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If Loving You Is Wrong: The Shocking True Story of Mary Kay Letourneau
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If Loving You Is Wrong: The Shocking True Story of Mary Kay Letourneau

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  960 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Teacher's Pet
Within hours of giving birth to her sixth child, Mary Kay Letourneau had her baby daughter whisked from her arms. She was then shackled and returned to her jail cell. Just years ago, the pretty, personable Seattle schoolteacher was living a life many would envy-- she had a handsome husband, four beautiful children, and a beloved following of students. Then she
Paperback, 373 pages
Published August 15th 1999 by St. Martin's True Crime (first published January 1st 1999)
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Mary  Carrasco
While this is a fascinating story, the writing was hard to follow. This book could have been far more organized and I found it to be extremely repetitive. 2.5 stars rounded up.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating story if only because it forces you to question some of our social norms.

For example, is this the story of true love or of selfish perversion? Does the fact that the couple eventually married, raising their two daughters together, make a difference to how you answer that question?

Olsen does a good job of giving us the details, though at times the narrative gets repetitive and wordy. That said, I'm not sure there's another book out there on the topic that competently examin
S. Wideman
Aug 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Sad to say, I'm always disappointed in Gregg Olsen's writing with True Crime. This is not the first book of his I've read, just the first I've refused to finish. I made it about 80% through before I put it down and deleted it. Not only was it full of editorial errors, but his jumps POV between one paragraph and the next. It's rather jarring to be reading the story from Character X's POV and the next paragraph is in Character Z's. As I said, I stopped reading it. Why? Because I felt like he was w ...more
Lynda Kelly
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: deleted
As with the last one of his I read it's chock full of errors.........such a disappointment. I had a few more by this author in my wishlist but no more. It makes the reading painful yet the story itself was fascinating. I wonder if this one had an alternative editor, though, as they're different types of mistakes.
At the start it stated the protagonist was 32 years old in 1996 but she was born in 1962. Do the maths. A couple of lines I read made no sense whatsoever however many times I re-read the
Jennie Colvin
Jun 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very sad story about a woman who was looking for someone to love her!!! The victims here are the children of Mary Kay!!!!
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading Gregg Olsen's YA fiction novels and so when this showed up as a Kindle deal and I found out the subject matter I thought I would try it. I have read true crime novels in the past to mixed results. However I remember vividly watching the Mary Kay Letourneau drama play out in the media as it happened. I was fascinated by the story then but still found the subject matter disgusting. A 13 year old child, really? Now I am the mother of a 13 year old son and I will tell you th ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Sep 01, 2015 marked it as couldn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Picked this book last night and began to read not knowing what that was about. As always I did not read the prologue because I do not want to know beforehand everything and in lot of prologues authors tell you all. (in most cases who was killed and who did it, so ridiculous)
Anyway it did not matter because the author is continually telling you what is going to happen, to whom and giving his opinion.

That plus terrible writing I have decided I am not going to read this any more.

Sad because his fir
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was surprised after reading this book to discover I had changed my mind somewhat about this whole incident. I was probably like most people offended and outraged at a teacher sexually abusing a student. However, I came to understand this was no ordinary case of molestation. I truly came to believe it was a love match between adult and child. Who was the child and who was the adult is the big question? I just feel the teacher in question was suffering from a mental illness and arrested emotiona ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fascinating study of a woman who has untreated bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, OCD, and sociopathy. As far as I know, she's still untreated. How many other people like that are there in the world? ...more
Geeta  Ramani
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Amorous teacher- juvenile student relationships ought not to go unpunished. And I wish conviction rates were higher for such teachers, both male and female.

Greg Olsen tells the story of one such conviction. An aspect that comes about strongly in this case: both teacher and student could have benefitted with counselling at the right time. Reading this book, I couldn't help thinking - even tabloid magazines are better written.
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book started out good and told a lot of background on Mary Kay that I had not read before. But after she was sent to jail, I felt it got really bogged down with a lot of people blaming each other for what was going on, a lot of childish games and money grabbing. It lost the personal touch that you read during the first 2/3rds of it. Starts good, finishes poor.
John Cornelius
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
Before reading this book, I knew the name of the teacher; I knew the crime she committed; and saw one interview with Barbara Walters from 2004 I believe; it was after she was released from prison. Having read the book from front to back, shocking would seem like an incredible understatement of the story.

It was a crime to have sex with a minor (regardless if it was consensual), and she paid the price for that crime with having registered as a sex offender, seeking treatment, six months jail time
Suzie Quint
3.5 stars

This isn't my normal reading material, but I lived in Seattle when this story broke, so it was a local story for me. So when I had the opportunity to snag this for free, I had to take it.

Most of the details from the arrest on, I already knew, but this delves deeply into MK's background and that was informative. It didn't change my opinion of what happened, but did convince me that MK is a selfish, immature woman who had little consideration for others when it got in the way of what she
Aug 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: truecrime
Oh my god, here is the ultra-cheesy, cover-with-a-paper-bag- when-you-take-it-on-the-subway true crime: the one about Mary Kay LeTorneau and the kid. Considering the subject matter, this one could have been a lot more exploitative than it was, so I give a tip of the hat to Gregg Olsen and his writing talents for not making it so. Nevertheless, it's about what you'd expect, so for those who were as obsessed with this case as I was (i.e., no one, but you know what I mean), pick this one up. ...more
Bob Lake
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-on-kindle
Very detailed account of the public information available about Mary Kay Letourneau, the infamous 6th grade teacher who bore two children with one of her students.

I read the Kindle version which apparently came via a scan and had typos spready liberally throughout.

The writing was disappointing. It was very difficult to keep track of the large cast of characters. The chapters are short and not all in chronological order.

Not recommended
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
The story was great, but the writing was mediocre and full of errors. Despite the writing, the events were well described, so getting through the book was much less painful than it otherwise would have been had the story not been so interesting.
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
I can not believe these women or men in same situations can even think of sleeping with a student...Sick
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Interesting story but the writing reminded me too much of a newspaper article. I also found a lot of the sentences to be repetitive.
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very good book, held my attention. Well written for a easy read.
Karla Goforth Abreu
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I give this three stars due to the sheer amount of information the author unearthed and shared. I found the writing, at times, difficult to follow. The timeline often seemed to backtrack and some information was rehashed by various players in the true story. The story, a tragic affair any way it is looked at, took in a renewed interest at the time I read it: Mary and Villi had filed divorce the week I began reading, 2017, almost 20 years after the book was written. The bizarre information, after ...more
Caleb Hoyer
I thought this book was pretty well-written. It was an engaging read, well paced, and felt fairly objective about its depiction of the woman at the center of it. It didn't seem to condemn her, nor did it defend her. It seemed to let her behavior speak for itself. But I couldn't help but feel there were some gaps in the story. The biggest motivation I had in reading it was wondering how on earth a teacher crosses that most unforgivable line. What could make a woman in her 30s feel attraction for ...more
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy the true crime genre, but I did not enjoy this book. Repetitive and very very slow it tells the story of a teacher and her rape of a twelve year old student.
I hated the way it was written, the apparent empathy by many people and the self centred approach of just about everyone involved.
She was thirty something, he was twelve.... how is that ever right even when dressed up as ‘true love’.
Just imagine the outcry if a male teacher of thirty something acted in this manner.... why is s
Kellie Bolton
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant tale of true scandal

I first learned of Mary Kay Letourneau not too long ago, I was only 15/16 when this scandalous story broke in the states, a 30 something married teacher having an affair with her 13 year old student and the fact they both said that they were in love AND he fathered 2 babies with her! 20 odd years later this couple are still together and they’ve been to hell on earth to make sure to be with each other, especially MKL, their love is strong no matter how it first star
Charles Reimler
Nov 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Deception Appearance From Mary Kay Had Roots From Her Childhood Immediate Parents Double Appearance Public To Private Mask! Think Mary Kay Roots Of A LOVELESS Marriage; Roots Expense CLOTHS Exterior; CHURCH PRANCERS; Are Due VALUES Pathological Parents Into Her Adulthood Behavior! People Accept The Abnormalities As Normal Due Sick Childhood Family Life! Born Innocent Mary Kay Mental Issues Has History ROOTS! Common Sense The Age Difference Is CRAZY! Model Immoral Choi
Aug 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I listened to this on audiobook format.
Honestly, the fact that some people couldn’t get it through their skulls that what happened here was morally wrong, child rape, hebephilia , and that a child doesn’t have the full cognitive capabilities and maturity to give consent to sexual activity, just blows my mind. And then there’s the double standard.
The fact that down the track they got married didn’t make any of this okay. I watched an interview with them and while she was trying to present happy
Debbie Angolano
Would not recommend

I chose this rating because I really try to finish books I read. I only got to 70% of this book and then I was sure I was wasting my time . This book was a lot of interviewing people who knew Mary Kay. It really got so overwhelming. When I stopped reading I was more confused about her personality.
This book is so slow ready and does not keep your interest.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Gregg Olsen is one of my new authors to read list. So far he doesn't disappoint. His detailed account allows readers to come to their own conclusions about the subjects of teacher/student and/or adult/child 'relationships. ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wow, she is really ill. Delusional, not in touch with reality. I can't understand a woman in her 30s looking at a 12 year old student (the same age as her son!) as a romantic anything. Period!
Megan Wills
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! I'm the same age as Vili Fualaau and I live in Western WA, so I remember following this on the news with my parents. Gregg Olsen did a fantastic job of showing us Mary Letourneau's life leading up to what happened. He showed all sides of the issue. Very well written! ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
I knew quite a bit about the Mary Kay Letourneau case before reading this book, yet I still learned a lot from Olsen's in-depth look at Mary Kay herself and all those involved. ...more
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Throughout his career, Gregg Olsen has demonstrated an ability to create a detailed narrative that offers readers fascinating insights into the lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Olsen has written ten nonfiction books, ten novels, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on

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