill people, sell drugs, steal, use drugs etc., but who are really swell anyway. the author is entitled to love her parents despite their amoral and criminal conduct but her desperate and poorly edited effort to make us love them too and understand her love for them is lame. her parents were just two losers like many others. the fact that they had a child who loves them does not change who they were, what they were or excuse what they did.

Working on your request