Real Housewives Of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga’s publisher has kindly released to the world, the first chapter of her book Love Italian Style: The Secrets of My Hot and Happy Marriage.
It’s no joke that I married my father. Anthony Marco was, like Joe Gorga, a Leo, in the construction business, Italian, and from Jersey. He and my mother raised my two sisters and me in a comfortable house in Toms River. My father’s job was investing in properties, and building and selling them. We were the first family to get a Lincoln Town Car on our block, in 1989. I’ll never forget the Christmas that my father surprised my mother with his and hers Rolex watches. I thought it was so sweet and romantic. We always had new clothes, plenty of food to eat, and some luxuries. But I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth by any stretch of the imagination.
My parents got together when they were seventeen years old, and kept that teenage, obsessive love going for all their years together. Anthony was Donna’s one and only, her first and only. They had a traditional marriage. He went to work, and she stayed home with the three girls. My sisters Kim and Lysa were ten and twelve years older than me. I was the baby, their doll. They’d dress me up and play with my hair. I’d stand on the coffee table in the living room and sing. My father loved it when I sang, and always broke out the Camcorder to make a video. By the time I was eight, my sisters were eighteen and twenty. I always felt like I had three moms. My mother and father treated me like an only child. I was their baby, and they fussed over me.
This idyllic life came crashing down when I was a freshman in high school. I tried out for the freshman cheerleading squad. The coach posted the final list, and my name wasn’t there. All my friends were on it, though. I was devastated. I congratulated them, and they took pity on me.
Then, the coach put up the final list for varsity. My name was up there. I was as shocked as everyone else. This was unheard of, for a freshman to make varsity. My friends—so consoling when they thought I’d been cut from the freshman squad—were now sharpening their claws.
The older girls on varsity hated me, too. They screamed at me, pulled my hair, threatened me in the locker room and humiliated me in public. The school mascot was a pirate. They forced me to wear the smelly ridiculous pirate costume and run around the field all season.
I know, I know. First-world white girl problems. “The cheerleaders were mean to me!” story might not trigger much sympathy. The hazing was relatively mild. They didn’t cut me, or put me in the hospital. But they did humiliate and torment me for no apparent reason. I hadn’t done or said a thing to any of them, and yet they despised me with blazing irrational fury. The cheerleaders were my teammates. They were supposed to have my back. Instead, they were behind it, with knives. The rejection stung.
The cheerleader thumping, however, was a mere taste of what was to come. When I was a junior, my parents decided to move to Boca Raton. I was thrilled when I heard the news. I spontaneously broke out into a cheer. Gimme an F! Gimme an L! Gimme an O … you get the idea. I didn’t know much about Florida, but any change would be great. And, year-round sunshine was a bonus.
Day one at Boca High, my new classmates sized me up as a freak. I had curves and wore a jean jacket. My dark skin and hair were marks of the devil to the pastel-draped skinny blue-eyed blond Florida girls. They viciously mocked my accent (can’t say I blame them). The boys, meanwhile, were licking their chops and telling me how exotic I looked.
According to the Boca Bitches, my being Italian and from up North could mean only one thing: I was a slut. The opposite was true. I hadn’t so much as kissed a boy. In Jersey, I was considered a prude. I bit my lip and put on a brave front no matter what was said about me, and waited for things to change.
About a month into the school year, one of the Boca Bitches called me at home. “Hey, Melissa. We want to take you to a party,” she said.
I was psyched. Finally, they like me, I thought. Poor gullible, needy me. If I could go back in time to that phone conversation, I’d smack myself in the head and say, Don’t trust her! Instead, in my excitement, I volunteered to drive her and two other girls to the party.
They said the party was outdoors in a neighboring town. I had no idea where it was, or where I was driving. I was new to the area and it was pitch black out. I just followed their directions.
“This is it,” said the leader of the pack. I pulled into a driveway. We all hopped out of the car. As quickly as I thought I had “arrived,” instantly, thirty girls surrounded me. What the … I turned to ask the girls who had invited me, and they looked back at me with a blank stare.
These girls wasted no time. One quickly rushed up to me and punched me. Bam. Full force, right in the nose. Instantly, it started bleeding.
I was so shocked, it didn’t even hurt at first. About an hour later, my nose started throbbing and didn’t stop for days.
This maniac girl rubbed her knuckles and accused me of sleeping with her boyfriend. I barely knew the kid. We’d spoken two words to each other. When did saying “Hey” to a guy in the hallway mean that you were having sex with him?
“I’m a virgin,” I said to defend myself. It was the embarrassing truth. Yes, despite growing up at the corner of Whore and Skank Streets, or so they thought, I hadn’t done the deed. Not even close. The girl didn’t care. She already made up in her mind that I was to blame for her problems, even though I’d done nothing but be nice. (An interesting foreshadowing, as seen on RHONJ.)
The thirty girls were now slamming their fists on the roof of the car. It was like a scene from a gang movie that ended with me slumped and alone in the car. Desperate to flee, I hopped back in and started tapping the gas, hoping the girls would move out of the way. But they kept beating on the roof, the hood and the doors.
Fearing for my life, I stepped harder on the gas, making the car lurch forward. They finally cleared a path, and I floored it—right into a dead end. I had to turn around and drive through the pack again. This time, they threw rocks at me as I sped by.
Crying hysterically, I could barely see as I drove. It was a miracle I found my way home at all without crashing. My mother was horrified when I burst through the door with a bloody nose and red swollen eyes. When I finally stopped sobbing, I begged her to take me back to Toms River. I’d seen enough of the South to last the rest of my life.
My mother got on the phone to call my father. He’d stayed back in New Jersey, tying up loose ends. She told him what happened. He said, “Look, I’ll be finished with my business in a month. Just hang on until I get down there.”
A total Daddy’s girl, I was instantly comforted. As soon as he arrived, he’d protect me and make it better. He’d keep me safe. No one would mess with me then. I sniffed back my tears. One month seemed like an eternity to wait for him. But I knew it wasn’t really that long. I stayed focused on how incredible it would be when he finally walked through the door. I’d throw my arms around him, and never let go.
I counted the days, which made the wait harder and easier at the same time. I turned seventeen during that month, on March 21. Traditionally, my father bought me jewelry for my birthday gift. I don’t know why, but that year, he sent me a card. I remember thinking, This is weird. He’d never given me a card just from him. Usually, a card was attached to my gift, and signed by both of my parents. As weird as it seemed, I loved it and immediately called him to thank him. “Daddy, I love my card. Thank you so much. It means the world to me.” His handwritten note read as follows: “Melissa: Even though you are growing up, you will always be my little girl. And, no matter what, I will always love you and be there for you no matter what. I will always love my baby girl. Love, Daddy.” Thank God I didn’t pull a classic seventeen-year-old move, and toss the card. I still have it, in fact. It was as if I knew I should keep it and my father knew he had to tell me something and make it tangible for me to hold onto.
Eight days later, on March 29, I was at my girlfriend’s house for a sleepover. My mother called very late at night on the phone. She was screaming and crying. “Melissa, your father was in an accident. He hit a tree and he died,” she said. I dropped to my knees, and started howling. I threw the phone.
My friend asked, “What’s going on? Are you okay?”
I couldn’t speak. I was in complete shock.
My aunt came to pick me up, and brought me back to my house. My grandmother and uncles were there. My mom was in the corner crying. We booked flights back to New Jersey. Tissues were everywhere, everyone in a panic. It was a sad scene.
My mother had been alone when she got the news. I pieced the story together later on. It was a rainy night. He was driving around a corner, and hit a tree. He died alone on the road. He was only forty-nine years old.
It took me a while to believe it. The shock knocked me out of my body. I felt like I was standing next to myself, looking with sadness at the girl who just lost her father. The trouble I’d had with the mean girls, which I had thought were huge problems, shrank to the size of a grain of sand. I did not know what pain really felt like until that moment. And, it got much worse as the days wore on.
Every morning was painful. When I opened my eyes, I wanted to immediately shut them again. I prayed that it was all a bad dream, that I would wake up and my father would still be alive. I remember going back and forth…
Here are some of the “discussions” of the book:
- The haters on here are Teresa Giudice fans who haven’t even read the book. Take your felon queen’s advice and “love love love” instead of hating.
- What a friggin joke! First Caroline writing an advice book now the ho writing a book about being happily married? How about a book about being a gold digger? Or how to destroy a family? Or how to lie and be a con? She can’t even stand being touched by her husband, not that I blame her. I wonder if they’ll be a chapter about her cheating with her ex while being married? Even if she did seem to have a “happy marriage,” it’s been a hot minute. Let me hear from someone who has been married 30 or 40 years then maybe they might have something worthwhile to say. I know it won’t be from this wench – it’ll be a miracle if it lasts until the book comes out. But I guess she’s faked it for this long, what’s another year or two.
- This has got to be the biggest joke to come out since Caroline’s book. Who would take advice from this one. Married less than ten years- has more negative things come out about her past and she has advice she want’s to sell us.
- At least I could say I had a good laugh when this story came out.
- I am not one of “teresa’s buddies” and I find it interesting that whenever someone disagrees or criticizes any of the woman in the jersey cast they seem to always point fingers at each other, especially Melissa. Reality personalities and celebrities get criticism, whether it is based on a bad movie, irresponsible behavior, or distasteful comments/actions….once you are infront of a public platform that is what happens. It is ridiculous to keep blaming other castmembers for comments and opinions of strangers. I guess Melissa Gorga has thin skin?
- I don’t find a book providing marriage advice from someone who has only been married for eight years appealing. I would rather buy such a book from Caroline Manzo and Lisa VAnderpump who have both been married 30 years. Or Kathy Wakile and Ramona Singer who have both been married over 20 years. These women have the history, guidance, and authentic advice that would cater to a wide range of women. I would even add Kyle Richards to that list as well. Melissa Gorga doesn’t know how to brand herself at all, it seems she takes bits and pieces from other personalities to create her own. I still don’t know who she is as a women….I know who her PR people want to brand her as and I know how she wants to come across on tv….but again I don’t know who SHE is. Teresa and Caroline have a huge fan base because people LOVE them and love their families. Fans root for Teresa, want her to succeed, and feel her pain/hurt. There is a connection that viewers are invested in. Same goes for Caroline and her family. As a consumer, I support people I like and purchase and connect with. Teresa knows what works for her and she is successful because she brands herself well. Again same goes for CAroline, Lisa, and Ramona. With Melissa there is a level of “inauthentic” and overly scripted when it relates to her and her husband. Instead of using this as just another long list of negative posts…..use this cosumer research. Use this as an opportunity to find a product or venture that connects with viewers.
- Wait until the book comes out. You’ll see lots of 1st time reviewers – the marco sisters minions. Who would buy a book from someone like this? Drives her kids with no seatbelts, hardly ever home (her sister ALWAYS has her kids), starts trouble with her inlaws… yup the perfect person to write a book on how to have a “happy marriage”. She only wants fame. She’s no role model & certainly not a very good mother. Lets see how many reviewers are 1st time or have purchased something on Amazon since she started hawking her “book”. I personally can’t wait until her “15 minutes” are up. It can’t come soon enough.
- It’s not the length of the marriage. It’s the quality and the quality of their marriage seems poor. She should have wrote about what she knows. Gold digging.
- I find it funny that people who make excellent points about the fact that Melissa’s book doesn’t parallel her real life… she doesn’t have a happy marriage..she has a marriage filled with yelling and fighting with her husband’s family. Her children have been neglected in favor of her persuit of fame, doing publicity events on their birthdays… throwing a big fancy envent, then acting like animals to provoke publicity for the Bravo show… thowing her daughter a “birthday party” which is really a branding event, where no kids are even invited, and Melissa does publicity shots of herself the entire time….Are accused of only being Teresa fans… or hired by Teresa, or doing Teresa’s dirty work . It’s because she’s FAKE that real honest people like me don’t like her very much. She presents a fantasy, not reality. She pretends it’s sexy and loving, but that’s not a real happy sexy loving marriage. That’s a facade. And everyone who’s not wearing blinders knows this. You know when someone is being real… and Melissa has never shown us a real moment yet! I might actually change my mind about her if she would just be authentic, and not a copy of one of her many idols, beginning with her sister in law Teresa. She came from the shore, was a stripper, and married the first rich dumb guy she found, then found a way to cash in on his sister’s career. She had no idea how a real Italian woman acts, dresses, lives, so she copied everything she heard and saw from her sister in law… and then went about trying to take everything away from her. People dislike her, not because of Teresa.. but because of Melissa. She’s fake! completely. It’s obvious. Melissa mad me like Teresa more… not the opposite. I feel sorry that Melissa’s husband’s family has been put through all of this suffering because of her. And spending money on a book that’s just a story of fiction, is about the last thing I’m going to do.
- Do you know that Melissa named dropped the cop who pulled her over that day? She said DO YOU KNOW WHO MY SISTER IN LAW IS?
What are your thoughts? Please give your honest opinion 😉 post your comments below
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