On The Run: A Mafia Childhood by Gregg & Gina Hill

Cover ImageFinished 5-6-08, rating 4/5, non-fiction, pub. 2004

“My father is the single most irresponsible and uncaring person I’ve ever known.”  Gregg Hill, Chapter 2

When I read (and reviewed) Gangsters and Goodfellas by Henry Hill I found a man who thought very highly of himself and who liked to skip over details that he didn’t think were important.  I decided to follow up that book with this one written by his children about their lives with their father and I am so glad I did.  This is the story of two kids still in hiding from the Mob who have had their lives irrecoverably changed by their father and his choices.

Gregg and Gina spent their childhoods with parties in their house full of drugs, sex, and mobsters or when Henry was in jail, visiting him.  Gregg never really had a close relationship with his father.  He saw what was going on and wanted no part of it.  Gina idolized her father and it wouldn’t be until much later that she saw him for what he was.

When Henry decided to enter the Witness Protection Program with his family, Gregg and Gina viewed it in different ways.  Gregg thought Henry was being selfish and Gina was grateful that Henry wanted the kids with him.  Their first stop was in Nebraska, where they only made it two months before being shipped off to Kentucky for a little longer, and then on to Washington State where they would both finish school.  These moves were necessitated because Henry could not quit breaking the rules and putting them in danger.

There was violence, alcohol, drugs and more arrests to mar the way to adulthood, but it seems that Gregg and Gina have turned out okay.  The book is thoughtful, heartbreaking, and full of harsh reality.  This was a great read and a real look inside the family life of a Mobster who didn’t really want to escape from his past, but his kids did.

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