Dressing a Tiger by Maggie San Miguel
A father (Jack Dahlstrom) serving the Mob, hit men moonlighting as babysitters, an uncle in the Secret Service, famous politicians amongst family friends, a mother in need of shock therapy, and a kid who eavesdrops and remembers it all. Maggie San Miguel shares her unique childhood in this funny and poignant memoir reminiscent of The Godfather meets Running with Scissors. Her father’s prior knowledge of the Kennedy assassination and his unique friendships with Jack Ruby, John Connally, Henry Wade and infamous Mafia bosses Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana and Paul Castellano is a story untold until now. As a negotiator for the Teamsters Union and a high-ranking associate of the Mob, Jack Dahlstrom collected an impressive array of friends and Mafia secrets that were never meant to see the light of day. Maggie San Miguel has just opened the blinds.
Follow along as Maggie, as a precocious 5 year old gets tricked into going to the dentist with her father’s friend Jimmy. Jimmy is more muscle for Jack Dahlstrom but does have a soft spot for Maggie. We continue along as Maggie shares meeting the different people that her father knows and does her best to avoid a mother that clearly has mental issues.
It is clear that although Maggie is a sweet child, one night in Austria bursts the bubble of childhood and opens her eyes to the world she really is in. While we follow along with Maggie, we also learn about the origins of her mother and father, what helped lead to her mother’s mental break down and many other adventures. It is a hard world that she lived in and she had to be tough to make it though.
I loved following along with Maggie on her different adventures. The Geisha’s and the ceiling and her selling things to earn money for Christmas stand out in my mind. But her life is not easy, especially when you learn how her mother could have used some help of her own. But I loved the look inside the lives of the famous people that we only hear bits and pieces about and only through the news. It breathes life into those names that you just read a blurb on Wikipedia about.
This is a great story and one that I recommend. It’s a joy to follow Maggie as the grows and to see the inner workings behind some players in the Mob. I really liked touching on the Kennedy assassination.
I received Dressing a Tiger from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.