Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
"On my fifth day in class, the teacher asked each of us in turn to spell our name for the other students... It sure would've been easier to spell May Adams, but wouldn't you know, without even giving it a second thought, there I was, unveiling myself to my teacher, her aide, and seventeen other first graders."
And so, the story of Melody McCartney - aka May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, Sandra Clarke and many others - begins.
When she is only 6 years old, Melody and her parents were the only witnesses in the brutal killing of an Italian restaurant owner. Scooped into the Witness Protection Program, the government promises to keep the family safe. Little does she know, but after 20 years in the WITSEC program and after the ultimate death of her parents, Melody's life will be in the hands of Jonathan Bovaro, one of the four sons of Tony Bovaro, the man who committed the vicious murder.
This book was a merry-go-round of emotions and evoked feelings in me I didn't realize I had. The trials and tribulations of poor Melody over the 20 years of "so-called" federal protection are marred only by the in-your-face criminal activity of the mafia family which threatens her very existence. I felt sadness at the robbery of her innocence, empathy at her lack of a normal life, elation in her love for Jonathan, and blood-curdling fear as her life is eventually exposed. I could not put this book down!
Cristofano's prose flowed gracefully through this book like Jonathan's red Audi through the streets of New York and New Jersey. The "Billy Idol" monologue in the bar with the college guy was hilarious - I'm talking laugh out loud, pee my pants, make my hubby look at me strange, funny! (see page 102).
The Girl She Used To Be is currently the best book I've read so far in 2009. With his snappy dialogue and human emotions, David Cristofano is an author I will be eagerly watching in the future. Having originally checked this book out of my local public library, this is a book I have giddily added to my home library.