Samantha Bonti is fifteen years old, half Jewish and half Italian, and hesitantly edging toward pure Brooklyn. She lives in Bensonhurst with her mother, Joan, a woman poisoned with cynicism and shackled by addictions; and with her Grandma Ruth, Samantha’s loudest and most opinionated source of encouragement. As flawed as they are, they are family. And this is home—a tight-knit community of ancestors and traditions, of controlling mobsters, compliant wives, and charismatic young guys willing to engage in anything illegal to get a shot at playing with the big boys. Yet Samantha has something that even her most simpatico girlfriend, Janice Caputo, doesn’t share—a desire to become a writer and to escape their insular, overcrowded little world and the destiny that is assumed for all of them.
Then comes Tony Kroon. He’s a gorgeous mobster wannabe, a Bensonhurst Adonis whose seductive charms Samantha finds irresistible—even when she knows she’s too smart to fall this deep . . . but Samantha soon finds herself swallowed up by dangerous circumstances that threaten to jeopardize more than her dreams. Grandma Ruth’s advice: Samantha had better write herself out of this story and into a new one, fast.
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Reading Group Guide
Brooklyn Story is the engaging coming-of-age story about Samantha Bonti, a teenage girl growing up in 1970s Brooklyn. An aspiring writer with dreams to someday leave her Bensonhurst community and dysfunctional home life for a new life in Manhattan, Samantha struggles to stay true to herself when she begins a relationship with Anthony Kroon, a “Brooklyn Boy” trying to break into the Brooklyn mafia scene. The devilishly handsome Tony sweeps Samantha off her feet—and into his world of violence, lies, and crime. As her relationship with Tony grows increasingly volatile, Samantha struggles to stay true to her beliefs until her writing can finally pull her across the East River and away from her tumultuous past.
TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Brooklyn Story opens with a Sunnata Vagga quote about coming to peace with abuse by letting go of anger, which says, “Fury will never end fury, it will just ricochet on and on. Only putting it down will end such an abysmal state.& see more