Monday, May 10, 2010

THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE

BY DAVID CRISTOFANO

ABOUT THE BOOK:

When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, and they went gratefully. But the program took Melody's name, her home, her innocence, and, ultimately, her family. She's been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others--everyone but the one person she longs to be: herself. So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in another town, she's stunned when a man confronts her and calls her by her real name
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

David Cristofano has earned degrees in Government & Politics and Computer Science from the University of Maryland at College Park and has worked for different branches of the Federal Government for over a decade. His short works have been published by Like Water Burning and McSweeneys. He currently works in the Washington, D.C. area where he lives with his wife, son and daughter. THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE is his first novel.

READING GROUP GUIDE:

You can go here to click on the Reading Group Guide for THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE. However, if you like, here are the Discussion Questions that it includes:

(1) From the first sentence of the story, the narrator asks you to take part in the action. Why do you suppose David Cristofano decided to tell this story in the first person from the point of view of a woman? Who would have more at stake in witness protection, a man, woman, or child?

(2) Early in the novel, Melody appears conflicted in having feelings for both Sean and Jonathan. What is driving her need for affection? When does she realize she has made a decision? What solidifies this decision?

(3) At various points in the novel, the reader is given a glimpse into the previous six identities Melody has had. Which identity acts as a turning point? What event occurred that changed the trajectory of her life?

(4) The roles of good and evil are repeatedly swapped in Melody’s life. Do both sides—the Feds and the Mafia—possess both good and evil, or are they really polar opposites of one another? How does Melody influence your view of each side?

(5) Though romantically inexperienced, Melody longs to be noticed by both Sean and Jonathan, trying different ways to capture their eyes. In what ways has she felt invisible to men her whole life? How has she overcompensated?

(6) Due to her constant relocation, lack of parental guidance and inability to form lasting relationships, Melody has the body of a woman but the emotional and experiential psyche of a girl. How is this dangerous? What additional problems does this pose for her, given the life she must lead? How does it influence her interaction with all of the men in her life?

(7) Melody’s initial interplay with every authority figure—Farquar, Sean, Donovan, Sanchez—is semi-hostile. What makes Melody react this way? How does Jonathan’s influence have her responding differently by the time she meets his family?

(8) Melody and Sean share a few conversations that expose the failings of WITSEC for both the protectors and the protected. From each of their points of view, how is the system not working? How does it work as intended? How is WITSEC more or less vital to the Justice Department today?

(9) Jonathan tries to distinguish himself from his Mafia ties in several ways. How has he successfully achieved this? In what ways is he a typical Mafioso?

(10) Melody is scarred by the explicit violence she witnesses at age six. Repeatedly, she attempts to rid Jonathan of his reactionary viciousness to seemingly topical problems. Though later in the story, she finds security in his violent behavior. What changes her mind? Would you react the same way? Why or why not?

(11) Throughout the entire novel, the importance of identity is explored. How is the life Melody has led different from that of a foster child? Of a prisoner? Of an individual living under communist rule? How are they the same?

(12) How do the tangible things in Melody’s story—the food, clothes, cars, hotels—reflect her happiness, security and satisfaction? Are these things metaphorical or incidental? Would her story be different if things were reversed? Why or why not?

(13) Being in WITSEC for twenty years has had a negative impact on Melody. In what ways has it made her stronger?

(14) What is the significance of the chapter titles? How do they differ? What is the special significance of the final chapter’s title

REVIEW:


David Christofano has written a fast paced, page turner in THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE. When Melody was only 6 year old, she and her parents were witnesses to a terrible murder in the Little Italy section of New York. Because of that, the family was put into the Federal Witness Program. I have always been fascinated with this program and so this book grabbed me right away.

Melody continued in the program, basically hiding out for 20 years. Always changing names and descriptions, she hardly knew herself. Then in a cruel twist of fate, love finds Melody and put her in an unbelievable position. She falls in love with Jonathan which is difficult when you are in this program as you must be ready to run at a moment’s notice if need be. And did I mention that Jonathan just happens to be the son of the person that her parents testified against in that long ago murder case? Melody is lost as she never has made close relationships before because she knew there was always a chance she would have to pick up and move and become someone else. But this romance just happened and there was no stopping it. There is such a strong attraction between Melody and Jonathan that it can’t be denied. And what of Jonathan? He knows he should do the proper thing and feels the pressure of “the family” closing in on him.

So where can this relationship lead and what will they do? THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE has many twists and turns and many of the other people in the story play important roles in Melody’s life, but none more important than the Witness Protection Program that has not only stolen her life and identity but her ability to react and feel emotionally comparable with her age. What becomes of Melody is a question that will bring up many questions and why I think this is a wonderful book for a book club to read as there will be no problem having a discussion on this one.

GIVEAWAY
THANKS TO VALERIE AND THE
HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, I HAVE
THREE COPIES OF THIS EXCITING
BOOK TO GIVE AWAY!



--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT THIS BOOK IN THE INFORMATION AND REVIEW ABOVE

+1 MORE ENTRY:
BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND THEN COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK

+1 MORE ENTRY:
COMMENT ON IF YOU ARE A GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT FOLLOWER AND IF YOU AREN'T, YOU CAN BECOME ONE AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE (AIMING FOR 700 SOON?)

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MAY 27

GOOD LUCK!

90 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I am a GFC follower

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I found interesting the extent to which the Witness Protection Program can affect you!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

debbie said...

I am a gfc follower.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

debbie said...

I find it interesting she made it through a childhood like that, only to meet and fall in love with the son of the people responsible for her childhood. It sounds like a very good book to read
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Kristin said...

I am a Google Friends Follower.

k2reader@gmail.com

Kristin said...

I found it interesting that she has gone through so many names.

k2reader@gmail.com

Kaye said...

Follower thru google friend connect.

florida982002[at]yahoo.com

Kaye said...

The witness protection program just creates a new "you" and it takes over your life. Must be scary in a way but then again it is for the person's protection. Still it must be really hard to shed the old persona and I think reading about Melody's experience would be very interesting.

bermudaonion said...

I thought this book was loads of fun! No need to enter me.

LoveMy2Dogs said...

Following via GFC

jrandtam[at]columbus.rr.com

LoveMy2Dogs said...

I was surprised to find out about the guy she was in love with. How awful.

jrandtam[at]columbus.rr.com

LoveMy2Dogs said...

tweeted

http://twitter.com/lovemy2doggies/status/13725268448

jrandtam[at]columbus.rr.com

Book Whisperer said...

I follow through google connect....

bkwhisperer(at)bluemarble(dot)net

Book Whisperer said...

First and for most I absolutely loved this book.... I have been able to find it to add to my collection just yet, so count me in. I could believe after having read it that it was a man author. This book being told from the woman perspective was right on defintely through me for a loop learning that it was a man writer.

bkwhisperer(at)bluemarble(dot)net

tetewa said...

I'm a follower, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

traveler said...

This intriguing story and plot has me fascinated. Thanks for this giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Colleen Turner said...

I am a GFC follower!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I found the concept of the book fascinating. How intriguing that the group who is best trying to help her and her family through the devastating situation they found themselves in (the witness protection program) ends up having such a negative affect on the main character.
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

Colleen Turner said...

I am glad I became a BOOKIN' WITH BINGO II FB fan!
candc320@gmail.com

Mash1195 said...

Am a google friend connect follower.
CMash
Mash1195(at)aol(dot)com

Mash1195 said...

According to the review it is a fast paced type of read, and this is his 1st novel!!! Wondering what his subsequent novels will be like. This sounds like my type of book.
CMash
Mash1195(at)aol(dot)com

Darcie K. said...

I follow via Google Friend Connect
dmkayes@gmail.com

Darcie K. said...

I think that the Witness Protection Program is a very interesting topic. I have always wondered what that would be like.
dmkayes@gmail.com

Tore said...

The Witness Protection Program interests me. Please enter me in contest. Thank you. Tore923@aol.com

Anonymous said...

This book's plot sounds fascinating and mysterious. How do individuals in witness protection keep from getting their identities mixed up? How does one just leave their previous life behind?

monagarg@yahoo.com

Margie said...

blog follower via GFC
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

Sounds like a fascinating book..to see how the Witness Protection Program would cause you problems and yet at the same time make you stronger.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I'm also a follower.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Jo-Jo said...

I have always found stories about the witness protection program interesting. Please enter me.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Amy said...

I have always been fascinated by the Witness Protection Program but I don't know a lot about it. I love that it is central to the story in this book and that the author, David Cristofano has worked for various branches of the federal Government for various years. I'm hoping he has a very good idea of what the WPP is all about and that it's found it's way into his book!

Thank you for a great giveaway!

Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

Amy said...

I am a google friend connect follower!

Aimala127@gmail.com

Renee said...

I'm a google friend connect follower

reneesuz82(at)msn(dot)com

Renee said...

I've never read a book about someone in the witness protection program; that intrigues me

reneesuz82(at)msn(dot)com

holdenj said...

I am a google friend connect follower.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

The Witness Protection Progam aspect of it is very interesting. That is a long time to forget about your "real" life. It looks good, thanks for the chance to win.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I follow with GFC.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

The WPP is interesting, how it works and how the people can have normal lives. I'm very interested in reading this book.

Wendy
ebeandebe at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

If she was 6 when she went into witness protection, how did Jonathon know her 20 years later?


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

honeydew said...

I find books that have to do with law enforcement interesting. Especially if your going into the witness protection program.

honeydew69862004 at yahoo dot com

enyl said...

My intrest is piued b the fact the the Witness Protection Program needed to change her identity so frequently. I'm wondering if that is a common occurence for participants?
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

Tweeted.
twitter.com@enylstil#girl
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

GFC follower.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

Kim said...

I have always found anything to do with the witness protection program to be interesting. This book sounds fascinating.
I would love to win a copy!
*smiles*
Kim
kimmery4(at)yahoo(dot)com

Kim said...

I follow you through google friends.
kimmery4(at)yahoo(dot)com

Jessica said...

A book about the witness protection program sounds cool.

jessica(at)fan(dot)com

Jessica said...

I'm a follower.

jessica(at)fan(dot)com

CarolNWong said...

I am a retired federal employee and was disappointed when the WPP was not moved to our branch of the government. I wanted to learn more about it, think it is fascinating.

CarolNWong@aol.com

CarolNWong said...

I am a GFC follower and an e-mail subscriber (since I forget to check for the latest!).



CarolNWong@aol.com

Debi said...

Most young girls have a difficult time figuring out who they are, what they want and need but add in the drama of being on the run...she must be very confused. Then to fall for the son of the guy they testified against. She must feel so conflicted. Please count me in!

debraldufek AT hotmail DOT com

Carol W. said...

I'm a Google Friend Connect follower.

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol W. said...

The inclusion of the Federal Witness Protection Program intrigues me.

wolfcarol451(at)gmail(dot)com

Laura said...

I have always thought about what it would be like to move somewhere that no one knew you and start over, while the circumstances in the book are different than that but the concept is the same and I am fascinated to read about that.
I am also a google follower.
Laura
laura.leahj@gmail.com

Elle said...

I found it interesting how Melody can build a life or find a sense of self with so little stability.

lafilledreaming@gmail.com

bison61 said...

interesting the witness protection program-she was hiding out for 20 years. that would be so hard.

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Jo-Jo said...

I blogged about the contest here.
joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

Kristen said...

I think it was interesting that he chose to write from the POV of a woman.

couponboss at gmail dot com

Pamela Keener said...

I follow your blog via GFC.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

I love the premise of this book.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

BettyMc (Reflections with Coffee) said...

I follow via google friend
bmcbroomATgmailDOTcom

BettyMc (Reflections with Coffee) said...

interesting that she was in hiding over 20 years. The reader's guide questions were interesting: the question about material things.
bmcbroomATgmailDOTcom

Beverly said...

I am a google reader follower

beachlover20855[AT]yahoo[DOT]com

Beverly said...

This seems like an interesting read. I cannot imagine being in a Witness Protection program for all of those years and having to change identities.

beachlover20855[AT]yahoo[DOT]com

Christine H said...

I'm a GFC follower

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

This book sounds very Intriqing. With an entire life in the witness protection program, I'd like to see how it ends and if she ever gets to come out of hiding.

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

Tweet: http://twitter.com/Romantic73/status/14101467993

chirth7@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

I couldn't imagine having to raise my family in the witness protection program. The book sounds very interesting.

shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

I'm a GFC follower
shundelt@yahoo.com

Shirley said...

http://twitter.com/Grandmamaof10/status/14170997267

shundelt@yahoo.com

Debbie F said...

FAn on Facebook!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

I'm a follower - GFC

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

I know that many of us would love to be able to change our names and start a new life, at least for alittle while, but to realize the extend that that kind of life can affect you is not really thought about. I think this would be a great read - count me in! Thanks!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

tawnda said...

I find it interesting that the witness protection program goes to extreme lengths... and still, it seems, some people are just meant to be found...

tawnda said...

google follower

Arch said...

I have heard about the Federal Witness Protection Program and would like to know how it affects the actual people(witness) involved in it.

archanaskorner(at)gmail(dot)com

Jolee said...

gfc subscriber joleehamlin at comcast dot net

Jolee said...

The premise of the romance sounds very interesting. joleehamlin at comcast dot net

Jen said...

I agree with you- I'm fascinated by the witness protection program, so that got my attention right away. Sounds like a great story!

jrs0020 AT gmail DOT com

Jen said...

I tweeted about the giveaway:
http://twitter.com/ferbird/status/14328596779

jrs0020 AT gmail DOT com

Jen said...

I follow on google friend connect!

jrs0020 AT gmail DOT com

LAMusing said...

I follow on GFC

adrianecoros(at)gmail.com

LAMusing said...

The idea of changing identity, and all that would mean, is intriguing.

adrianecoros(at)gmail.com

Margie said...

I found BWB's fan page!
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

MRWriter said...

I'm a GFC follower.
AlexDean03@yahoo.com

MRWriter said...

Like you, I've always wondered what it would be like to live under the Witness Protection program and how a person can ever have a "normal" life. This sounds like an exciting but informative novel. My favorite!
AlexDean03@yahoo.com

Amy said...

I tweeted this giveaway:

http://twitter.com/Amestir/status/14782731900

Thank you!

~ Amy
Aimala127@gmail.com

degood said...

I follow your blog as degood with google friend connect.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

degood said...

I think the federal witness protection program is interesting and adds a whole different dimension to this book and for that reason, i would find it fascinating to read.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

Melanie said...

I think a story about the challenges of being in the witness protection program is interesting. Also, the fact that David Cristofano worked for the federal government means this story is probably accurate to how things really happen.

peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

Melanie said...

I am a Google Friend Connect follower.

peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

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