/ Lisa Novick Goldberg Daughter Opens Up About Mafia ‘Money Man’ Dad — and Her Own Struggles with Mental Illness June 26, 2020


Lisa Novick Goldberg always knew that her family was “different.”

But it wasn’t until she received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury in December 1988 that she realized that her dad, Herbert “Big John” Novick, was the Genovese crime family’s money man. After her two-hour testimony, Goldberg, who admits to having struggles with mental illness, went into what she describes as a “catatonic state” for seven days.

“I stopped eating. I couldn’t sleep. I lost all sense of reality. My head just took on a life of its own in terms of, ‘Is something going to happen to my father? What’s going to happen here? Is this going to go on forever?’” Goldberg, now 62, tells PEOPLE in an exclusive interview about her book, The Apple and the Shady Tree: The Mafia, My Family, and Me. “Until I couldn’t take it anymore. My parents got me a psychiatrist. Prozac had just been introduced and it worked on me.”


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Kirkus Reviews / Lisa Novick Goldberg The Apple and the Shady Tree: Kirkus Review June 18, 2020


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.


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Medium/Authority Magazine / Lisa Novick Goldberg Author Lisa Novick Goldberg: “We all have our special story to tell; Capture your memories in writing … the good, the bad, the happy, the sad” June 15, 2020


Perhaps the most empowering lesson that I would like to impart to my readers is that most of us have to have the strength, the ability, and the resilience to change the parts of our life that consistently hold us back from reaching our best selves. I always say, “our past explains who we are, but our past doesn’t define us.”

Another empowering lesson is that we all have our special story to tell. I encourage my readers to capture their memories in writing… the good, the bad, the happy, the sad. Your life story is your gift to your children and in some cases, to the world. There is no need to be concerned with the quality of your writing, just open your heart and a journal to those feelings and stories and messages that are uniquely you. The result can be liberating!


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