Goldberg is a steady chronicler of her family history and the years of her childhood and adolescence. As one would expect from a mob-focused memoir, the names of fringe characters are delightful, and might be hard to believe if not for the American familiarity, through film and television, with Mafia nomenclature. In these pages, readers meet Dom, Funzi, Tony Lunch, Johnny Sausage, and Benny Eggs. Though the author’s memoir delivers on its promise to present a realistic look at her father’s ties to the Genovese crime family, the true success of the work is how well it encapsulates a time and place: New York of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Goldberg peppers the lively book, which includes family photographs, with mentions of bygone places: Schrafft’s; the Jade Cockatoo in Greenwich Village; the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing, Queens; Lundy’s Restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. She also powerfully evokes her suburban childhood, which, despite her father’s dealings, occasionally seems idyllic, as when she and some neighborhood kids played in the Valley Stream dump on Long Island: “We climbed on hills of dirt scattered with junk that included old bottles, rebar, shoes, and an occasional appliance.” Throughout the memoir, the author’s fondness for the past helps her soberly assess a sometimes chaotic, sometimes comical, and sometimes painful family life.
An honest, funny, and thorough reflection on a complicated family.