Never Tell Our Business to Strangers: A Memoir

Never Tell Our Business to Strangers: A Memoir

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Never Tell Our Business to Strangers: A Memoir by Jennifer Mascia, Robin Miles

When Jennifer Mascia is five years old, the FBI comes for her father. At that moment Jenny realizes that her family isn’t exactly normal. What follows are months of confusion marked by visits with her father through thick glass, talking to him over a telephone attached to the wall. She and her mother crisscross the country, from California to New York to Miami and back again. When her father finally returns home, months later, his absence is never explained—and Jenny is told that the family has a new last name.  It’s only much later that Jenny discovers that theirs was a life spent on the lam, trying to outrun the law.

Thus begins the story of Jennifer Mascia’s bizarre but strangely magical childhood. An only child, she revels in her parents’ intense love for her—and rides the highs and lows of their equally passionate arguments. They are a tight-knit band, never allowing many outsiders in. And then there are the oddities that Jenny notices only as she gets older: the fact that her father had two names before he went away—in public he was Frank, but at home her mother called him Johnny; the neat, hidden hole in the carpet where her parents keep all their cash. The family sees wild swings in wealth—one year they’re shopping for Chanel and Louis Vuitton at posh shopping centers in Los Angeles, the next they’re living in one room and subsisting on food stamps.
What have her parents done? What was the reason for her father’s incarceration so many years ago? When Jenny, at twenty-two, uncovers her father’s criminal record during an Internet search, still more questions are raised. By then he is dying of cancer, so she presses her mother for answers, eliciting the first in a series of reluctant admissions about her father’s criminal past. Before her mother dies, four years later, Jenny is made privy to one final, riveting confession, which sets her on a search for the truth her mother fought to conceal for so many years. As Jenny unravels her family’s dark secrets, she must confront the grisly legacy she has inherited and the hard truth that her parents are not—and have never been—who they claimed to be. In the face of unimaginable tragedy, Jenny will ultimately find an acceptance and understanding just as meaningful and powerful as her parents’ love.

In a memoir both raw and unwavering, Jennifer Mascia tells the amazing story of a life lived—unwittingly—with criminals. Full of great love and enormous loss, Never Tell Our Business to Strangers will captivate and enthrall, both with its unrelenting revelations and its honest, witty heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441751478
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 06/01/2010
Pages: 13
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Jennifer Mascia graduated from Hunter College in 2001, and in 2007 she received an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has spent the past three years as the nightside news assistant on the Metro desk of The New York Times.

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Never Tell Our Business to Strangers 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Jentor69 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It's an emotional memoir of a young girl growing up in an confused, ever changing world. I am not a "cryer" but I cried like a baby during the parts when her parents pass away. This was my first Nook Book and I am glad I read this book. It's worth the read for sure!
GTVert02 More than 1 year ago
This story could have been told a hundred different ways. I started this book out with really high hopes, and maybe that's why I was let down. It was a good story to tell, however, it could have ended with 100 less pages. It began to be drawn out, and in the end, this book took me about 4.5 months to even finish which is really long for me to even read a book. I read the first half in a few days. The story just really lost me after the first half.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't Tell Our Business to Strangers is an enticing thriller that leads us in Jennifer Mascia's past. Her father was arrested when she was five and ever since she was a teenager she had been asking her mom for the details for that arrest. The title comes from a childhood memory when her mom told her "we don't tell our business to strangers," and I think it goes well with the book since her parents hid her from the morbid truth. She had to become creative to find out the truth about her family. This book is endearing and at times sad, but the combination makes it a good read. I recommend to everyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sewgirl More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this non-fictional story of a young woman who became more aware of her parents' background (and more about how it affected her life), after her parents died. She was always told just enough information to satisfy her throughout her years of growing up, but later discovers so much more about her father's criminal past, and her parents' lives, from how they met, and continuing on through the years. If you enjoy reading true stories, this book is very interesting. I wondered how I would feel if the author's life had been mine. It makes you think! JK
Betsybov More than 1 year ago
This memoir might have been good if the main character wasn't crying all the time. I read it word for word faithfully for the first half, but it just dragged on with more and more of the same. Finally ended up skimming the remainder of the book. I donated my book to my local library for their resale shop.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Mascia never really understood how to connect the pieces of her puzzling family life until much later. She never quite understood the unusual family dynamic until she started asking questions. Her memory wouldn't allow her to recollect when the FBI came to cuff her father, but every memory after that was crisp and clear. "Jesse, are they arresting my daddy?" He told the five-year-old they were making a movie, but do movies really take away daddies? She loved her Daddy Cassese Mascia, but did not understand that Frank Cassese was her father Johnny's alias. Things blended together in her young mind. Jenbo, as she became known to the family, would have a lot of questions to ask, but in the meantime, she would live a lie and hear more of them. One certainty, delivered from her mother Eleanor's lips was that, "You must never tell our business to strangers.they are not your family. They are not your blood." (p. 35) Her father had spilled a lot of blood and silence was the key to their survival. Jenbo saw a lot of unusual things, but as a saucy teenager she ignored them. There was the "bank account" hidden in the floor. Her father's carpet business was sold and they were moving again. Sometimes they were "slumming in style" and other times they collected food stamps. They busted out credit cards because her mother had a penchant for high fashion. Up until the business was sold everything seemed normal to her. Later she began to ask questions, questions that would lead to more questions. She was wondering why her father spent twelve years in prison and was worried it was for something horrible like rape. When she asked her mother for a few specifics, it turned out to be something much more sinister than she expected. Jenbo certainly didn't expect her mother to say, "Your father was an associate of one of the criminal families in New York."(p. 81) Why did he murder these men? Was it "four, maybe five?" Why would her mother stay with a man like that? Did she really know who her father was? This narrative, on one level was very disappointing, but heartening on another. The premise that this book would be an exposé on mob life and Jennifer Mascia's family's involvement was cursory at best. References to mob life surfaced when Jennifer later, as an adult, understood the reason why her father was taken away and once again when she began her search to find out about her parent's deep dark secrets. The writing was unfortunately pedestrian with an overwhelming amount of personal detail and resurrected dialogue. What I did like was Mascia's discovery of how special her family life was. The obstacles her parents had to overcome to hide their past from their daughter in order to make her life secure and to make her feel loved were admirable. This was a memoir of a dysfunctional couple who were determined to bypass their own fallibility to give their child a better life. Quill says: If you are going into this book thinking "Sorpranos," you will be gravely disappointed, but if you approach it expecting to find a family who escaped the clutches of the mob and found love, you will enjoy the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NAZ_Pankey More than 1 year ago
Dear Writer, I read only a few chapters of your book, and I love it! My best friend, who lives on Staten Island, was browsing Barnes and Nobles website, when she came across your memoir. She sent a message to my facebook mail with your link. She and I are going to read it and discuss it, together. I just ordered my copy and she is ordering too. I like your tone and style of writing. Futhermore, I believe you have an interestiing, exciting, and powerful story with some caveats. I can't wait to read the whole book. THANKS for sharing your story and Good luck, N.A.Z. Pankey