Good story with poor writing to it. “Born Mobster” by Paige Dearth (ASIN B01KVHAPV0; 506p.; Goodreads) is one of those books where you could take out all the walking, talking, sleeping, past telling and re-telling stories, constantly same reactions of listeners, episodes that don’t add anything to the plot, and can be forgotten five seconds after being read, and all the “in that moment they knew Tony would grow into the man he was meant to be”, and you’d lose half a book, but not a thing from plot. The whole “he didn’t even know how wrong he was” ending for every other chapter didn’t help the already predictable story either.
This book tells a story from when Tony was a kid, until he turned eighteen. Why is a book for adults started so early, what’s with all the pre-history, you’ll ask? Well, the abuse is kinda the point of this book, it seems. For he was picked on, beaten, tortured, almost got killed in the very first chapter, and then, at home, yet again spanked by his father, who couldn’t bear the thought of his son being so lame and weak. There’s no real goal in the story other than to torture-console. The highlight of his life was going to Italian Market with his mother, where one day he had a vision, and a spark of hope ignited in him: Mafia men. Made mobsters in suits, fearless, respected…
Salvatore Morano was just the type. New kid, possibly new meat to pick on. But as they tried, they fell short against the wall of disdain and indifference. For Salvatore was the son of Philadelphia’s Mafia Father, growing up among the crime lords, where friends are like family, and family is everything. Soon enough this attitude lured Tony in like a beacon of light in a very dark night. But whether that was for good or bad is hard to tell.
The book is both good and bad, and I can’t just understand how can this be. There’s so much, what I’d call, empty space here, with probably five total episodes that were epic, and added to the plot too, that I just had to power through chapters and chapters and several more chapters sometimes. And the cruelty is not something I’d dare recommend to anyone at all. It takes some serious nerves, lack of experience in these things (I know people who survived similar things, and I’d not dare put this book anywhere near them, for I can’t see how could they read this and not suffer in it all over again), and an ability to distance yourself from both the character AND the plot. I understand that author went through all of this, and therefor was able to write this all, and I understand how this could be educational somehow, somewhere, but it falls short when you realize it was written just for this, just for abuse, horror, torture. There was no real goal, as I said before. Tony might have been considered “born mobster”, but it was not something he was able to do anyway, until someone bigger took his hand and led him to it. From there on plot simply adjusted to the seemingly perfect little killer with kind heart. But then it still all came back to that one episode of being molested, and the need for vengeance (which I completely justify in this case). 4 out of 5 due to mobster part being interesting, and the separations between mobsters and gangsters being so distinct and well written. Author knows her stuff, she does. What she needs is a very good editor, that’s all!