Not In Jersey: What I’ve Been Reading #120 What I’ve Been Reading #120 - Not In Jersey

What I’ve Been Reading #120

Friday, April 15, 2016


This book surprised me by appearing in a pile of things and I had no memory of where it came from. When I opened the cover though, I saw that the book was autographed and made out to my mom, I realized that she had brought over a few books when she was here for Thanksgiving and this was one of them! S.W.A.K. by Adriana and George Sifakis reads like a diary of a family, with chapters that seem to be basically unconnected and rather snapshots of a young girl’s life.

“’Every knock is a boost.’ That is the motto of Ma, the unhinged and controlling matriarch of the Napolitano family. Ma stomps through life on her own terms, teaching what she considers life’s most valuable skills to her twin boys and sickly, sheltered daughter, Lauren. Ma’s peculiar ideas about love, survival, and parenting directly mold her children; her lessons include using whatever means necessary to get by (even if those means include theft, arson, harassment, and fraud), doing what it takes to even the score, the importance of blood ties, the solace of a stiff drink, and the cold and calculating art of revenge. S.W.A.K. is a coming-of-age story that follows Lauren as she struggles through a tangled and complex mother–daughter relationship to the creation of her own identity and worldview outside of Ma’s influence. Uncovering a treacherous secret is the ultimate test of Lauren’s resilience as she is faced with acknowledging a heart-wrenching fact or living in a dangerous world of denial.”

The story takes place in suburban New Jersey, and the things that the family encounters range from normal situations to bizarre situations. At first, it is not obvious that there is a real problem with Ma, whose first name we never learn. At one point though, I found myself wondering if she suffered from a certain psychological problem – one that I cannot mention without spoiling the book’s conclusion! The ending was well done and appreciated!

What have you been reading lately?