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Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite
"Streetwise: Mafia Memoirs" by Russell A. Vassallo is a memoir of a kid raised in a world that feared the Mafia. It was a tough life where even saving the life of a friend could mean your own life was at risk. The story tells of the deeper inner workings that move around the Mafia, not just the violence that is told of in Movies and on Television. It also discusses the loyalty, family and respect that is part of the code.
I have always been fascinated with stories of the Mafia and their families. I have watched the movies about them as well. Russell A. Vassallo has managed to do that again for me. This book held me firmly in its grip from the first word to the last. I enjoyed that the focus seemed to be more on the family ties within the Mafia. It shows how it teaches lessons of loyalty and not just the crime side. However, there is plenty of the criminal side as well because it is about the Mafia. This is one of the best memoirs I have read in a while and I am so glad I got the chance to read it and learn from it. There is no doubt that though Russell A. Vassallo was never actually in the “family” himself he walked among them on that razor's edge between the two worlds and gives us the perspective of the personalities he learned from. Anyone who enjoys a good life story will enjoy this book and I heartily recommend it.