TITLE: The Good Mothers
AUTHOR: Alex Perry
TRIGGER WARNING: talks of drugs and trafficking
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HarperCollinsNZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review!
GENRE: True Crime
You are born into it or marry in. Loyalty is absolute, bloodshed revered and you kill or go to your grave before betraying The Family. This code of omertà is how the ‘Ndrangheta became the world’s most powerful mafia. The Good Mothers is the story of the women who broke the silence.
We live in their buildings, work in their companies, shop in their stores, eat in their restaurants and elect politicians they fund. Founded more than 150 years ago by shepherding families in the toe of Italy, the ’Ndrangheta is today the world’s most powerful mafia, with a crushing presence in southern Italy, a market-moving size in global finance and a reach that extends to fifty countries around the world. And yet, remarkably, few of us have ever heard of it.
The ’Ndrangheta’s power rests on a code of silence, omertà, enforced by a claustrophobic family hierarchy and murderous misogyny. Men and boys rule. Girls are married off as teenagers in arranged clan alliances. Beatings are routine. A woman who is ‘unfaithful’ – even to a dead husband – can expect her sons, brothers or father to kill her to erase the ‘family shame’.
In 2009, when abused wife Lea Garofalo ‘disappears’ after giving evidence against her mafiosi husband, prosecutor Alessandra Cerreti realises the ’Ndrangheta’s bigotry may be its great flaw. The key to bringing down this criminal empire is to free its women and allow them to speak out and testify. When Alessandra finds two collaborators inside Italy’s biggest crime families, she must persuade them to cooperate, and save themselves and their children. The stakes could not be higher. Alessandra is fighting to save a nation. The mafiosi are fighting for their existence. The women are fighting for their lives. Not all will survive.
The good mothers by Alex Perry is a recounting of the fownfall of one of the largest Italian mafias known to date. This is the story of three women, Lea Garofalo, Guiseppina Pesce, Maria Concetta Cacciola. Three woman who spoke out, who defied Omertà and brought down the ‘Ndrangheta.
I will admit that the first 100 pages were quite dry, both in content and the way they were written which lead this to fall short of a 5 Star rating. But once I pushed past this, I enjoyed the writing and content as much as in HUNTING EL CHAPO.
This was a story that by the end provokes emptions, from the heartfelt messages at Lea’s funeral, to the horrors these women endured, it was a tale of survival that managed to leave me wishing nothing but the best for any woman, child or any person even, stuck in the situation they were.
This story details how they all one by one went to the Italian police, and the rocky roads they had to traverse to give their evidence to bring down the mafia. From returning home for the good of their children, to being beaten to death, these woman endured more than they ever should have had to.
Taking away the emotional factor and the woman of this story, i learnt a lot about Italian procedure and a large mafia family. While there’s always those novels about mafia families that romanticise it, this really showed it for the brainwashing thing it was and it was such an enlightening thing for that fact alone.
I recommend this to anyone interested in true crime, or even if you want to write a book with mafia elements in it, you will gain so much knowledge from this one.
Until next time,