In an unvarnished debut, a good girl needs to get over her love for a bad boy in order to follow her dream.
Corso’s story, drawn from her own experience and narrated in Runyonesque tones—“Ya wanna walk wid me, Samantha Bonti?”—but minus the humor, introduces the daughter of a bitter, ravaged mother whose abusive husband abandoned the family early and without financial support. Innocent, 15-year-old Samantha, living in Italian-dominated Bensonhurst, knows she is both different, because of her part Jewish/part Italian background, and special, because she has an ambition: to escape and be a writer. Her material, which is her life, becomes much more dramatic after meeting hunky Tony Kroon, who hangs out with the local mafia and has absorbed their ideas of how a girlfriend should behave and be treated. Sam enjoys Tony’s looks, cash and admiration and seems able to turn a blind eye to his criminal activities, but love turns to dismay when he becomes violent and might be cheating. Encouraged by her best friend, a teacher, a priest and her devoted grandmother, Sam chooses to break the cycle of abuse, but her dream of crossing the Brooklyn Bridge to a new life and a place at New York University is jeopardized by one last wound inflicted by Tony.
A naïve coming-of-age tale which, despite sexual content, seems more suited to a young adult readership.