Book Review: The Godmother

THE GODMOTHER | Barbie Latza Nadeau
09.06.2022 | Penguin Books
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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For as long as it has gripped our imaginations, the Mafia has been tied to an ingrained image of masculinity. We read about “made men,” “wiseguys,” and “goodfellas” leading criminal organizations whose culture prizes machismo, with women as ancillary and often-powerless characters: trivialized mistresses and long-suffering mob wives. The reality is far more complex. In The Godmother, investigative journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau tells the stories of the women who have risen to prominence, and fallen out of favor, in the Italian mob, beginning with the most infamous of these women: Pupetta Maresca.

Like most lovers of true crime history, I naturally have a curiosity about the Italian Mafia. Sparked by years of television and movie portrayals, society has formed a very one-sided view of the Mafia as this male-only organization. Nadeau has transformed that mindset with The Godmother and introduced readers to a plethora of examples of how women contribute to the Mafia. I was blown away by the ruthlessness and determination of the women in the stories Nadeau shared. I also learned a massive amount of details about the Mafia’s hold on Italian society that aren’t always spoken about. 

I highly recommend checking this one out if you’re looking for a work of nonfiction to fill your reading list!

A huge thank you to Penguin Books for my gifted copy!

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