Miguel, Maggie San. “Dressing a Tiger”, Orchard Drive Press, 2016.
Maggie San Miguel had quite a childhood. She literally grew up with a father who was a member of the Mafia and a mother, Patricia, who suffered with mental illness. There were also hit men, a Secret Service uncle, famous politicians on her life and she was curious. Her father was Jack Dahlstrom who had advance knowledge of the Kennedy assassination and was a friend of Jack Ruby, John Connally, Henry Wade and Mafia bosses such as Carlo Gambino, Sam Giancana and Paul Castellano. Her babysitters were often hit me who stayed with her after he mother became mentally unhinged when Maggie’s brother went into coma after being hit by a drunk driver. Because her father was a negotiator for the Teamsters Union and High-ranking Associate of the Mob, had many intriguing friends and Mafia secrets and these were to remain secrets but now Maggie San Miguel shares them.
San Miguel was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, in the late 1960s and was like other kids— filled with curiosity and always looking to have good times. However, unlike other kids, her parents were very unusual. While her mother seemed to be okay, her father shared secrets with her that no young girl had to hear. He told her about Gambino’s hit men and her mother was friendly with Dallas district attorney Henry Wade (of Roe v. Wade). Maggie know many secrets but then she was in a world of organized crime and she learned that anything could (and many times did) happen. The history of her family was quite unique and we are taken back to their early life as immigrants.
As a child, Maggie loved to read and this is probably because she could enter worlds that were not at all like the one she lived in. It wasn’t until her father died in 2001 that she decided to put her story in writing and what a story it is. She shares what she knew about gangsters and also tells us about them when they were not fulfilling duties—they actually seemed to have a soft side at times. I cannot imagine what it is like to grow up surrounded by organized crime on one side and a fascinating home life on the other. There were always visitors and they ranged from an uncle in the Secret Service and geisha girls.
It was not until she was a teenager that she learned that her father had connections to the Mafia and was also a friend of Jimmy Hoffa who became his key to enter the Teamsters. However there is nothing about Hoffa here because Maggie promised her father that if she ever wrote a book, she would leave him out.
This is a fascinating read about what it was like to be raised by members of the mob and a mother who lost it. We learn about ties between mafia men and politicians and so much more.