Review: Brooklyn Story by Suzanne Corso
Author: Suzanne Corso
Book: Brooklyn Story
Release: December 28, 2010
Source: Simon & Schuster
Purchase: – Book Depository
It’s the summer of 1978, and Samantha Bonti is fifteen years old, half Jewish and half Italian, and hesitantly edging toward pure Brooklyn, even if her dreams of something more are bigger than the neighborhood girls’ teased hair. She lives in Bensonhurst with her mother, Joan, a woman abandoned and scarred in a ruinous marriage, poisoned with cynicism, and shackled by addictions; and with her Grandma Ruth, Samantha’s loudest and most opinionated source of encouragement. As flawed as they are, they are family.
Samantha’s best friend is Janice Caputo, a girl who understands, as well as Samantha does, this close-knit community of ancestors and traditions that stand like roadblocks, this insular overcrowded little world of controlling mobsters who mold their women like Jell-O; and of the wannabes, the charismatic young guys who are willing to engage in anything illegal to get a shot at playing with the big boys. Yet, Samantha has something Janice doesn’t—a desire to become a writer and to escape the destiny that is assumed for all of them in the outer reaches of Bensonhurst. And it’s to be had just across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Suzanne Corso really captured the essence of Brooklyn, New York. The dialect was perfect. The atmosphere she created with her descriptions of the setting and the various personalities of the characters all blended together to create a really impressive debut novel.
The heroine, Samantha, is a smart and somewhat stubborn young lady who lives with her beloved Grandma and her troubled mother. After being introduced by her best friend to a boy named Tony, Samantha is immediately smitten and begins to venture into the darker side of Brooklyn. In this darker world men dominate and females are disrespected and abused in what outsiders may see as the stereotypical Brooklyn-macho- tough-guy behavior. But, there is a bit of truth behind some stereotypes and this novel showcases them all–good and bad. Samantha falls into a trap that many other smart young women have and before long her boyfriend has her wrapped around his finger and it’s not all fun and games.
I think many women will be able to relate to Samantha. She is a bright girl who has dreams and aspirations, but gets detoured by the attention of a handsome boy. At first he wines and dines her, but before too long that “new car smell” wears off and she is forced to make some decisions for herself–either be a door mat or walk out the door. The journey Samantha is on, is one that will resonate with anyone who has been side tracked from their goals or has simply come to a fork in the road.
Sometimes it takes a lot of courage to leave home…even if home isn’t fairytale perfect. The emotions the character feels are very real and translate beautifully, even when the subject is hard to read there is a raw beauty to it that intrigued me.
As debut novels come, this one is for the keeper shelf. I look forward to seeing what else Suzanne Corso has up her sleeve!
Also Reviewed By: Raging Bibliomania – – Fresh Fiction