- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (March 15, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671683454
- ISBN-13: 978-0671683450
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,201,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mob Girl: A Woman's Life in the Underworld Hardcover – March 15, 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
Arlyne Weiss grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the daughter of a Jewish mobster who ran an auto sales business as a front. In 1947, aged 14, she made the decision to emulate her heroine, Bugsy Siegel's girlfriend Virginia Hill, and become a gangster's moll. Her teen years were a carnival of sexual promiscuity, forgiven by her doting father but vociferously condemned by her critical mother. Arlyne considered Jewish mobsters too businesslike and tame; she preferred Italians, whom she found dangerous and hence exciting. Briefly married to small-time swindler Norman Brickman (whose last name she retained), she had a daughter who became a drug addict and died of AIDS in 1989. After 25 years in the criminal underworld, Arlyne became first an occasional and then, in 1975, a full-time police informant; she was a major witness in the government's successful case against the Colombo crime family. Carpenter ( Missing Beauty ), who won a Pulitzer for her crime reporting at New York's Village Voice, expertly recounts Arlyne's anomalous tale. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
From an early age, Arlyn Brickman associated with petty and some not so petty racketeering figures, starting with her grandmother and father. Intoxicated by the glamour and flash, she made herself "indispensable" to wiseguys by running errands, carrying packages, or offering her home as a meeting place or safe haven--not to mention the dozens of mob figures with whom she slept. Before long, she vaulted from an adjunct role into the thick of bookmaking, loansharking, and drug dealing. Over a 30-year career, she had eight abortions and endured beatings, humiliations, and a brutal rape, eventually becoming a government informant and witness. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Carpenter has done a superb rendering of Brickman's story. She goes far beyond naming names and retelling events as she digs into Brickman's underlying motivations and vividly re-creates Brickman's exhilaration over her triumphs and pain over her defeats in her pursuit of the mob girl lifestyle. Highly recommended for all public libraries. (Photos not seen). Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/91.
-Lisa Nussbaum, Euclid P.L., Ohio
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Still, I was fascinated to read how a woman could have no morals, and no nice ways about her at all, except for servicing mob guys sexually; then become a rat, and then brag about it in print.
Read this book if you want to read about lowlifes, and how they connive and use people.
This book is not for the faint of heart.
From the time she was 14, Arlyne, who was even then out of control, started hanging around with much older men, often her "uncles", friends of her father. But the Jewish gangsters were too tame, almost too civilized, for Arlyne, who was drawn to the violence and unpredictability of the Italian mob. Beginning as a teenager, Arlyne's life was to trade sex - her bj's were apparently highly sought out, though whether due to their quality or to their easy accessibility is uncertain - for goods, money and "presents" such as furs and jewelry. She was essentially a teenaged whore, and this basic behavior continued most of her adult life until she finally became too old and unattractive to operate.
Arlyne deluded herself into thinking that she was important in the scene, that she was respected and a valued member of Italian street hood society, and, especially as she got older, seems to have been continually surprised that, other than using her to run minor criminal errands such as delivering drugs or collecting loan shark money, they had no regard for her whatsoever, often contemptuously referring to her as a "Jew broad".
She finally entered into a long-term physically abusive relationship with Tony Luca, a small time married hood who regularly beat the hell out of Arlyne. The couple was continually out of money and conniving to get well with minor loan sharking and numbers - and eventually drug enterprises which sputtered along for a while but which invariably failed.
Arlyne also had a daughter, Leslie, during her short-lived marriage to another abusive turd named Norman Brickman. She purports to have loved Leslie, but in fact left her raising to her sister and her parents, when she was not taking her to Florida on Drug runs. Leslie was, as one would suppose, angry and resentful, and became a strung-out heroin addict.
Eventually, obviously of no more interest to the mob, Arlyne became a government informant, an event which comprises a large portion of the book.
What is particularly interesting about "Mob Girl" is that while a great deal of the information was given to Carpenter by Arlyne herself, the book is not an "as told to". Rather Carpenter insisted on writing her own book about Arlyne, and it is instructive that Arlyne, then in her 50s, was needy enough to contact Carpenter herself to suggest it. And the end result is not flattering to Arlyne, who comes across as narcissistic, demanding of constant attention and approbation, impossibly whorish, venal, treacherous, totally selfish, unintelligent, dependent and, ultimately, pathetic.
A few quotes from the epilogue are illustrative. "Virtually everyone for whom
Arlyne had felt any affection was dead, in jail, or on the lam, estranged like Leslie or suspicious like her mother. She stood on the brink of her twilight years, friendless."
Or " That's the way it was with the government. When they needed you, you were the Queen of the May. Otherwise they were on to something else. Another case. Another bust. Another informant. She would never be important again."
I enjoyed reading "Mob Girl". It's never dull, and Carpenter is an excellent writer. And if the Italian mob scene in the 40s, 50, and 60s appeals to you, I predict you'll enjoy it.
Her role models were all 'whores' pretty much and she took to them like white on rice.
As an Italian American woman who has been involved with/around/related to Italian men of this nature, I cannot help but to smirk at the fact that this broad thought those Italian Mobsters actually cared for her?
I was honestly shocked she did not get whacked while she was in the midst or her years of whoring.
I do not feel bad for her at all, she was born into money and prestige and yet she CHOSE to be used and abused by low level 'gangsters'.
It really is a great read and opens doors into a really seedy world.