The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, a Widow's New Life
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The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, a Widow's New Life

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  2,251 ratings  ·  334 reviews

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.

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Published (first published October 20th 2011)
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Jo Anne B
When I first started reading this book I almost put it down. To think any of the Madoff's deserved sympathy from anyone when they destroyed so many other people's livelihoods was absurd. Reading about their fairy tale lives full of lavish, extravagances that they knew nothing other than was nauseating. But I put aside my initial judgmental feelings and anger and continued on. The truth of the matter is that Mark Madoff, Bernie's son, was innocent of any wrongdoing. But his life was torn down and...more
Lynnette
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
TinasBookReviews
I went into this book knowing about the back story and scandal of the Madoff's and with the knowledge that the family was and still is extremely wealthy, so I was prepared to enter into this life of glamour and luxury and knew that things in it would probably seem ridiculous to a non-millionaire like me. I guess what intrigued me to read this was the idea of seeing inside the Madoff scandal through the eyes of the widow and the aftermath of Madoff's decision to end his life. What surprised me th...more
Becky Sandham Mathwin
I ending up reading this book because for whatever reason the whole Bernie Madoff case has always been sort of intriguing to me. While it wasn't dull and I found some of the revelations about the Madoff family interesting, I really didn't care for Ms. Madoff Mack (she was married to Mark Madoff, the Madoff son who comitted suicide). She seemed somewhat spoiled and superficial. I thought it was very tacky and unnecessary that she trashed her deceased husband's first wife (the mother of his oldest...more
Jenn
Sad. Just a sad, sad situation. I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book considering what Stephanie's father-in-law, Bernie Madoff, had done to his investors. However, I found Stephanie's account to be...honest. She didn't try to hide her short-comings or smooth over her emotions or make it sound like she was a saint. Maybe she'll have regrets later, but she wanted to tell her husband's and her story after having to stay quiet for so long, and she did.

Don't get me wrong - some of it is...more
Stacey Buono
I was really interested in reading this book because I do believe that Mark Madoff was another one of his father's tragedies. I found Stephanie from the very beginning to be negative and extremely self centered. Even before the fraud was exposed, she painted herself as jilted and a victim. I cannot imagine what it is like to be in her or her children's shoes and I truly feel sorry for both. I do, however, think that she has painted an unbecoming picture of herself with this book. If her intentio...more
Linda
I wish I could give it zero stars. The author was married to Mark Madoff. Mark was the son of Bernie Madoff and Mark committed suicide 2 years after Bernie's scheme unraveled. Stephanie and Mark had been married for 6 years and had two children.
She has the gall to claim that Mark "was the greatest casualty" of his father's fraud. If only her editor had let her finish her sentence the way she wanted, it would have continued to read "and next to Mark, nobody suffered more than me." She spends the...more
Michelle
Unique look into a slice of the Madoff world. Stephanie Madoff Mack is the widow of Mark, son of swindler Bernie, who died at his own hand. Her story is heartbreaking but she is almost too generous to her husband, which I understand, but this approach didn't allow the reader to see the full spectrum of her feelings. He tries to kill himself once and eventually succeeds and she paints their marriage as very happy and rosy. There is an entire year she glosses over between the first attempt and the...more
Jaclyn Day
I’ve found memoirs to be touch and go in general, but I was especially wary when starting this book because I wasn’t sure how Mack would approach the subject matter…and I wasn’t sure what route she would take with her story. If you aren’t very familiar with every detail in the Madoff case, you may assume that Mack perhaps knew about her father-in-law’s massive Ponzi scheme, or that she was kept in the dark but her husband, Mark Madoff (Bernie’s son) knew about it. Neither is true. Like everyone...more
Barbara
Well written depiction of one family member's perspective. But I would give the book 3 stars instead of 5 stars. I came away feeling as if Stephanie lives in a plastic bubble in some respects. First off, most people who might find themselves in this kind of situation would have to scramble around and find a job to make ends meet. It seems that is not the position she is in, and for that, she should be forever grateful....to the Madoffs. Instead, she spends a lot of energy trash talking. I'm sure...more
Shantelle
The End of Normal reads like fiction. Stephanie Madoff does a beautiful job vindicating her late husband, Mark Madoff. Her emotions are raw, but honest, which makes this book very emotional and hard to put down. I have gained a lot of respect for Stephanie and I feel she has no reason to lie. Bernie Madoff not only stole from thousands of people, but he duped her own parents out of their savings as well. I’m sure that writing this book was not easy; she takes the reader into her very personal li...more
Eileen
Fairly well written but the author seemed so caught up in her fantastic NYC lifestyle that she came across as really furious with her father-in-law for ruining that for her when he got caught. She did do a great job of describing the anger that is associated with grief, especially after a sudden death, but I think she just wanted to punish everyone, including her husband for what happened. In retrospect I think she had a chip on her shoulder before she ever married Mark Madoff regarding his rela...more
Karen McCready
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Tina
Stephanie Madoff Mack had it all: homes in Soho, Greenwich and Nantucket, a doorman, a dog walker, reliable childcare for her two beautiful children, a handsome rich husband who adored her, a famous even wealthier father-in-law, luxury cars, nice clothes. Then in December 2008, her father-in-law Bernard Madoff, confessed to his two sons that his entire life and business was a giant lie. The rest is history. Thousands of people lost millions of dollars from "investing" with Bernie Madoff, includi...more
Jim H.
Yep, that Madoff, as in Bernie’s daughter-in-law. If you have not heard of Bernie Madoff, you probably might not be interested in this memoir. Or maybe you live on another planet. Or you never heard of a Ponzi scheme. As he spends the rest of his life in prison, Madoff’s name will probably loom as infamously large in investing history as Ponzi’s has.

Madoff understood greed and capitalized on it and the ignorance and naivete of his investors. What is amazing is that so many wealthy, otherwise in...more
Booksintheburbs
I am probably the only person in the world who did not know the details regarding the Madoff ponzi scheme before reading this book. Because of this, reading Stephanie’s book came from a place of getting to know her and how she coped with the loss of her husband. As a family therapist, I have worked with families who have been affected by suicide. So, this was really my interest and intrigue in reading this book. What I got, was so much more.

Stephanie Madoff Mack doesn’t hold back her thoughts, e...more
Stacey
I was very interested to read this story about what it must have been like to live in the shadow of such a monumental event in our history. I was prepared to feel sympathetic towards the sons and their families. However, I found that as I was reading I was not very fond of Stephanie. She struck me as incredibly self-centered - only able to see the breakdown of this family for what it had done to her. The oversimplification of Ruth Madoff seemed silly - it appears irrational to have expected Ruth...more
Viv
Yes, just like everyone else, I am sick of hearing any news about Barnard Madoff. His heartless Ponzi scheme destroyed many, many people and their families; his horrible swindle put many financial professionals' jobs at risk, including my husband's. People became so wary and dubious with almost any type of financial professionals. And we all quickly to judge that everyone in the family is in this for at least 3 decades, no doubt about it.

But Bernie Madoff's daughter-in-law, Stephanie Mack had b...more
Dawn
Wow! I can only imagine being the person who knows that their greed for money and power destroyed their family right down to the smallest grandchild. I feel so sorry for this family who was left to deal with the trickle down effects from this man's greed. It is too bad that his son could not get past the speculation that he was in on his father's lies and betrayal because he really did have so much to live for in his children. I think it takes a lot of courage for Stephanie to write about her tr...more
Serge
While what Bernard Madoff has done is reprehensible. It's even more reprehensible to turn against their father like their sons did!

I understand they had to turn him in, but was turning against him the way they did "normal"? Not only that, but they and their wives" crucified" their mom for having contact with a husband of 50 years!

Normal, salt of the earth, people don't shut out their parents even if their parents are convicted murders and rapists! Rich, privileged, rotten kids are the one who...more
Jeanne Morigeau
ug! I ordered this from Amazon and once it arrived I was unimpressed right away. Nowhere on the cover does it let you know that it was co-authored. Stephanie and the writer really portray her like a dime store romance novel heroine - the language is that sappy. Oh, she blows up from time to time, but she is always right and always gets her way. I'm not going to pass judgement on anyone involved with the scandal, but this is a poorly written, nauseating book. I only finished it because of a morbi...more
Yancey
The wiring certainly isn't going to win her any prizes, but I'm sure no one is reading this for its literary value. It was interesting... Clearly her husband was a tormented soul, probably even before the scandal broke. But every time I started to feel sorry for her, she would tell some story that erased the sympathy. You wandered the streets of NY with a shopping bag filled with containers of your husband's ashes... sad. But then you were running late for a conference at your daughter's school,...more
Tara
This was an amazing book. Stephanie is a strong woman who has had to deal with a lot. I can't even begin to imagine the pain she has felt first from her father in law's deception of the financial world and then from her husband Mark's suicide. I want to think that they, Stephanie and Mark could have somehow worked it out and truely lived happily ever after and got rid of the demons that Bernie had envoked on them but I think that Mark took the easy way out. He was a coward and by committing suic...more
Kim
This was a very good book. I devoured it from cover to cover in under 24 hours, which is rare for me these days with keeping up with all my kids activities, etc.! I will admit that I knew nothing of the Madoff fiasco other than what I occasionally saw on the evening news. I have no doubts that Stephanie's husband was completely innocent in the wrongdoings that his Father took part in. She did an excellent job of telling the story & I hope that she, her children and everyone that was affected...more
Sevenponds
At first glance, Stephanie Madoff’s Mack’s The End of Normal grabs our attention solely because she’s the wife of one of Bernie Madoff’s two sons, Mark. But the real value of the book is the experience she shares of her pain following Mark’s suicide, two years to the day after his father confesses to his Ponzi scheme.

This book exposes three elements: first, a girl’s view of the interactions among wives of the wealthy; second, the expected behind-the-scenes glimpse at Bernie Madoff; and finally,...more
Elizabeth Cord
Bernie Madoff was a despicable individual who ruined many lives through his heartless thievery. His daughter-in-law, Stephanie Madoff Mack, by her own account, doesn't sound much better.

Amid descriptions of cursing and haranguing family and strangers, she is seemingly unable to maintain a healthy relationship with any person. She threatens her mother-in-law (I'll never let you see your grandchildren again) if grandma doesn't immediately follow Mack's order to divorce Bernie, her imprisoned husba...more
Maureen
I found this to be a GREAT read.The story shows how the actions of one person has a domino effect on so many and family is the first to suffer the repercussions of wrongs by a family member. It matters none if you had any knowledge of the act in progress.
All of us can relate to an uncontrollable family member we are cursed with and have suffered from merely being a relation.
Well written! I could not put this one down!
Diana
This was a tough one for me. I appreciate a good autobiography, but only if the writer is being honest, and if nothing else, Ms. Madoff Mack is honest. She does not portray herself as a nice person. She is entitled, self-centered and very, very angry. For being so honest, I give the book four stars. The writing may not win any awards, but it is certainly a very readable story about an incredibly dysfunctional family. I applaud the author for working with various therapists to help her children t...more
Holly Thomas
I enjoyed this book. Easy reading and informative. Stephanie Madoff gives her perspective on what it was like to have her husband, Mark Madoff, commit suicide. Sad and definitely a good read. I would have liked to know a little bit more detail about the whole scandal, via her side instead of the news or internet. She has and had to keep her mouth shut however.
Tricia
She is a piece of work! I obviously feel badly that she lost her husband, but she pretty much blames everyone for everything, besides herself of course. First she hates her in-laws, then they are wonderful grandparents and then she hates them again. Sometime on the same page it seems.
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The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, a Widow's New Life

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