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Jenna Bush Hager selects mafia-drama as November book club pick

Dive into the world of organized crime in this coming-of-age story about friendship, loyalty and family.
/ Source: TODAY

After selecting Amor Towles's epic adventure novel "The Lincoln Highway" for her book club pick in October, Jenna Bush Hager is shining a light on a debut novelist with her November 2021 pick.

This month, the Read With Jenna book club is diving into "The Family" by Naomi Krupitsky.

Krupitsky's novel is about two best friends, as close as sisters, who were born as daughters of the Italian mafia in Brooklyn, New York. Sofia Colicchio's bold and loud personality is a perfect balance to her best friend's, Antonia Russo's reserved and quiet nature. As children, they recognize their fathers as powerful men in their community but they don't understand why.

When Antonio's father goes missing, a crack begins to form in their life-long bond.

As they grow into young women with families of their own, their neighborhood of Red Hook grows around them. They become leaders in their community as they push the boundaries of the society they were born into. It all comes to a break on one night, when their loyalty to the Family and to each other faces the ultimate test.

"I got this image of this friendship between these two little girls and in the book, they grow up in apartments that share a wall," Krupitsky tells TODAY, "and that was very clear to me right from the beginning. They have sort of a yin and yang friendship."

When she started the book, Krupitsky says the climactic and violent ending was always clear to her.

"I had to get these two little girls to that end," said the author. "As I started to write the rest of the world just filled itself in."

Krupitsky's novel covers themes of loyalty, friendship, romance and family.

The author said, "One of the most important things to me that I hope readers find is this sense of play between opposites. The characters in the book are really violent, but you really love them. The girls are really sort of polar opposites, but they find strength in each other and that sort of refusal to see anything as black and white really informed me when I was writing."

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