Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Girl She Used to Be

by David Cristofano
Thorndike Press 2009

How do you know who you are if you can't reveal who you've been?

Though I have been on this earth for twenty-six years, the last twenty have been one long string of boredom knotted by a few moments of unimaginable terror.

Melody Grace McCartney. Just another name in a long, long line of names - Sandra Clarke, May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, Jane Watkins, Terry Mills, Shelly Jones, Linda Simms... But it's not just another name. It's her very first name.

Melody hasn't been Melody since she was six years old, when her family witnesses a mob hit, and the Feds come to take them away and put them into the Federal Witness Protection Program. She's had to learn new names, new towns, new histories, new job skills. Every time she moves, she has to be someone new. The very family who they were supposedly being protected from assassinated her parents twelve years into the program.

I’ve always wondered about the witness protection program, and I often thought about what happens if you are found? I had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. I had no idea about the other aspects of being in the Witness Protection Program. What kind of life do you really have? Can it be a life at all when you cannot be the person you once were? How is a child impacted by being in this program?

This story is a must read. It is compelling and heart wrenching. I had no idea how Cristofano would end the story, but I was crying buckets by the time it was over. The tears were for me rather than for the story - remembering my homelessness and lack of family, moving from place to place looking for one.


Nan said...

This is fiction, right? I've also wondered about it, and I can't believe her parents were found and killed. But I've seen enough MI-5, and other shows to know that nothing can stay absolutely secret, and that safe houses aren't always safe. On a lighter note, have you seen My Blue Heaven?

Janice said...

oh yes, definitely fiction ... there's a love story there as well, quite sappy and contrived.

Melody said at one point, "it should be called the Witness Relocation Program rather the Witness Protection."

I did see My Blue Heaven - with a younger Steve Martin - very funny - the later Steve Martin not so much. I'm a great fan of Joan Cusack and her brother John