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The Company She Keeps

“Some of the names in this book have been changed to protect the innocent…as well as the guilty.”

With this author’s note, Georgia Durante’s autobiographical book The Company She Keeps is off and running. It’s a very compelling read, in large part because the “company” she kept included many members of the mob.

Durante was a 13-year-old living in Rochester, New York when she first attracted the attention of the Mafia. During the course of at least this first phase of her life she would become girlfriend to one “goodfella” and wife to another. At one point she even served as “wheelwoman” (translation – “getaway driver”) for her associates, which ironically served her well when she later became a highly-successful stunt driver and even formed her own company of drivers, appearing in countless television shows and films.

The book itself should be turned into a film for all the wild escapades and unspeakable acts of violence Durante endured or was witness to. And perhaps one of the most surprising elements of her life is the fact that simultaneously, as her ties to the mob flourished, she enjoyed a busy career as a model, perhaps most visibly as the Kodak Girl in the late 1960s.

The Company She Keeps is a bold move on Durante’s part, considering some of the Mob ties are still alive. But the impression is that this is a cleansing process for her, in a way. It is certainly the tale of a survivor. In fact in the book she says she learned many lessons that taught her to survive and comments, “Being a survivor is nothing more than attitude and determination, and most important, believing in yourself.”

The book, published by Signet, is now in paperback form and offers a unique perspective on a very dangerous lifestyle. That Durante not only survived but came out of the experience a winner speaks much about her as a person. She has often spoken in shelters and prisons about making positive changes in one’s life and says, “I came to the conclusion that this was God’s plan for me. I was meant to live the life that I did in order to come out on this end of it to help other people find their way.”

Readers of The Company She Keeps will be amazed that she did indeed emerge into the brighter side of life and they will be inspired by her journey.

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