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339 pages, Hardcover
First published April 11, 2017
The Widow of Wall Street is a fictionalised accounting of the Bernie Madoff type scandal told from the POVs of the wife, Phoebe, and the mastermind, Jake.
It's the scandal that toppled the Enron/Arthur Anderson debacle from the apex of most salacious financial crimes list; the Madoff Ponzi scheme ruined too many lives catapulting his family to infamy, making them the "most hated people in America".
With the story in the headlines for years and with at least a half-dozen fiction and non-fiction accounting of this debacle, I wonder: did we need another reimagining of this? Even if it was to give an insight into the family behind the man?
I'd say no. This story serves only to rip the scabs off wounds that have barely healed, attempting an unconvincing rationalisation of how a wife of 40 odd years would insist she had little to no knowledge of her husband's illicit wealth. Most women- if we're sincere - know when a spouse or partner is being suspect, whether you choose to acknowledge such, is another matter
Phoebe was the wife who neither saw nor heard any evil and despite having gone to college, her role as a human being devolved to nothing more than stroking her husband's ego while living the quintessential upper-class life. Her kids, Kate and Noah, also lived on the ill-gotten gains notwithstanding they had zero knowledge of who their father was.
When the house of cards toppled the kids were the first to leave; that Phoebe stayed was not indicative of a person in remorse or even as penance. No, she was shamed into doing it. Still, I'm not judging.
In all, I feel for those that lost their life savings to this scheme; I even have a smidgen of pity for Jake and Phoebe who lived a life of greed, lies, and deceit.