This book was truly heartbreaking. I was briefly fascinated with the Madoff scandal back when it all blew up but didn't probe around for details or re...moreThis book was truly heartbreaking. I was briefly fascinated with the Madoff scandal back when it all blew up but didn't probe around for details or really keep up with it. I was unaware that Bernie's son Mark took his own life, two years exactly from the date he turned his father in to the FBI.
I worried that I would be too annoyed with the wealthy and comfortable lifestyle of Stephanie and Mark to really churn up much empathy but this was not the case. Stephanie comes off as acutely aware that people may think this, and does a good job of acknowledging her privilege in life. One of the reasons Mark presumably took his life was because of the onslaught of lawsuits, which Stephanie says still continue til this day (Bernie's victims even went so far as to sue his 4 yr old granddaughter for the $11,000 he put in her college fund). It is still evident that even today, Stephanie is not living in squalor. It is also evident that Stephanie would give any amount of money or material belonging to have her husband back.
Before I read this book I always scoffed when people would talk about how suicide was a selfish act. I always feel for the people who suffer with a true disease of the mind that alienates them from everything and everyone they love and manipulates them into thinking that everything is so hopeless that death could be their only reprieve. Mark Madoff's suicide was different. His situation was a smack in the face to everything one is taught in life- work hard, keep your nose clean, be kind to others and things will turn out fine. Instead Mark's reputation was soiled along with Bernie's and ultimately even his closest friends turned on him and he became nearly unemployable (though he did get a job before he committed suicide) despite the fact that the branch of the company for which Mark worked was entirely clean and above-board.
Mark still had a wife that was loving and devoted to him and four beautiful children. To think he could be so consumed by anger for his father (and his mother who stood by Bernie ) that he could lose sight of this fact for the short time it took to take his own life as his 22 month old son slept in the other room is probably what I find most devastating thing about this: love didn't win out, anger prevailed.
This book is not incredibly well written, nor is it poorly written, but Stephanie does an excellent job of letting you in and seeing even the more unflattering aspects of her life and her relationship with Mark and the Madoffs. (less)
Did you know Jim Gaffigan has five kids? He has five kids. Five kids. He must be crazy. Wow five kids. Wow in a tiny NYC apartment. Did you know that...moreDid you know Jim Gaffigan has five kids? He has five kids. Five kids. He must be crazy. Wow five kids. Wow in a tiny NYC apartment. Did you know that you don't sleep much when you have five kids? Did you know it is hard to go anywhere with five kids? Wow he must be crazy or something to have five kids. Did he mention he has five kids?
If you made it through that then you should thank me because I basically just gave you the experience and gist of reading this book but saved you the trouble of actually reading it. You're welcome.(less)
I gave this one star only because I was mildly surprised at the end; other than that the characters were so flimsy and the problems this booked center...moreI gave this one star only because I was mildly surprised at the end; other than that the characters were so flimsy and the problems this booked centered around solving were just too mundane to hold my interest.(less)