Anna Matteo’s childhood wasn’t like that of most other kids. Most kids didn’t have a Mafiosi for a father, nor were they exposed to dangerous characters on a regular basis. Anna is a master at adapting to everything thrown her way, even while cold reality steals away her innocence. As she learns of the possible danger that might await her around every corner, young Anna devises unique ways to protect herself, including wearing a toy, rubber-pellet gun in a holster, and improvising a survival vest complete with secret compartments, smoke bombs, and poison capsules. A product of loving parents of opposite polarities, Anna grows up with many unresolved, painful issues dogging her heels.
The grownup Anna, a writer, knows she must come to terms with the unfinished story of her childhood and its end, symbolized by the murder of her father. Old friends and enemies inhabit her world, and her Amy-Tan-mu se torments her (“I want you to write for you.”), urging her to complete the book locked inside her, the book that means the final reconciliation with her past, and peace for her soul. In finding the “balance” between her parents, she finds herself.
REVIEWED BY CAROLYN LECOMTE
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