cover image DIVORCED FROM THE MOB: My Journey from Organized Crime to Independent Woman

DIVORCED FROM THE MOB: My Journey from Organized Crime to Independent Woman

Andrea Giovino, . . Carroll &Graf, $25 (258pp) ISBN 978-0-7867-1355-4

When Giovino was growing up in 1960s Brooklyn, her mother hosted an illegal gambling operation for some mob-connected guys two days a week in the family's basement. Apart from the money, this boosted her mother's prestige, since "in a poor neighborhood, even being close to criminals was a status symbol." After seventh grade, Giovino dropped out of school and spent her days doing odd jobs and babysitting; nights were for cruising the clubs, and she ended up pregnant and married. Husband number one folded fast, but in spite of Giovino's insistence that "[m]otherhood made me flame-retardant," she spent the next few decades falling for a series of wrong guys. Giovino's problem? She was attracted to rich and powerful men, which, where she lived, meant men connected with the mob. Eventually, she was arrested in a DEA sting and decided to come clean. In spite of occasional spurts of psychology jargon (her mom "negatively... influenced our psychological development," etc.), Giovino's voice rings true. She'll gush about her latest love, and then—as if sensing readers' skepticism—snarl, "So fucking what if maybe all that is just cliché on top of cliché." Later, Giovino considers the camaraderie between her husband and his buddy after they whacked someone: "Once you killed with somebody it was like getting married, a kind of private ceremony, but since nobody could keep their mouths completely shut... it was a public declaration of your commitment to each other.... It's sick and sad that it takes murder to bring men together." Great literature it's not, but Giovino's memoir is raw and very real. Agent, Nancy Ellis. (May)

Forecast: Fans of true crime and mob lore will be attracted to this story of a real-life Carmela Soprano, and a national author tour and print, TV and radio interviews will put Giovino in the spotlight.