The Girl She Used To Be: Book Review

The Girl She Used To Be
By David Cristofano

The novel is about Melody, and her family.  She and her family witnessed a brutal act of violence. They were then put into the Witness Protection Program.  She, and her family lost their home, their identity. Melody eventually looses her family as well.
She has had several times had to change her identity.

As the book opens, 20 years later. She is now a grown woman. She is teaching to high school students. Melody is restless and bored and wants to change her life. Melody contacts Sean, from the Witness Program.   While this is happening the son, Jonathan of the murderer, (family is mafioso). Jonathan follows her and they converse with each other. She loves the attention, the thrill, the freedom. She goes with him willingly defying the witness program.  For a few days the Feds don't know where she went.

They both fall head over heals with each other. Jonathan has a plan. He wants her to meet his family. He has a idealistic idea. He thinks once everyone meets her they will fall in love with her the way he has. They travel to his home.  Jonathan brings her into the house to meet everyone. At first, the family think Jonathan is joking. He introduces her as Melody. The family think he is joking they realize he is not joking. 

The Bravaro family don't want any part of her. She begs and pleads with them to accept her.

I am not going to spoil the rest. But this is my take of the book.

My Thoughts: I had a hard time accepting her motivation. I could not relate to Melody in the beginning. But because she didn't have a life or a identity, this was her coping mechanism. Why would she want to change her life again.?Why would she want to be with a mafioso that killed her family? and changed her life forever?

Melody was starving for affection.  She showed her desperation by being compulsive, and reckless with her life, and not any regard for others.

I felt like slapping Melody a few times.  Are you crazy begging them to accept you. They should be begging Melody for forgiveness. 

I had a hard time with the book in the beginning, I felt like I would never let myself be in this situation. She was very gullible, and pathetic. 

I have a hard time with books when female characters are victimized and let themselves get in this situation. Especially when they don't do anything to help themselves. Melody did not feel like she was real to me.  I felt like is, the author kidding.

It must be very hard to go place to place without roots to lay down. Within a few months you move again. I would imagine you have a hard time connecting with people. Because as a young child you keep moving. You can't get close to anyone in case someone realizes who you are. One part of the story,

 But the end of the book I did feel satisfied, it felt more realistic than the beginning of the book.  

"She is very grateful to Jonathan for her freedom. She mistook love for her grateful of her freedom.

I read this for our book club. Most of the book club said" The family did not trust her". I am asking trust her are you kidding, it should be the other way around, role reversal.  They are the ones that are dangerous and should ask her, for forgiveness.  Most of us felt like shaking her and we could not relate. But we were not in her shoes either. We all felt this was a different kind of book. There are not many books based on the Witness Protection Program. That was interesting background. The book was a fast read. Most of us read in one or two days.


bermudaonion said…
Melody was very annoying at times, but I still thought this book was fun.
It was unrealistic,I am talking about the situations she was in. that is probably why I had a hard time relating to her, and Jonathan. Also, I am not into romance, this book had romantic themes. There were crazy situations, especially meeting Jonathan's mafioso family.

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