My dysfunctional Mafia family

Never Tell Our Business to Strangers by Jennifer Mascia is not a comfortable read, but it is compelling. Mascia — an assistant on the Metro desk at The New York Times and a graduate of The Columbia School of Journalism – thoroughly dissects her rather ugly life story. In many ways, she is a remarkable young woman just for having survived her life. 

Jennifer Mascia is the daughter of a dysfunctional low-level crime family. Her father went to prison for murder during her childhood. Her family called it being away at “college”. Jessica, who was very young, knew he was in jail, but never realized the implications. Later her father started a carpet-cleaning business as a cover for his drug dealing. Mascia later discovered her favourite aunt was his supplier.
As her family goes from middle class to wealthy to food stamps, Jennifer grows up and begins to figure out her family is not “normal”. 
Mascia struggles to reconcile her memories of a loving father with the facts of her father’s past. She struggles to make sense of her emotional, high-living mother who condoned her father’s life while raising her daughter to be an academic achiever and “nice Jewish-Italian” girl.
This is more than just another coming of age biography or Mafia princess tale. It is study of a young woman who grows up surrounded by psychopaths, drug addicts, and criminals, and yet manages to survive. She struggles to find her own identity and retain a sense of compassion and self-worth.