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Fans greet Mary Jo Buttafuoco at LI book signing

Mary Jo Buttafuoco poses with a group of

Mary Jo Buttafuoco poses with a group of Costco employees during her book signing at Costco in Westbury. (Aug. 1, 2009) Photo Credit: Newsday / Ana P. Gutierrez

"She went through hell," said Deborah Mora, 49, of Astoria, as she flipped through Mary Jo Buttafuoco's 255-page book, "Getting It Through My Thick Skull."

"I'm so glad she moved on and left that bum," she said, referring to Joey Buttafuoco, Mary Jo Buttafuoco's ex-husband.

Buttafuoco, 54, with her fiance of six years, Stu Tendler, 51, and her editor, Michele Matrisciani, walked into Costco in Westbury Saturday, beaming in yellow pants and a fitted sleeveless top for her final book signing on Long Island.

About 20 fans approached her for an hour and a half.

"I hope to inspire people who may be in toxic relationships," Buttafuoco said. "They need to understand what's going on and get out of them."

Shot in the head 17 years ago by her ex-husband's young mistress, Amy Fisher, the "Long Island Lolita," Buttafuoco lived to share her story.

"This is not a Joey-bashing book," she said. "It holds the lessons I learned and hope to share."

Buttafuoco said it hit home two years ago that her ex was "a con artist" and "a cheater," she said. "People like that don't ever change."

Passersby whispered, "She looks so beautiful," and "I'm so glad she moved on," as they snapped shots with digital cameras and camera phones.

"This is something to keep my husband stimulated," said Yvonne Jones, 54, of West Hempstead, taking a picture of Buttafuoco. Jones' husband suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2003. "The idea is to see her and her book and spread awareness to the support groups we go to. It's an amazing story."

Brett Dobin, 32, of Brooklyn, has always wanted to meet the Buttafuocos and Fisher, whom he's tried to catch at one of her recent strip-club performances. Of Buttafuoco, "I'm glad she did something positive after everything and wrote this book," he said.

Mary Jo Buttafuoco hopes to become a motivational speaker soon.

The most important lesson is "taking one step forward at a time," Buttafuoco said. "Things do get better."

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