Monday, November 19, 2012

The End of Normal

Author: Stephanie Madoff Mack
Goodreads Rating: 3.61
My Rating: 4 Stars
Pages: 221
Reviewed by: Nicole

An explosive, heartbreaking memoir from the widow of Mark Madoff and daughter-in-law of Bernard Madoff, the first genuine inside story from a family member who has lived through -- and survived -- both the public crisis and her own deeply personal tragedy.

I requested this book from the library's E-Files. I never knew the book existed until I saw it and then decided to just request it on a whim. Once it got to my turn with the book, it turned out to be bad timing. I read it shortly after reading The Unfinished Works of Elizabeth D and while listening to The Last Lecture. All sad books about young children losing a parent. I'm ready for some happy books.

I have to say that I admire Stephanie for her candor writing this. While there is the obvious one-sided-ness of the book (only her side and not how the Madoff's saw it) she doesn't hide behind a total spin. She bares her ugly moments for all to see. She doesn't leave out her fights with her husband over his ex-wife or her less than understand approach to how he acted like the scandal only impacted him.

It was interesting getting to see what the Madoff family was like. That they were loving doting grandparents but Bernie was able to rip off people as close as his own family and that Ruth was able to stand by him even as her eldest son, Mark, made a cry for help. Even after his first suicide attempt.

I felt that the book was very conversational, which made it easy to follow. When Stephanie included a bit of her husbands own started memoir, I wasn't a fan of the writing style, hers was so easy. It was as if she was a friend telling me over coffee how she was manipulated by her brother-in-law or how she thought her in-laws were acting weird. 

I will admit I cried reading this book when Stephanie approached the days leading up to and following her husbands suicide. It was hard emotionally to read through first her anger, and then her pure pain over what happened. It was a roller coaster of falling in love with this couple only to know what their fate was. I thought that it was a well written memoir and a great insiders view of what happened. 

If you don't know about the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme, I would for sure go onto google to find out more about it. It was a really tragic deal, because a lot of people lost a lot of money and a lot of lives were ruined. I knew enough about it for this book to make sense, but even if I didn't, Stephanie still did a great job of explaining some of the intricacies that went into the scam.

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