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A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal

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What do you do when you discover that the person you've built your life around never existed? When "it could never happen to me" does happen to you? These are the questions facing Jen Waite when she begins to realize that her loving husband--the father of her infant daughter, her best friend, the love of her life--fits the textbook definition of psychopath. In a raw, What do you do when you discover that the person you've built your life around never existed? When "it could never happen to me" does happen to you? These are the questions facing Jen Waite when she begins to realize that her loving husband--the father of her infant daughter, her best friend, the love of her life--fits the textbook definition of psychopath. In a raw, first-person account, Waite recounts each heartbreaking discovery, every life-destroying lie, and reveals what happens once the dust finally settles on her demolished marriage. After a disturbing email sparks Waite's suspicion that her husband is having an affair, she tries to uncover the truth and rebuild trust in her marriage. Instead, she finds more lies, infidelity, and betrayal than she could have imagined. Waite obsessively analyzes her relationship, trying to find a single moment from the last five years that isn't part of the long-con of lies and manipulation. With a dual-timeline narrative structure, we see Waite's romance bud, bloom, and wither simultaneously, making the heartbreak and disbelief even more affecting.


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What do you do when you discover that the person you've built your life around never existed? When "it could never happen to me" does happen to you? These are the questions facing Jen Waite when she begins to realize that her loving husband--the father of her infant daughter, her best friend, the love of her life--fits the textbook definition of psychopath. In a raw, What do you do when you discover that the person you've built your life around never existed? When "it could never happen to me" does happen to you? These are the questions facing Jen Waite when she begins to realize that her loving husband--the father of her infant daughter, her best friend, the love of her life--fits the textbook definition of psychopath. In a raw, first-person account, Waite recounts each heartbreaking discovery, every life-destroying lie, and reveals what happens once the dust finally settles on her demolished marriage. After a disturbing email sparks Waite's suspicion that her husband is having an affair, she tries to uncover the truth and rebuild trust in her marriage. Instead, she finds more lies, infidelity, and betrayal than she could have imagined. Waite obsessively analyzes her relationship, trying to find a single moment from the last five years that isn't part of the long-con of lies and manipulation. With a dual-timeline narrative structure, we see Waite's romance bud, bloom, and wither simultaneously, making the heartbreak and disbelief even more affecting.

30 review for A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal

  1. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    GR friend Julie described reading A Beautiful, Terrible Thing as "gawking at a train wreck". My feelings exactly. And let me add a few other feelings: -While clearly personally devastating, Ms. Waite's experience of betrayal -- of having been duped by her ex husband -- is sadly not that unusual. I can think of a few people I know who have had similar experiences -- some of them far more jaw dropping. -I hope for Ms. Waite that in the years to come -- especially when her daughter becomes old GR friend Julie described reading A Beautiful, Terrible Thing as "gawking at a train wreck". My feelings exactly. And let me add a few other feelings: -While clearly personally devastating, Ms. Waite's experience of betrayal -- of having been duped by her ex husband -- is sadly not that unusual. I can think of a few people I know who have had similar experiences -- some of them far more jaw dropping. -I hope for Ms. Waite that in the years to come -- especially when her daughter becomes old enough to read this book -- she doesn't have too much writer's remorse. I'm sure writing and publishing this book felt cathartic, but I'm not sure how well that feeling will age. -I'm surprised a mainstream publisher picked this one up. The telling through dual timelines is clever, but other than that this is not a particularly unusual story and the self analysis at the end is really amateur. All this to say, I feel bad for Ms. Waite in the way I would feel bad if a friend or acquaintance was telling me this story, but I'm a bit stumped as to why it's book worthy. Take my review with a grain of salt. This book made me feel really judgmental which is one of my least favourite reactions when reading a memoir. Clearly, other readers have felt far more empathy for Ms. Waite or otherwise got more shock value out of her story. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book was not what I expected - and not in a good way. Based on the blurb, we're led to believe A Beautiful, Terrible Thing will be something shocking, out of the ordinary, unbelievable. But what we get is...none of those things. Yes, Waite's husband is a liar, a cheater, a seemingly remorseless jerk who's constantly trading in his girl for a younger model...but, guess what? So are a lot of other people. As sad and hurtful as those behaviors are, they are not that extraordinary. And while I This book was not what I expected - and not in a good way. Based on the blurb, we're led to believe A Beautiful, Terrible Thing will be something shocking, out of the ordinary, unbelievable. But what we get is...none of those things. Yes, Waite's husband is a liar, a cheater, a seemingly remorseless jerk who's constantly trading in his girl for a younger model...but, guess what? So are a lot of other people. As sad and hurtful as those behaviors are, they are not that extraordinary. And while I get that this experience was traumatic and painful for Waite, I'm not sure it warrants publishing a memoir. Much of the book reads like diary entries of Waite chronicling the rise and fall of her relationship - and as you'd expect from a "dear diary" entry, it's flowery and not particularly well-written and ultimately a bit adolescent (the incessant use of "babe" and "baby" as a term of endearment (?) and the actual printing of the phrase "bro-code" in a serious usage as two glaring examples). Then we follow her down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out WHY WHY WHY everything happened, and are treated to scenes of her researching sociopathy on internet message boards and Wikipedia (these sources aren't reliable enough to be used for a school paper, let alone an actual published book!). But wait! Lest we think the entire premise of this book was based on Waite amateurly-diagnosing her husband with an actual personality disorder thanks to the internet, she magically finds validation in a real, live therapist. I find it INCREDIBLY hard to believe that a therapist would provide even a guess at a diagnosis for someone they've never even spoken to, and that said therapist would use that as the focus for Waite's visits. In a nutshell, unless you like rubbernecking at car accidents or find fascination in other people's suffering, skip this one. There's no big reveal, no revelation, nothing even really educational in this memoir except for the reminder that rose-colored glasses are never the best lenses through which to view your world.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nia Forrester

    Wow. I don't know what I missed, but this read like the self-indulgent recounting of the end of a relationship, but definitely not something so shocking it merited a memoir. I felt like I was listening to a self-centered friend tell a story of woe as though she was the only person in the world to ever have her heart broken by an unscrupulous man. Her husband cheated, and lied while she was pregnant, and was stunningly dishonest about his affair when confronted with the evidence. At times, he was Wow. I don't know what I missed, but this read like the self-indulgent recounting of the end of a relationship, but definitely not something so shocking it merited a memoir. I felt like I was listening to a self-centered friend tell a story of woe as though she was the only person in the world to ever have her heart broken by an unscrupulous man. Her husband cheated, and lied while she was pregnant, and was stunningly dishonest about his affair when confronted with the evidence. At times, he was clearly conflicted about whether he even wanted to end the marriage so he gave her mixed and ambiguous signals, which was a crazy-making experience to read about, and I'm sure, much, much crazier to experience. But this, to me, does not a psychopath make. Their problems were worsened I think because both she and her husband seemed incredibly immature, and her parents, though loving and supportive, were also a little overly-involved in the marriage of their adult daughter. They were overly indulgent when they invested tens of thousands of dollars in the start-up of a restaurant (for a couple who had no business acumen that was mentioned--the daughter is a 'struggling actress' and the son-in-law a bartender) which she and her husband then basically walk away from because their partners are being "weird" and "mean" to them. All in all, the couple at the center of the memoir felt like children playing at being adults, and that was only exacerbated by her parents infantilizing her every step of the way. But there's nothing like an actual child to take care of, to make things start feeling real, and that's when her husband, the Peter Pan of their marriage decided he would book. No surprise there, in my mind. And finally, the idea that she would--while her daughter is still an infant--publicly brand her ex a psychopath is stunningly shortsighted and vindictive. The marriage failed. He treated her abominably. He was a terrible spouse. But by her own recounting, he has a positive relationship with his son from a previous relationship. Now, she's certainly made it difficult at best, for one to develop with his daughter, who will grow up to face this eternal condemnation of her father. Her decision to tell this story, as though it is only HER story smacks of the same kind of blind narcissism she accuses her former spouse of. Relationships end! People do crappy, crappy, hurtful things to each other while it unravels. But this made me feel a little sorry for the kid. This, in my opinion was the product of the Me Generation, who from the time they were in diapers were assured by their parents that nothing bad should ever, ever happen to them. And if it does, then they are owed acknowledgment of their pain by as a large a group of people as possible.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    In this memoir, Jen Waite tells the story of her failed marriage. I decided to read the book after I saw the author being interviewed on television, and became curious about her tragic tale. ***** The date January 20, 2015 will be forever etched on Jen Waite's brain. It was on that day - when her baby Louisa was 3 weeks old - that Jen saw the e-mail from her husband Marco Medina to a real estate broker. The message read, "My girlfriend and I have decided to go with another apartment, but thank you In this memoir, Jen Waite tells the story of her failed marriage. I decided to read the book after I saw the author being interviewed on television, and became curious about her tragic tale. ***** The date January 20, 2015 will be forever etched on Jen Waite's brain. It was on that day - when her baby Louisa was 3 weeks old - that Jen saw the e-mail from her husband Marco Medina to a real estate broker. The message read, "My girlfriend and I have decided to go with another apartment, but thank you for your time." (FYI: Marco Medina isn't his real name, but you can find his true name and picture on the internet.) What? Girlfriend? Jen hysterically confronted her husband, who explained that he'd been helping a Croatian co-worker look for a new place to live, and had mistakenly used the word girlfriend. In her confusion, Jen accepted this account - but not really - and her suspicions increased when she looked at the Croatian's Facebook page and saw a sexy blonde vixen. In addition, Marco's behavior became more and more disturbing, and he claimed that something was wrong with him because he 'felt nothing' when he looked at Jen and Louisa. Jen became terribly concerned about Marco's health, and tried to find ways to 'cure' him, but had little success. Eventually Jen came to fear that Marco had been having an affair with the Croatian (who she dubbed Croella) for months - starting when Jen was pregnant with Louisa. Marco consistently denied any wrongdoing, insisting he was 'just friends' with the foreigner.....who 'wasn't his type.' For her part, Jen tried to convince herself that Marco was a faithful husband. But the evidence of cheating built up.....Jen's blinders came off.....and the marriage imploded. This left Jen a single mother - depressed, devastated, and barely able to go on. The book alternates between 'Before' and 'After.' In the 'Before' chapters, Jen writes about meeting Marco, and the intense courtship that led to their marriage. In the 'After' chapters, Jen details her step by step unveiling of Marco's perfidy, her decision to leave him, and the subsequent fallout that almost destroyed her. ***** Before: Jen was an aspiring model and actress from Maine, living in New York City to further her career. She was waitressing to make ends meet, and rarely saw her long-distance boyfriend Jeff. When Jen took a job at an about-to-open new restaurant, she met bar manager Marco at the orientation - and it was like lightning struck her. Marco - a dark, handsome Argentinian - overwhelmed Jen with flattery and attention (a behavior called 'love bombing') and appealed to her sympathy when he admitted that he was living in the country illegally; had been in two long-term - but failed - relationships; and had a son Seb....who lived with his mother. Long story short, Jen fell madly in love with Marco and dumped Jeff. Marco seemed to be the ideal boyfriend - affectionate, respectful, charming, and ambitious.....and he got a thumbs up from Jen's friends and family. Jen went so far as to invest $75,000 in a restaurant Marco wanted to open, certain that they would be partners for life. Marco soon proposed, which led to marriage, pregnancy, and the birth of Louisa. Jen thought her life was perfect and she was ecstatically happy.....until that fateful day, January 20. ***** After: Once Jen started to suspect that Marco was seeing Croella, she began to check his emails, phone records, take-out deliveries, and Uber account - and uncovered evidence of innumerable lies and deceptions. Jen decided to leave her husband, but he acted sad and pathetic and - with the help of his parents - (initially) convinced her to stay. Marco's infidelity continued, however, and Jen finally left with Louisa - moving to Maine to live with her parents. (Jen's parents are the heroes of the book. They're supportive and helpful, and always have their daughter's back.) Though Jen moved out, she couldn't move on, and felt compelled to know everything that was going on between Marco and Croella. Thus, Jen CONSTANTLY refreshed her smartphone to look at Marco and Croella's posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on. Jen spent hours and hours doing this every day.....unable to stop herself. Furthermore, Jen discussed her sad situation with EVERYONE, and came to learn that Marco was serially unfaithful, and had cheated with waitresses throughout their courtship and marriage. As Jen tried to make sense of the unhealthy partnership that she'd considered ideal, she became an amateur psychologist. Jen spent day after day looking up internet articles about cheating spouses, and concluded that Marco was a sociopath. The urban dictionary defines a sociopath as follows: "Sociopaths are people who have little to no conscience. They will lie, cheat, steal and manipulate others for their own benefit. They're really nice and charming at first, but it's extremely fake. There is no reasoning with this person. Things have to be their way or it's the highway. They will blame you for hurting them (even if they're the ones who hurt you) or blame the world for all their problems. They are compulsive liars and even if they do apologize, it's never genuine. Piece of advice: Once you realize that you are dealing with a sociopath, RUN." When Jen 'discovers' that Marco is a sociopath, everything becomes clear to her, and she 'comprehends' the reasons for his adultery and hurtful behavior. This doesn't make things any easier, though, and Jen continues to stalk Marco and Croella online. Jen's sadness - and her painful discoveries about Marco's new relationship - make her physically ill. She gets stomach aches and panic attacks; loses weight; doesn't shower; is unable to leave the house for any length of time; and so on. It's not until Jen seeks help from a professional psychologist that she begins to move on (very very slowly). At the beginning of the book, Jen avers that she's not a mental health professional, and can't make a clinical diagnosis of psychopathy (mental illness). I'm not a mental health professional either, and I'm not at all convinced Marco is a sociopath. It seems to me that Marco - like many other men - might just be a serial cheater who can't keep his pants zipped. That said, Marco is not a nice guy....and IT IS telling that he shows no interest in little Louisa and never sees her. Other reviewers have mentioned that Jen should have allowed more time to pass before writing a book about her trauma, and I agree. I think that further distance from the breakup would have allowed Jen to pen a more objective narrative. It's very harsh to throw around the word sociopath....particularly with no clinical diagnosis by a trained therapist. The book is readable, but it's repetitive, stuffed with filler, and feels fictionalized (to me). Jen 'remembers' incidents in remarkable detail and spends a good part of the book talking about her child. In the narrative, Jen is constantly kissing Louisa's head; smoothing the baby's hair; looking into the child's eyes; dressing the child; undressing the child; breastfeeding the baby; talking to Louisa; cooing at Louisa; walking to the beach with the baby; walking through the mall with the baby; passing Louisa to grandma; passing Louisa to grandpa; and so forth. I have no doubt that Jen loves Louisa, but I don't need to hear that much about it. All in all, I wouldn't call this a great book, but I think it might be helpful to people who have doubts about their partner (to show them how to identify a cheater); and to people going through a painful breakup (to demonstrate that there's light at the end of the tunnel). Jen plans to become a licensed therapist, specializing in recovery from psychopathic relationships - and I wish her the best of luck with that. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    I struggled to finish listening to this memoir,A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite. This audiobook, narrated by the author, was described as an account of this young woman's "heartbreaking discovery" of " life-destroying lies" and what her life was like in the aftermath of her "demolished marriage." I admit... I was pulled in by the dramatic words and I had the impression that something extraordinary must have occurred between this woman, Jen Waite, and I struggled to finish listening to this memoir,A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite. This audiobook, narrated by the author, was described as an account of this young woman's "heartbreaking discovery" of " life-destroying lies" and what her life was like in the aftermath of her "demolished marriage." I admit... I was pulled in by the dramatic words and I had the impression that something extraordinary must have occurred between this woman, Jen Waite, and her husband Marco. I don't want to trivialize this woman's pain... she was very clearly hurt, angry and felt betrayed by her husband and I don't doubt that, to her, what occurred felt like the end of her life... or at least the life she had imagined and planned for. Sadly and unfortunately, her story is far from uncommon. Several weeks after the birth of the couple's first child, a daughter, Jen Waite stumbled upon an email between her husband and a woman.. a message which made her stomach drop and made her suspicious that her husband was having an affair. This suspicion led her down a path of engaging in amateur detective work and hyper vigilance. Since she possessed the passwords to Marco's social media accounts and his email, she went looking for proof. And when people are searching for something, they usually find what they are looking for. The story of this marriage is told in moving from before the betrayal to after the betrayal and Ms. Waite relates every minute detail of her failed relationship in what sound like daily diary entries... the emails, text messages and dozens of phone calls between her husband and a young Croatian woman he had been having an affair with... even speaking with her on the night his daughter was born. Ms. Waite also began obsessively stalking the woman's Facebook page as well. She confronts Marco with the evidence she has collected and it really is no surprise that he denies the relationship; but he continues to lie to her and continues the relationship with the other woman. Eventually, Ms. Waite.. who has become so emotionally distraught she cannot take care of her infant.. calls her parents who pick her, her daughter and her belongings up and move them to Maine... to her parent's home, where she then holes up in her childhood bedroom with her newborn daughter, wallowing in self-pity for months. I know I sound harsh and I don't mean to be impatient with this woman.Coping with the end of her marriage and the fact she had a newborn baby to care for was extremely difficult. But I couldn't rid myself of the recurrent thought that she was actually quite fortunate her parents were so supportive of her and allowed her to completely fall apart while they kept a roof over her ... and her daughter's head. Perhaps it didn't occur to her that this scenario of a marriage ending badly plays out every day and many people do not have the luxury of retreating to their childhood bedrooms in their parents' homes when life's calamities occur. Many people do not have the luxury of grief or self-pity as their lives and their children's lives depend on their continuing to go through the motions of life, even if they don't feel like doing so. It wasn't even Jen Waite's self-indulgent attitude which bothered me most about this book and caused me to actually talk back to her narration. The aspect of the story which continues to bother me is that she decided.. after researching online (that is, she read several articles!) that the explanation for her troubled marriage is that her husband Marco is a sociopath. She then continues to refer to him as a sociopath throughout the book. I realize that sociopath is a term which is currently very popular in our culture and many books have been written describing fool=proof ways you, too, can diagnose everyone in your life as having anti-social personality disorder. I find this idea ridiculous. Is Marco a sociopath? I have no idea... but really, neither does she. Yes, he IS a jerk, a liar and a cheat and it struck me from the beginning of the story that perhaps he was using her to obtain his green card (yes, he was an illegal immigrant). But many, many people lie and cheat. Are they ALL sociopaths? Probably not. And the thing I found most astonishing is that Ms. Waite mentioned her sociopathy theory to her therapist and the therapist readily agreed with her that marco was a sociopath. I found this incredible! What therapist would assign a label of sociopath to a person she had never met, let alone examined? At this point, I can only conclude that Ms. Waite wanted to sell books and she found a sensational way to do so. My sympathy for her became harder to muster. I AM sorry Jen Waite chose a man for her life partner who turned out to be a liar and a cheat... that is a very tough life lesson and I hope she will be able to find some peace of mind as she has a daughter to raise. I am wondering if, down the line, she will regret publishing this book because I don't think she was at all thinking about the future and how her daughter might feel about her father.. and about her family as a whole. I don't feel comfortable assigning any memoir less than 3 stars because I think it does take courage to share your pain and humiliation with the world. I can't RATE someone's feelings. At the same time, I can't really say I recommend this book either... unless of course you are a person who finds yourself in a similar situation. Maybe then the reading this book would allow you to realize you definitely are not alone in your experiences.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    E-galley provided by Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Author, Jen Waite for my honest opinion. To be published July 11, 2017 What if the man you thought you married turned out to be someone else entirely? What do you do when your dream guy, the father of your infant daughter, turns out to be a liar, a cheat, possibly even a sociopath? In retrospect would you see the signs? Using a format of alternating chapters of Before and After, Jen Waite does her best to tell her story so others might E-galley provided by Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Author, Jen Waite for my honest opinion. To be published July 11, 2017 What if the man you thought you married turned out to be someone else entirely? What do you do when your dream guy, the father of your infant daughter, turns out to be a liar, a cheat, possibly even a sociopath? In retrospect would you see the signs? Using a format of alternating chapters of Before and After, Jen Waite does her best to tell her story so others might not have to go through the heartbreak that she has experienced. It is not always easy to follow and a bit choppy at times but her willingness to bare her soul is the major strength of this book. Heartfelt, this memoir could have benefited from better editing. If you’re questioning your gut feelings that something is not right in your relationship this could be the right book for you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    *TANYA*

    This book was Jens BEST revenge, her ex-husband Marco, is an imbecile!! I hope Jen got her HEA and I hope Marcos thing shrivels up and falls off!!! BOOM!! Thats it, its not asking for too much, is it?? This book was Jen’s BEST revenge, her ex-husband Marco, is an imbecile!! I hope Jen got her HEA and I hope Marco’s thing shrivels up and falls off!!! BOOM!! That’s it, it’s not asking for too much, is it??

  8. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    This memoir felt half-baked to me. Waite's conclusion that her ex-husband is a psychopath is based on her internet searches, which are recounted here in not-so-fascinating detail. Without something more definitive than that, though, it was hard for me to know what to think. I mean, he was a terrible husband, there's no doubt about that, but I was also baffled at Waite's own behaviorspecifically the way she seemed to be in the habit of snooping into his private messages from early on in their This memoir felt half-baked to me. Waite's conclusion that her ex-husband is a psychopath is based on her internet searches, which are recounted here in not-so-fascinating detail. Without something more definitive than that, though, it was hard for me to know what to think. I mean, he was a terrible husband, there's no doubt about that, but I was also baffled at Waite's own behavior—specifically the way she seemed to be in the habit of snooping into his private messages from early on in their courtship. It never seemed like a healthy marriage to me, so I wasn't super invested in its dissolution. There's also the fact that all of this happened disconcertingly recently. Waite mentions her money troubles at the end, and I had a nagging feeling that this book was rushed for financial reasons. I think A Beautiful, Terrible Thing would have benefited from a few more years of introspection on Waite's part. Having said all that, the book definitely kept my attention and I read it in less than two days. If you're just looking to gawk at a trainwreck (no judgment on my part—that's why I picked it up), this memoir fits the bill nicely.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    4 stars - publishes 7/11/17 Thanks to First to Read and Plume Books for an Advanced digital copy of this book for an honest review. This is a memoir of pain and suffering. It stems from a hurtful event that must go through the cycle of pain and anger, doubt and self loathing. It is the feeling of helplessness when you realize that your love cannot heal the problem. This story is very candid. Jen Waite has spent most of her marriage trying to ignore the signs of an unfaithful husband. He always 4 stars - publishes 7/11/17 Thanks to First to Read and Plume Books for an Advanced digital copy of this book for an honest review. This is a memoir of pain and suffering. It stems from a hurtful event that must go through the cycle of pain and anger, doubt and self loathing. It is the feeling of helplessness when you realize that your love cannot heal the problem. This story is very candid. Jen Waite has spent most of her marriage trying to ignore the signs of an unfaithful husband. He always has a reason, an excuse, a story to cover any mishap. Jen wants to believe him - she loves him. Her happy marriage is falling apart. Her husband is cheating. Jen has just had a baby, with the man she planned to spend the rest of her life with. What has happened? What went wrong? This story chronicles Jen's discovery, her self doubt, the excruciating admission to herself, and her recovery from a bad marriage to a psychological liar and sociopath. This novel is written without any excuses. Jen does not hide from the facts, nor from her inability to process this life altering event. Take this journey with Jen and decide what you would have done in her situation.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    2 stars Read through the courtesy of NetGallery and PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press & Plume Plume When you let yourself think that you are only worth what others see in you, then you will end up as the author of this autobiography has. She placed herself and immersed herself so much in Marco, a three time failure in his relationships with women. Letting one become so enraptured that you do not even see human weakness set Ms Waite up for what Marco did and what he was. Marco was a sociopath and 2 stars Read through the courtesy of NetGallery and PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press & Plume Plume When you let yourself think that you are only worth what others see in you, then you will end up as the author of this autobiography has. She placed herself and immersed herself so much in Marco, a three time failure in his relationships with women. Letting one become so enraptured that you do not even see human weakness set Ms Waite up for what Marco did and what he was. Marco was a sociopath and he preyed on women as he searched for their flaws and weaknesses. He became in their minds the do all and end all of everything and the women, so many of them, fell so easily into the lair he set. Ms Waite kept on failing to notice that what was happening was emotional abuse. She kept on making excuses in her mind for why Marco did things that to others were blatantly evident of infidelities, of lies, of usage. One does feel for the author. She was a product of what seemed to be wealthy parents. They did care for her and provide a security net, but sometimes that net did more harm than good. She was fortunate having them there at every turn. Many others going through the same turmoil had no one. What bothered me about this novel was the weakness of this woman. She seemed to believe she was nothing without Marco, a man who humiliated, cheated on, and so disrespected her that he cheated on her while she laid in the hospital having his child. Yet, even then, she agonized over leaving him. Perhaps I just do not understand how a woman of today's world does that. However, that being said I was happy to see that she was in counseling. Hopefully, in years to come, through therapy she will come to see her own intrinsic value lies within herself not any man.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Spoiler alert! The author wins. Anybody that can write such a raw, honest, and relatively objective narrative of their own marriage deserves a standing ovation. The story itself is not unique if you know about Chump Lady. What is unique is that the author lets the reader in on the journey, the events, and the emotions. She doesn't try to pretty her own story up to make it more horrible, she simply narrates the relationship. It's a storybook fairytale which might be a spoiler in and of itself. Spoiler alert! The author wins. Anybody that can write such a raw, honest, and relatively objective narrative of their own marriage deserves a standing ovation. The story itself is not unique if you know about Chump Lady. What is unique is that the author lets the reader in on the journey, the events, and the emotions. She doesn't try to pretty her own story up to make it more horrible, she simply narrates the relationship. It's a storybook fairytale which might be a spoiler in and of itself. Marco is too perfect. He does show some of his colors by sharing a little of his past stories, but it was not authentic even then. He had something to gain by telling her. Then one day it all changed. He changed. In retrospection she realizes there were things she missed because she was unaware he was Axis II, Cluster B. Personality disorders do not experience emotions like normal people. Relationships are utilitarian and not personal. A perfect summary of this is given by her therapist as "Idealize, Devalue, Discard." Perfect. The subject of a narcissist can't wrap her mind around being devalued and discarded after feeling so loved and believing she was in a perfect marriage. A person with a normal range of emotions would feel empathy. This is why the betrayal is so shocking and sudden. There was no personal connection for the Narc. Jen writes an excellent narrative. For someone so new out of a NPD relationship, Jen is startlingly insightful. It's a painful read. There are times the reader wants to stop her from going back or forgiving him or believing him. Yet it's so human. That's why it's so good.

  12. 5 out of 5

    emma

    3/5 I received an ARC of this book through Penguin First to Read. Thank ya! Oh my God, my friends. This book...this book is WILD. https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co... I have this really terrible habit of requesting ARCs without really looking into them. And this book was no exception. All I knew was that this was, essentially, a nonfiction thriller about a marriage. And thats not totally what I got, but damn if it wasnt close. HOW FUN IS THAT?! So we follow the author, Jen, in chapters that 3/5 I received an ARC of this book through Penguin First to Read. Thank ya! Oh my God, my friends. This book...this book is WILD. https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co... I have this really terrible habit of requesting ARCs without really looking into them. And this book was no exception. All I knew was that this was, essentially, a nonfiction thriller about a marriage. And that’s not totally what I got, but damn if it wasn’t close. HOW FUN IS THAT?! So we follow the author, Jen, in chapters that alternate “Before” and “After.” The event that distinguishes the author’s life into two parts is the realization that her husband, whom she fully adores in a way that borders on worrying, isn’t who she thought he was. Later, she decides he’s a SOCIOPATH. Dun dun dun! Oh, also they have a newborn baby. So that ups the stakes. I really liked the first half of this book. I read it in a sitting. It’s sooooo next-level intense - I can’t stop using that word - and Jen keeps realizing stuff and you’re like WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?! JEN, WHAT’S HAPPENING?! TELL ME JEN! The Before/After stuff works really well here. The second half...I’m like, not as into. This may sound totally b*tchy of me, so bear with me, okay? I’m sorry about who I am as a person. At this point, the Before/After stuff becomes less helpful. Because lovely Jen then has to make us realize stuff about her husband in the “Before” sections...even though she totally wasn’t realizing it at the time. Which feels forced. Oh GOD I miss Michelle Obama. Anyway. The other thing about this book is...I don’t think anyone in it understands sociopathy. Including the frequently-featured therapist. Because this acts like the answer to why every marriage has ever gone wrong in the history of time. Your fiancé left you? Sociopath. Your husband took your money and split? Textbook sociopath. Your dad’s been married five times? Total f*ckin’ psycho. And I’m just sitting there like… Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I don’t. In terms of experience I have, like, a high school-level intro to psych class and every true crime story I can get my hands on. But there are two things I definitely for-sure know about sociopaths. (Yes, one of them is from the podcast Serial, what of it??? It’s the story that changed a nation!) Okay, so. Those two things. One, there aren’t that many sociopaths in the world. (This is the one I know from Serial.) So when you’re constantly like, “hey, maybe that dude who took the last popsicle from the communal box is a sociopath!” that’s not the most legitimate possibility. And two, they’re really flippin’ hard to diagnose. So, while Jen should start off this book like: She comes into it like “HEY HERE ARE ANSWERS” and throws 265 pages at us. And her stupid therapist Lisa doesn’t help. Lisa is the psychology-major equivalent of that professor who throws a textbook in the trashcan and says to call him by his first name. Even though I’m 97% sure therapists aren’t supposed to just...diagnose people they’ve never goddamn met based purely off the testimony of their traumatized and estranged spouses, Lisa’s all, “Oh my god...based off the one hour I’ve known you...I think your husband might be a total freaking psycho!!!!” Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is if a certain Maine-based therapy practice loses its license for employing a woman whose only certification is a Starbucks rewards card, I called it. Also, the second half of the book is a lot more boring than the first half. But that makes sense. Because at a certain point, it has to become Here Is My Progress Here Is My Life Now. And I appreciate that that has to happen and all. It can’t all be me having fun with the tragedies in the lives of others. I’m not a sociopath. Or am I? Bottom line: I recommend this. It’s not perfect (in the writing especially), but it’s pretty fascinating and better than I expected.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Jen Waite's marital memoir reads more like a psychological thriller. The chapters alternate between "before" and "after" she discovers an incriminating email that leads her to a path of discovery. "Before" chapters tell of the fairy tale romance, with some red flags about her husband that are obvious in hindsight; "after" chapters are the story of a mother of a newborn who is suspicious, lied to, and eventually crushed by the realization that she has fallen in love with a manipulator rather than Jen Waite's marital memoir reads more like a psychological thriller. The chapters alternate between "before" and "after" she discovers an incriminating email that leads her to a path of discovery. "Before" chapters tell of the fairy tale romance, with some red flags about her husband that are obvious in hindsight; "after" chapters are the story of a mother of a newborn who is suspicious, lied to, and eventually crushed by the realization that she has fallen in love with a manipulator rather than her soulmate. The alternating chapters help build the suspense and make this book extremely readable. That's a great compliment to the writing and editing because I was riveted throughout the book, but didn't end up feeling triumphant at the end. In fact, I felt a little uncomfortable after finishing the book. The description says that Waite discovered her husband was a "textbook psychopath", but as far as I can tell, this was her own diagnosis after her obsessive internet research in the fog of a broken heart. Psychopath is a pretty heavy label to throw around and publish about your child's father. I think that's the part I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around is - the book description and the tension-building way that the memoir is written feel a bit sensationalized when all is said and done. I found it entertaining and compelling, and I'd love to see the author try her hand at writing fiction. She really knows how to keep a reader invested in the story. It's impressive how easily she taps into the heat of the moment as she was sorting through all of her feelings. I've been through similar stages in my life and often we try so hard to forget these painful moments that it's hard to effectively describe our suffering after the fact. She does this beautifully as the reader suffers through her emotions with her through the good times and the bad. I received a free advance copy of this book through Penguin's First to read program in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    kelly

    Ugh, I didn't like this book. After reading the description, I took the last word in the title--betrayal--and expected something mind-bending and completely unbelievable to compel me to read all 258 pages of this. This book was neither of those things. Sure, Ms. Waite's husband is guilty of being a cheating and lying jerk, but how is this different from thousands of other people whose lives are ruined by a partner's infidelity? I also understand that she was deeply hurt by his actions (as I Ugh, I didn't like this book. After reading the description, I took the last word in the title--betrayal--and expected something mind-bending and completely unbelievable to compel me to read all 258 pages of this. This book was neither of those things. Sure, Ms. Waite's husband is guilty of being a cheating and lying jerk, but how is this different from thousands of other people whose lives are ruined by a partner's infidelity? I also understand that she was deeply hurt by his actions (as I would be), but what is so remarkable here? Why is this a memoir? Who published this drivel? Most of the first half of this book is made up of adolescent-ish, 'dear diary' prose, with "Before" and "After" scenes documenting the beginning, middle, and end of her marriage. Somewhere in all of this she discovers her husband is having an affair and we're forced to watch as she goes back and forth with omg why omg why omg why this happened. We watch as she scours her husband and his mistress' social media, phone records, an Uber account. It's exhausting. It's obsessive. It's creepy. We also don't care. I also take issue with her use of 'psychopathic' to describe her husband's behavior. Yes, he cheated on her and lied to her--but does this really make him a psychopath? What medical expertise does the author have to make such a determination? Wait a minute, she has no medical expertise at all--she uses a Google search, message boards, and a Wikipedia page to diagnose her husband's actions. Well alrighty then. I don't recommend this--no way, no how.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dona

    Everyone goes through bad times. Hearts are broken, people come in and out of your life, and things just dont turn out the way you had hoped. Most of us, however, put on our big girl pants and shoulder on. Yes, perhaps you allow yourself a few days of tears and despair but seriously, Jen Waite, MONTHS and MONTHS of non-ending navel gazing and self-pity? I cant begin to tell you how impatient I became with this womans non-ending woe is me dialogue. She was fortunate; she had a beautiful child, a Everyone goes through bad times. Hearts are broken, people come in and out of your life, and things just don’t turn out the way you had hoped. Most of us, however, put on our big girl pants and shoulder on. Yes, perhaps you allow yourself a few days of tears and despair but seriously, Jen Waite, MONTHS and MONTHS of non-ending navel gazing and self-pity? I can’t begin to tell you how impatient I became with this woman’s non-ending “woe is me” dialogue. She was fortunate; she had a beautiful child, a devoted sister, friends and wealthy parents that supported her 100%. I was relieved to finish this book and cannot wait to return it to the library (thank God I didn’t purchase it).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    Jen tells her story very well and believably but I couldn't help but feel she may have blinded herself to the signs for a while, as some women do. Some of us are even raised that way I think after watching our mothers do similar things. Thank goodness she made the choices she did though, once she figured things out. Oh, and what a guy her husband turns out to be! This ended up being a page-turner I stayed up late reading. My thanks to NetGalley, Plume and the author for providing me with an ARC Jen tells her story very well and believably but I couldn't help but feel she may have blinded herself to the signs for a while, as some women do. Some of us are even raised that way I think after watching our mothers do similar things. Thank goodness she made the choices she did though, once she figured things out. Oh, and what a guy her husband turns out to be! This ended up being a page-turner I stayed up late reading. My thanks to NetGalley, Plume and the author for providing me with an ARC for review purposes.

  17. 4 out of 5

    AJ Strosahl

    This book is embarrassing and I can't believe it was published. It's got everything: a self-important, histrionic narrator; grossly regressive gender politics with dashes of overt homophobia and frequent fat-shaming; junior-high-level writing and insight; at least 1 million uses of the word 'babe'. . . and, of course, riveting descriptions of the author Googling the symptoms of sociopathy and psychopathy. Marco sounds like a shitheel, no doubt. But there's nothing shocking here, he certainly This book is embarrassing and I can't believe it was published. It's got everything: a self-important, histrionic narrator; grossly regressive gender politics with dashes of overt homophobia and frequent fat-shaming; junior-high-level writing and insight; at least 1 million uses of the word 'babe'. . . and, of course, riveting descriptions of the author Googling the symptoms of sociopathy and psychopathy. Marco sounds like a shitheel, no doubt. But there's nothing shocking here, he certainly isn't a 'psychopath' and the level of deception and gas-lighting seems pretty standard fare, for a habitual cheater (one who had cheated on his previous partner- WITH THE AUTHOR). The play-by-play of the minutiae at the end of their relationship is stultifying, like reading someone else's food diary. The first 100 pages of the book are just her finding clear evidence of infidelity, believing her spouse's obvious lies about it, somehow being utterly shocked when the lies are revealed as such, screaming in his face and storming off, then repeating the whole cycle again. In these sequences, each 'new' betrayal is another tedious confirmation of the affair we already know he's having, and is described hysterically- 'my heart thundered in my chest and everything went black' etc. For instance, she takes us through seeing, in the Uber app, that her partner's car has stopped in Williamsburg, far from their apartment, then frantically searching the Instagram account of his mistress and confirming she ALSO lives in Williamsburg- oh, the intrigue! It seems like the kind of conversation you'd have immediately after a partnership falls apart in this way- you're furious, and you want everyone else to be furious too, and you can't help describing each tiny detail as a world-ending event. I feel bad writing such a rough review of such a personal memoir, because the thing that enrages me the most about this book isn't really her fault. What makes me angry is that I'm pretty sure a woman of color, a poorer woman, or a less attractive woman could not have written this memoir, or at least could not have found a publisher for it. It's only a publishable story because there is a wealthy, thin, attractive white woman at its center, and we are expected to empathize with this brand of victim, and be outraged at her husband's violation of their traditional, transactional marriage. She 'has a lot to offer' and 'comes from a good family' and is losing the baby weight- how dare he perpetrate this unthinkable emotional crime against her, a paragon of non-threatening, supportive, white femininity? This is a woman who, after she obtains a last-minute, project-saving $50K investment- from her parents- for the bar Marco is trying to open, cries 'babe, you did it!' and then proudly, insipidly writes about him saying 'no, WE did,' as if he's doing her a favor by acknowledging her contribution. As we learn he's a liar, we're supposed to think: and THIS is how he repays her?! This book was not published because Jen Waite has endured something more than ordinary marital catastrophe. It was not published because she has developed unique insights on the complexities of a faltering marriage or the myriad psychological reasons why people cheat. It was not published because she is a good writer or offers illuminating perspective on a complicated issue. The only conclusion I can come to about why it was published is that there is an appetite for outrage on behalf of women like her. I have enormous personal empathy for her- getting cheated on is so excruciating, and she deserves all the support her friends and family can muster. But I still want the hours I spent reading this book back.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. While I thought this book had great promise, ultimately I was underwhelmed. This memoir of a troubled marriage is told in a dual narrative, from both before and after the moment Jen begins to suspect her husband of cheating on her. Jen meets her husband Marco and falls hard and fast, and he appears to feel the same way. The "before" chapters show a generally happy life, as they get married, start a business together, and get pregnant. The I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. While I thought this book had great promise, ultimately I was underwhelmed. This memoir of a troubled marriage is told in a dual narrative, from both before and after the moment Jen begins to suspect her husband of cheating on her. Jen meets her husband Marco and falls hard and fast, and he appears to feel the same way. The "before" chapters show a generally happy life, as they get married, start a business together, and get pregnant. The "after" chapters begin when Jen finds an email that could point to Marco having an affair. While I sympathize with Jen finding out about her husband's betrayal just weeks after having a baby, it was still hard to read about her stalking social media for clues and obsessively poring over phone records. She vacillates between desperately wanting to leave him and blaming herself for pushing him to this point. Marco, on the other hand, deflects all accusations by claiming he is ill and numb, devoid of any feelings for her. Jen then begins googling Marco's behaviors and her internet research leads her to believe he is a sociopath; a therapist she meets with agrees with her after just one solo session (kind of suspect in itself). From what I remember from my abnormal psych class, personality disorders are very hard to diagnose and the person in question has to exhibit extreme behaviors. When I read the synopsis for this book, I was expecting truly heinous behavior from Marco, but while his actions are sh*tty, I didn't necessarily think he was a sociopath. Jen looks back at their life and seems to force his words and actions to fit the traits of a sociopath. He's charismatic, he lies, he cheats, he's had failed relationships - unfortunately, these traits aren't uncommon and if this is what defines a sociopath, then there must be a ton of them walking around, and I don't know if that's the case. While I applaud Jen for being brave enough to tell her story, I wasn't blown away by it. The writing isn't particularly good, and I hope that the many typos are cleared up before the book is released. I think her story is a cautionary tale for other women who may suspect their partners of cheating and it's an interesting look at how we may not know the people closest to us, but I don't think we should all start thinking that every bad relationship is due to someone being a sociopath. That's a strong label.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    A couple of years ago a friend told me I needed to read this book. She had seen me through a pretty rough on and off relationship and that, coupled with the fact the author had lived in Astoria (my current city), I was extremely intrigued and bought it immediately - where it sat on my kindle for way too long. If you have ever been in a relationship where it seems one day he or she is madly in love with you to them doing a complete turnaround and makes you feel less than... then this will be a A couple of years ago a friend told me I needed to read this book. She had seen me through a pretty rough on and off relationship and that, coupled with the fact the author had lived in Astoria (my current city), I was extremely intrigued and bought it immediately - where it sat on my kindle for way too long. If you have ever been in a relationship where it seems one day he or she is madly in love with you to them doing a complete turnaround and makes you feel less than... then this will be a read that will definitely resonate with you. This type of whiplash elicits behaviors of your own you didn't know you had within - obsession and compulsion and and and... The panic attacks. The needing answers you don't realize until much later that you're never going to get. It's enough to drive you absolutely insane. There is never any full closure from relationships such as these. Just time to get to a better place. The majority of the book is the author's past and present going back to how the relationship began to when she started obsessing with the inconsistencies and lies from her husband. Then we get into the therapy sessions and holy hell... so much resonated. I was checking boxes. Boxes I knew I had already checked but somehow this made things a bit more real in my head for certain situations. In any matter - I was fascinated and just couldn't stop reading. I also love reading and learning more about these kinds of things. Let's not go into where I've done this research in the past trying to get answers of my own. Ahem. I always find memoirs hard to review as they're such a raw, public expression of what someone has gone through - how do you even begin to really rate what their experiences are. But when a story like this resonates and your heart just goes out, you can't help but rate it the full five stars. It's always good to see there is light at the end of the tunnel. The mind space you get in relationships such as these are hard to reconcile and the heart heals slowly... but time truly does help. And a good therapist. Thank you, Jen, for sharing your story. 💖

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kater Cheek

    I honestly thought I would like this book more, since I went through something so similar. It should have hit me right in the feels, as if someone who also lost her father as a child read Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes. I mean, how common is "woman finds out her beloved is a cheating douchebag?" It's almost like a coming-of-age trope. The first true love. The first time someone important dies. This book is "the first time the person you loved most in the world betrays you for the most grotesquely I honestly thought I would like this book more, since I went through something so similar. It should have hit me right in the feels, as if someone who also lost her father as a child read Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes. I mean, how common is "woman finds out her beloved is a cheating douchebag?" It's almost like a coming-of-age trope. The first true love. The first time someone important dies. This book is "the first time the person you loved most in the world betrays you for the most grotesquely selfish reasons and you have to pick up the pieces and move on." I mean, it's so common. There's a reason why "divorcing his wife and running off with the secretary" is such a stereotype. Waite tries to make this book have a unique angle by playing up the idea that her husband was a psychopath or a sociopath. (Don't get your hopes up that this will be some dark and tense psychothriller. He's just a lying cheater.) She even gets her therapist to agree that he is a sociopath. Waite asks "Why? Why would a man do this? Why would he tell his wife he loved her over and over, even while he was sleeping with some bimbo?" Um, because he's selfish? Because lying gets him what he wants: a baby and someone to care for the baby, but a few pieces on the side as well? I mean, it didn't seem like she needed to use Dr. Google to psychoanalyze someone. If there were a nature guidebook for men, under the species of "lying douchebags who cheat on their wives and lie to her face about it" you'd see "common/invasive" and the entire map would be colored in as both summer and winter habitat. This sort of man is not thin on the ground. Because I've been through something so similar, I found myself comparing and contrasting my behavior with hers. My first thought was that she threw in the towel pretty damn early, which probably saved her a lot of time in the discovery to divorce path. One suspicious email and she's packing her bags to stay with her parents eight hours away. One suspected affair and that's it, her marriage is totally over. I should have admired her for not putting up with shit, but I couldn't help thinking "wow, is she fragile." Not a stiff upper lip kind of woman. Maybe that's because of my own experiences. It was like a Kosovo survivor listening to her neighbor complain about how horrible it was to have the neighbors play loud music all night. Yes. Tell me about how the noise bothered you. That must have been so bad for you. Do you want a tissue. I mean yes, being betrayed is hard. Having a colicky newborn while you find out your husband has been cheating on you is really terrible. But the way she went on and on about it made her sound like a bit of a spoiled princess. Huge hand wringing over the fact that he took his new trashy ho to the same restaurant that she went to with him. "How could he!" she wails. "Sociopaths lack imagination," her therapist coos. Or maybe he liked the food? I wanted to like and empathize with her, but she was really just getting on my nerves. Then I put the pieces together. All her friends adored and cherished her. Everyone took her side instantly (none of her friends said "he dumped you, get over it," or cheated on her husband behind her back). She didn't lose half her social circle who decided they liked her ex-husband better than her. I don't think she lost a single friend over this even. No one said "stop feeling sorry for yourself and grow up. You can't lie in bed all day." She expected that everyone loved her, and would always adore her, as if it were her due. And the clincher: Waite managed to work as an actress in New York for years despite the fact that her audiobook narration/voice acting was so wooden and stilted as to be distracting (despite the fact that she was reading her own material!) What is the missing link? Ah ha! I figured. Waite must be incredibly beautiful. Who else but a beautiful person would think that her petty, commonplace struggles would be so endlessly fascinating? (And boy, howdy, are there a lot of unnecessary details in this book.) Who else but a beautiful person would assume that everyone in the world loves her and want her to be happy? No one. (I googled her. She's centerfold hot.) The book didn't grab me because I found the main character to be uninteresting and unlikeable. She comes across as shallow, self-absorbed, fragile, brittle and just plain not very interesting. There's no humor in her pain, no resonance of human spirit (even from a woman who went through the same thing), no poetry in her descriptions. Bland person + great beauty = likeable person. In person, I'd probably adore her like everyone else does. But without the crutch of her beauty, she comes across as a somewhat spoiled girl who went through something terrible but wasn't quite enough of a writer (or actress) to make her ordeal interesting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Jen Waite had been in New York City pursuing her dream of becoming an actress for two years when she started working at a restaurant for extra cash. It was here that she met Marco Medina, a handsome Argentinian bar manager, and they fell head-over-heels in love. All the clichés: a green card, a successful business venture, a baby on the way, an idyllic wedding on the beach in Maine. And then the whole thing fell apart. Marco was always an illusion; the best magic trick Ive ever seen, Waite Jen Waite had been in New York City pursuing her dream of becoming an actress for two years when she started working at a restaurant for extra cash. It was here that she met Marco Medina, a handsome Argentinian bar manager, and they fell head-over-heels in love. All the clichés: a green card, a successful business venture, a baby on the way, an idyllic wedding on the beach in Maine. And then the whole thing fell apart. “Marco was always an illusion; the best magic trick I’ve ever seen,” Waite marvels. She’s written her story up like a thriller, a Gone Girl narrative of gradual revelations and the desire to get even. Chapters alternate between “Before,” when she still had what she thought was the perfect existence, and “After,” when she started to suspect that Marco had a secret life. I use the term “thriller” as a compliment: the dialogue is spot-on and this is a remarkably gripping book given that the title and blurb pretty much give the whole game away. More than that, it’s a fascinating psychological study of the personality of a sociopath and pathological liar. Surviving to tell her story and train to become a therapist for women who have been in her situation is Waite’s apt revenge.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    I'm not sure how long I had this ARC before I started reading it, but it was apparently long enough for me to forget it was a memoir. It happens sometimes, but I usually remember once I start reading. As I read it over the weekend, I was convinced I was reading an engrossing psychological thriller... until I read the acknowledgements at the end. That's when I realized I was actually reading a memoir. All of this actually happened. The chill that went through me at this realization was far more I'm not sure how long I had this ARC before I started reading it, but it was apparently long enough for me to forget it was a memoir. It happens sometimes, but I usually remember once I start reading. As I read it over the weekend, I was convinced I was reading an engrossing psychological thriller... until I read the acknowledgements at the end. That's when I realized I was actually reading a memoir. All of this actually happened. The chill that went through me at this realization was far more intense than the ones I'd been having as I read the book. A Beautiful, Terrible Thing is unique in that it is written in the style of a novel, simultaneously telling the story of the beginning of the relationship with her husband, and its devastating end, in "Before" and "After" segments. Waite's seemingly perfect marriage unravels shortly after the birth of her daughter, when she discovers her husband has been unfaithful—something he denies repeatedly, despite evidence to the contrary. In her search for the truth, she realizes her husband fits the definition of a psychopath and is incapable of truly loving anyone. Her marriage was built on a foundation of lies. For her daughter's sake, Waite must find the strength to begin a new life. The damage that can be done by someone with a dangerous personality disorder cannot be understated. Gaslighting is a particularly heinous manipulation that leaves the victim confused and disoriented, questioning their ability to remember events correctly. This is a single example of the many ways such a person can mentally torture their victims. This powerful memoir is heartbreaking, often chilling, and incredibly hard to put down. It feels wrong to say I "enjoyed" reading it, given the pain and suffering the author went through, but I'm glad I read it. I think books such as this one are important because they shine a light on the destructive behaviors of abusers... perhaps the better equipped people are to recognize the signs, the lesser the chance they will be a potential victim? One can only hope. I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Plume via Netgalley.

  23. 4 out of 5

    ☘Tara Sheehan☘

    Grab a box of Kleenex, a glass of wine and be prepared to have your heart ripped out because this is probably the most heartbreaking book Ive ever read. When youre done reading hopefully youll feel like nominating Jen Waite for an award as much as I did, if only for being so brave to create this epic tome of raw honesty. She doesnt withhold any punches as she lifts the mirror to her life and broadcasts that image for all to see. This memoir made me want to slap Marco hard enough to spin his head Grab a box of Kleenex, a glass of wine and be prepared to have your heart ripped out because this is probably the most heartbreaking book I’ve ever read. When you’re done reading hopefully you’ll feel like nominating Jen Waite for an award as much as I did, if only for being so brave to create this epic tome of raw honesty. She doesn’t withhold any punches as she lifts the mirror to her life and broadcasts that image for all to see. This memoir made me want to slap Marco hard enough to spin his head off and hug his poor wife while giving her a shoulder to cry on. Waite knows how to spin words and rip every emotion possible out of you as you’re pulled along on her journey. In some ways it is part warning letter so no one repeats her mistakes and part letter of courage so anyone else in a similar situation knows they are not alone. It’s absolutely staggering how insightful she was in this book because it took quite a bit of bravery and reflection to admit the mistakes she made, how she learned from them and the impact this relationship had on her life. This book, her story, could save lives and change the course for so many people.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆

    If you're expecting anything deep in this book then put it down. This is just one sob story that isn't particularly interesting. I'm sure it was hard for the author but nothing here warranted a book. Basically, Jen's hubby cheats on her when their baby was a couple weeks old and she leaves him. That's... literally everything. Basically, he worshipped the ground she walked on until he didn't. We get very long descriptions of her depression but that's all. Eventually, she tries to find the reason If you're expecting anything deep in this book then put it down. This is just one sob story that isn't particularly interesting. I'm sure it was hard for the author but nothing here warranted a book. Basically, Jen's hubby cheats on her when their baby was a couple weeks old and she leaves him. That's... literally everything. Basically, he worshipped the ground she walked on until he didn't. We get very long descriptions of her depression but that's all. Eventually, she tries to find the reason why and then decides he must be a sociopath because he seemed like he didn't care when they broke up. No abusive spouse or obsessed Ex. No real threats of any kind. He just let her leave and that was that. And because he didn't chase after her, he must therefore be a sociopath. /yawn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Infidelity, cowardice and a propensity to lie do not necessarily make a psychopath. That's my take on this book. I gave it two stars because it promised to be an interesting story for the first fifty or so pages, but it's not particularly well written and it isn't what the publisher touts it as. It's one of the most disappointing memoirs I've read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Ok, I read this for a co-worker and friend of decades length. (A special rec, that she left for me with a note at my pick up ILL library location.) And now I think she did this as part of long shared conversations in the past, as a joke. And she did it, for sure she got me. Oh, did you make me laugh. Peggy, Peggy, Peggy- you really are a precious card. I know that I will be judged harshly for thinking this memoir humorous in any aspect. But from my friend's eyes and mine too- it just seems so. Ok, I read this for a co-worker and friend of decades length. (A special rec, that she left for me with a note at my pick up ILL library location.) And now I think she did this as part of long shared conversations in the past, as a joke. And she did it, for sure she got me. Oh, did you make me laugh. Peggy, Peggy, Peggy- you really are a precious card. I know that I will be judged harshly for thinking this memoir humorous in any aspect. But from my friend's eyes and mine too- it just seems so. Especially coming from the place of 25 or 30 year marriages that evaporate overnight while taking monetary hidden assets and entire owned businesses with them. In Peggy's case she had 5 kids under 19 and he went to "find himself" with his pregnant girlfriend. So she must have truly got a laugh herself out of leaving me this one. So here it goes. It just missed getting the 1 star. But I couldn't do it because of her (author's) quality of total exposure. Some call it honesty. But no, as she routinely hides quite a bit of the truth from herself from the first pages, so I can't define it as honesty. But let's just say she's open. "Naive beyond belief for the Big Apple" could/ should be the title of this book. (Or for anywhere quite beyond NYC the more I think about it.) Jen Waite is exactly the texture of human than should remain home (Maine in this case) and not try the "make it there, I can make it anywhere" tribe that seeks to enter show biz/ acting. It's terrible form for a memoir to begin with and the prose style is nearly as bad as the form. The constant and short chapters switching time periods is dizzying and at points they don't even connect in any direct context progression to the subject matter. So she requires herself to be continually redundant for setting the "place" or exact day sequences on top of it. And here is a 25 or 27 or whatever year old (after all of the worst knowledge is said and done) who then uses her own Mother to come travel and exit herself from an intolerable situation? So many paths that Jen Waite crossed while singing a merry tune are incredulous to me that she would begin to expect "happy roses" at its ending. But then she doesn't even resolve her own errors by her own gumption or definitive actions in relationship conclusions which further muddies the waters. Here's a clue, Jen. Don't label people (spouses too) with psychological DSM-V labels (yet she relates in detail within the intro that she has absolutely no psychology training) when you barely know them and then marry them in a whirl. Especially if he has been illegally in the country for 12 years, has illegitimate children that you know about, works primarily in the bar and nightlight scene, and wants permanent citizenship and secure permissions by owning an American citizen spouse marriage certificate. And then if you haven't already jumped that magic gate of self-delusion, don't proceed to have a baby and ditch most of the career auditions in the first couple years on top of it when there is little to no economic security at all offered to you in return. This writing skill alone was poor enough to grab the 1 star, but the story becomes pitiable to the cognition of this writer here, so I settled for 2. At points in her tale, and with the words/ colloquial terms and context of what she gushes and weeps (like a volcano on about 1/3rd of all the pages)- this is like reading the testimony of a 17 or 18 year old and not of a grown woman. Sad. But even sadder that she published this. Hopefully she got some money of size. She doesn't fit into any New York City context of real.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Débora Vagos

    Honestly? Where do I start... I read the first few pages and was hooked. I was so intrigued to find out which deep, dark secret she had uncovered. When I realized, halfway through, that her husband's biggest secret, while very disgusting, was nothing notable, I realized that I was simply wasting my time and that I would finish the book simply to warn others about it. I feel sorry for her, I truly do. Her situation is horrible and vile; but honestly, this book reads like a high school girl Honestly? Where do I start... I read the first few pages and was hooked. I was so intrigued to find out which deep, dark secret she had uncovered. When I realized, halfway through, that her husband's biggest secret, while very disgusting, was nothing notable, I realized that I was simply wasting my time and that I would finish the book simply to warn others about it. I feel sorry for her, I truly do. Her situation is horrible and vile; but honestly, this book reads like a high school girl gossiping with her best friends, not a 30 year old mother working her way towards becoming a licensed therapist. At so many points in this book I found myself questioning who had the mental illness, Jen or her husband. It's one thing to go through the motions of heartbreak, and at times I applaud her for her openness and willing to admit what she did (creeping Facebook, going through phone records, etc.); however, I'm not exactly sure this warrants a memoir. So often I felt that the illusion she is trying to portray cracked and the real her shone through. She was petty with his new girlfriend, she included excerpts of conversations she had with his ex wife about him, and she continuously mentioned all the mean-spirited things she thought about his new girlfriend. (Calling her Croella, really?) What I can't get over is why she hates on her ex husband so much for cheating on her, and hates his new girlfriend at that, when she herself cheated on her ex boyfriend with Marco? Does she not realize that she was once the other woman and that she did to her ex boyfriend what Marco did to her? She talks about karma so much at the end and perhaps it was served. She cheated on her boyfriend and then blamed it on the long distance. Also, what's with all the gossiping? She mentions, on numerous occasions, how people called and she immediately went into the details of the story. Come on. He can be the worst human being on earth, but he is still your daughter's father. How on earth is she going to feel when her daughter reads this in 20 years? The more I think about this book, the more annoyed I get. She sounds like a spoiled brat for 80% of the book and the other 20% is filled with her useless Wikipedia knowledge on sociopaths. The letter at the end when she describes how she wasn't in love with her daughter at first sight made me cringe. My only question is who on earth allowed this book to be published and why? There are plenty of interesting and important stories in the world. An actress's tale of how her husband cheated on her and how she had to move back in with her parents until she got a Masters degree is honestly not one of those. Save yourselves the trouble, it's not worth the time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Skyler Autumn

    3.5 Stars Review to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A Beautiful Terrible Thing is the title of author Jen Waites compelling new memoir, and accurate description of her five year marriage to Marco. Originally in the US illegally from Argentina, Marco was already in a relationship, and had a young son by a different woman, when they met at work. Marco was loving, charming and swept her off her in a whirlwind romance. Marcos was her best friend and soul mate, they never fought or argued. After the birth of their daughter the illusion of her perfect A Beautiful Terrible Thing is the title of author Jen Waite’s compelling new memoir, and accurate description of her five year marriage to Marco. Originally in the US illegally from Argentina, Marco was already in a relationship, and had a young son by a different woman, when they met at work. Marco was loving, charming and swept her off her in a whirlwind romance. Marco’s was her best friend and soul mate, they never fought or argued. After the birth of their daughter the illusion of her perfect marriage shattered when she found an email he had written to his 22 year old mistress. Marco, the service manager of a busy restaurant, always had reasons and explanations to cover his tracks. All lies. Caring for a fussy newborn was stressful enough: Waite hysterically threw her clothes into a suitcase, and fled with her baby from her and Marco’s apartment in NYC, to her parent’s home in Maine. It seemed that she was making a snap judgment she might later regret. Eventually, with the help of her parents, who had insight and correctly figured the situation out, she would boldly move forward with her life. It was when she was in therapy, she learned about narcissism and the psychopathic personality. Marco continued to “love bomb” her-- that is turning on his charm, love, and attention to win her back. Others came forward and shared some very unpleasant and disturbing news about her husband’s philandering; (since she and Marco’s were separated) it was assumed she was strong enough to hear the truth. Waite learned she only saw and believed what she wanted too, the “red flags” were there all along. It was terribly painful for her to examine the “before” and “after” details of their marriage, realizing Marco would never feel any remorse for the intense pain and agony she had suffered. Waite is to be commended for sharing her true story for the benefit of others. ~ With thanks to Penguin Random House via NetGalley for the direct e-copy for the purpose of review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linden

    This memoir of a woman who falls in love with the perfect man and finds out that he is not what he seems is painful to read. Jen, an aspiring actress who takes a waitressing job between casting calls, falls for handsome Latin bartender Marco. Is he a liar, or a sociopath, or just an incorrigible flirt, as he claims? Can anyone believe a man who tells his employer he is taking paternity leave (when his wife and baby are in another state with her parents) and spends the time with his mistress? This memoir of a woman who falls in love with the perfect man and finds out that he is not what he seems is painful to read. Jen, an aspiring actress who takes a waitressing job between casting calls, falls for handsome Latin bartender Marco. Is he a liar, or a sociopath, or just an incorrigible flirt, as he claims? Can anyone believe a man who tells his employer he is taking paternity leave (when his wife and baby are in another state with her parents) and spends the time with his mistress? Psychopaths, nicknamed “human heroin,” are often hard to recognize, and apparently often don’t even consider themselves as such. Jen, the author, came to the realization that she was “shooting pure, unadulterated psychopathic love into my bloodstream for five years. I am coming down from a drug I didn’t even know I was on, and withdrawal has knocked me on my f****** a**.” This heartfelt narrative offers hope to anyone who has experienced a cataclysmic betrayal.

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