In Five-Finger Discount by Helene Stapinsky, the author details her life growing up in tough Jersey City, New Jersey. This is long before Jersey City's recent revitalization efforts.
Helene grew up in a family that was, shall we say, dysfunctional. When she was five, her grandfather tried to kill her whole family.
She tells us all about her family's (mis)adventures while also giving a real feeling of Jersey City's history. Surprise, surprise, Jersey had several crooked mayors. Crooked politicians in New Jersey? Say it ain't so!
Helene has a great sense of humor, calling Jersey City residents "Jersey Citizens" and saying about her trips to Journal Square:
Because of the Journal Square bus and Path station, the area also attracted the homeless, who back then were called bums.Parts of this book are very funny and some of it is very sad. Helene, however, was smart and made something of her life. She graduated from New York University and Columbia University and has worked as a journalist. Her story makes for fascinating reading.
Disclosure: I purchased this book.