Thursday, April 08, 2010

Never tell our business to strangers

America loves crime stories. If you ask people which is the finest movie ever made, they are likely include the Godfather as a contender. Crime novels are well represented in the 2009 bestseller list as well. I don't think that America likes criminals as a group, but, as Walter McDougall argues in Freedom Just Around the Corner, America does like hustlers. The sorts of people who bend the rules to make a buck. Whether a criminal is appealing depends on the crime. An artful theft excites many, and so does vigilante justice.

In her memoir, Never Tell Our Business to Strangers, New York Times writer Jennifer Mascia talks about coming to terms with her family's criminal background. Her family moved a lot and she had a vague sense of what her father. He eventually went to jail, and she learns that he was involved in both the drug trade and in killing for the Mob.

The parts I liked best where those where she wrestled with who her parents were. How her mother could stay with someone who she knew was involved in terrible crimes. Her mom, by the way, like others used the Schwarzenegger defense, he only killed bad people. The main thrust of the book is how she finds her path to reconciling her love for her parents with her own moral code.

On the downside, the book is a little long and those who aren't looking for family stories to go with their crime will need to be patient. Thanks to Blue Dot Literary for giving me the chance to read it.

No comments: