With every page turn of Brooklyn Story, I thought, "This is depressing." Sam immediately positions herself as a victim. She doesn't fit in at school because she's half-Jewish and half-Italian. At home this causes conflict as well because her Jewish grandma is displeased that Sam's mom left her religion for a man who promptly left before Sam was even born. That Sam's father left is yet another issue; her mother withholds affection and is frequently critical, especially when Sam begins dating Tony. It turns out that Sam should've listened to her bitter mom a little more as it doesn't take long for Tony to reveal himself to be a controlling and abusive criminal. At the end Sam says Tony stole four years of her life; I disagree. At every turn, Sam had the opportunity to recognize Tony for what he was (if the demands to always know where she was weren't a sign, then the slap to the face should've woken her up) but chose to stay with him. I couldn't help but wonder if all the fancy things he showered upon her didn't motivate the girl raised on welfare to stay.
Redeeming Brooklyn Story is the writing. Even so, I frequently wanted to stop reading as I could garner no sympathy for a girl who ignored the advice of those around her to stay with an abusive man.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.