PAPER AIRPLANES by Christina McDowell
PAPER AIRPLANES is Christina McDowell’s Kafkaesque before-and-after memoir. Innocently living a life of privilege in her childhood and teens, it all came crashing down when her dad, a Belfort associate practicing a similar form of criminal investing, is sent to prison. But this is only the beginning. Once behind bars, Tom Prousalis continued to lie, cheat and steal while his family fell to pieces. PAPER AIRPLANES is not Christina’s story alone. It is just one of many that has resulted from recent Wall Street rapaciousness. It is a classic father/daughter story, a cautionary tale of starting over, and a younger, more innocent Blue Jasmine.
It wasn’t until The Wolf of Wall Street was released that Christina McDowell made the connection between her father and Jordan Belfort. She sat down and wrote an opinion piece for LA Weekly titled “An Open Letter to the Makers of The Wolf of Wall Street, and the Wolf Himself,” in which she urged people not to support the film, reminding citizens that crimes such as Belfort’s and her father’s have victims. And those victims deserve a voice. Within hours, her piece went viral, stirring an international debate and becoming one of the most controversial opinion pieces ever written about a Hollywood film. She received thousands of emails from strangers around the world who told her their personal stories about being defrauded and lied to, and how they agreed that the American value system of glorifying criminals had become unbearable. And, for the first time in five years, Christina heard from her estranged father, not in a personal note but in an open letter on an obscure blog. His message? “You need to apologize to Marty and Leo.”