‘“ Remember, Bambina. The best revenge is success,” her father tells her as he leaves for prison…’ An irresistible story about love, greed and delusion, and how the truth—after it knocks you down—really can set you free.
Why I love it
In the Prousalis family, love and money were so intertwined that they seemed like one and the same. The eldest daughter Christina wanted for nothing: a wild animal trainer entertained at her tenth birthday party; when she turned fourteen, her presents included a $2,000 Tiffany watch and a cameo role on Dawson's Creek. And when love faltered—as it did on the day her dad Tom lost his temper and threw her against a wall—lavish gifts were the remedy. Tom left the house and returned with a fancy Scarlett O'Hara doll in a velvet-ribboned box.
And then it all came crashing down. In this riveting, thoughtful memoir, Christina traces the fallout (both material and emotional) after her father's business deals with Jordan Belfort (aka the "Wolf of Wall Street") resulted in a securities fraud conviction in 2000. With Tom in prison, his family lost their home, their belongings, their very selves: if love is possessions, what are you once they're gone? Hardest of all for Christina, then 19, was believing that the father she adored had built her fairytale childhood on lies—and was lying still. Prousalis insisted he was innocent, even as he laundered money in Christina's name, stealing her identity and plunging her into $100,000 worth of debt. To distance herself from it all, Christina ultimately changed her last name to McDowell.
When the movie The Wolf of Wall Street opened in 2013, Christina wrote an open letter to Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio in which she castigated them for glorifying Belfort's (and her father's) crimes. The letter quickly went viral. (Her father then wrote a vitriolic open letter in which he castigated her for the letter she'd written.)
There's a rubbernecking-at-the-car-crash aspect to reading about Christina's fall: her spiral into drugs and alcohol, her desperate promiscuity, her abandonment of acting dreams for sleazy bar jobs that paid the rent. She isn't always easy to like—you just know she was that snooty Mean Girl in high school—but she wins you over with her smarts and the sincerity of her struggle to understand her past and move beyond its soul-deadening materialism.
"Remember, Bambina. The best revenge is success," her father tells her as he leaves for prison. You finish the book thinking she’s found success, but not in the way he meant. Hers is an irresistible story about love, greed and delusion, and how the truth'”after it knocks you down'”really can set you free.
Christian provides a very interesting perspective of what money and high society can do to a family.
I loved this book! An interesting insight to another part of life that isn't typically showcased.
Honest writing. You cant help but feel for her
My heart went out to her!
Royal Oak, MI
East Wenatchee, WA
Sparks Glencoe, MD
New York, NY
Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
Not a bad read but got tired of the author's constant name dropping and entitled "poor me" mentality. Would have liked her to address her own refusal to live within her means, somewhere other than LA.
Her ability to stick allow her parents to manipulate her is heartbreaking & left me thinking about my relationship with my parents long after I finished. Just wish she took responsibility for her part
Loved the Wolf of Wall Street for all its glamorous depictions of new money. However this auto biography had me rethinking and completely connecting with a disillusioned youth and a quest for truth.