Tuesday, October 09, 2012

the girl she used to be - David Cristofano

the girl she used to be
David Cristofano
Grand Central


Her name was Melody Grace McCartney for the first six years of her life.  Then she and her parents walked in on a mob murder in progress.  Not long after, they were placed in Witness Protection and lived in a series of middle-of-the-road towns, under various names.  They were moved several times due to ongoing threats.  Twenty years later, Melody is living alone.  Her parents are dead, victims of the always-threatened mob vengeance.

Despite the fact that she is now a teacher (not by training – the government produced the required documentation for her) Melody feels her life is completely without purpose.  Because she is thoroughly bored, she calls the U.S. Marshalls and tells them about a threatening phone call.  Of course, the Marshalls respond as they must: they swoop in, put Melody in the back of a car, and make plans to move her to a new town and a new life.  On the way, there’s a stop at a seedy motel.  During the night, Melody meets Jonathan Bavaro, son of the mobster who killed her parents.  And, here’s the kicker: she slips away from the Marshalls with him.
Both Melody and Jonathan are clearly emotionally damaged individuals.  Melody’s damage certainly stems from watching a murder at age six.  Since she’s the narrator, we’re not privy to the interior life of Jonathan, but he has his own issues.  The problem is that Melody is not a compelling character.  She seems to have stopped maturing emotionally sometime during her early teens.  There really is no reason at all for her flight with Jonathan.  She tells us that she feels safe with him, but it seems equally possible that she’s just excited by a different lifestyle and a nice car.  The story is an original one, and the pace is quite fast.  Melody’s enduring interest is math, a discipline in which logic should always lead you to the right answer.  Or at least, to the answer in the back of the book.
Rating: 6 ½
March 2010
ISBN# 978-0-446-58221-6 (trade paperback)


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