The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

Cristofano, David. The Girl She Used to Be. Grand Central Publishing, 2002. ISBN 978-0446582223 256 pp. $


Six-year-old Melody’s simple request for eggs Romani brought her parents to an Italian American restaurant one Sunday morning, where they unfortunately saw a mobster murder someone. Melody’s scream alerted all to her family’s presence and they found asylum in the Federal Witness Protection Program, but at great personal costs–in spite of every effort to keep the family safe, Melody’s parents were found and killed when she was sixteen.

Now, at age 26, Melody longs for love, family, and an unchanging identity. Out of boredom one day, she cries wolf and tells her contact that she has been compromised and needs to move. In the midst of her relocation, the son of the mob boss who has been tracking her for years, breaks into her motel room and holds a knife to her neck. An unlikely friendship ensues.

This brief, fast-paced novel has an engaging and even voice, humor, a unique story, complex characters and an unexpected conclusion. The themes of identity, freedom and first love are universal.

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