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.
When the news of Bernard Madoff 's Ponzi scheme broke, Americans were shocked and outraged, perhaps none more so than the unsuspecting members of his own family. After learning that their father's legendarily successful wealth management company was "all just one big lie", Mark and Andrew Madoff turned their father in and cut off all communication with both parents.
Mark and his wife, Stephanie, strove to make a fresh start for the sake of their two young children, but Mark could not overcome his sense of betrayal and shame - he and other family members were sued for $200 million in October of 2009. He hung himself on the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest. Left to raise her children as a single mother, Stephanie wrote this memoir to give them a sense of who their father really was, defend his innocence, and put her personal statement on record once and for all.
In this candid insider account, she talks about her idyllic wedding to Mark on Nantucket, what it was really like to be a part of the Madoff family, the build-up to Bernard's confession, and the media frenzy that followed. It is about the loss of the fairytale life she knew, adjusting to life with a man she hardly recognized anymore, and the tragic and final loss of her husband.
©2011 Stephanie Madoff Mack (P)2011 Penguin
Unfortunately, the author chose to narrate the book. Her voice is nasal and annoying.
I will give the author credit for not making herself a heroine. She comes across as a very difficult person who behaves selfishly many times.
The book presents a skewed view on the exposure of Bernie Madoff. This author flatly says that the two sons exposed their father, but other accounts I have read of the affair have described the investigation differently.
One does develop a sympathy for Mark Madoff and the sad end to his life, but other than gaining insight into the what propelled him to take his own life, the book does not add much information to what is already known. Most everyone in it, including the author, appear to be rather shallow, mean, and materialistic.
...the story, the authors point of view and behavior,(the previous reviews :) -- and yet, I still listened to the entire book and found it interesting.
Say something about yourself!
I have recommended the book to a friend but with a huge caveat.
The ending was already well known, so there were not any surprises. It was sad, of course. In most cases, loss of life is not a victory.
I believe that narrating her book was therapeutic for Stephanie. As for me, I didn't need the co-therapy and would have enjoyed a professional narrator.
No. I personally would not purchase a follow up book. I'm through. Too much therapy for my liking.
Stephanie's attempt to portray herself as a penniless Cinderella is not believable and collides with her admission that an attorney was hired to protect her assets. If she didn't have any assets in the beginning of the marriage and her husband/father-in-law did not funnel dirty money to her during the marriage, what assets were in need of protection? She was quite angry toward Ruth as she did not immediately sever ties to her husband of 50+ years. According to Stephanie's perspective, Ruth was blinded by denial surrounding Bernie, the crook. However, Stephanie exhibits the same characteristics in her relationship with her husband, whom she claims was a mere innocent bystander, as well as victim, of the tragedy caused by his father. It was hard for me to conjure up sympathy for the poor rich kids who had become adults. There are too many unacknowledged questions which Stephanie chose to leave alone. I will add that I appreciate the review by another reader who said the story was troubling on many levels. It is and that is very accurate. I continue to be bothered by what I learned -- and did not learn -- through this book.
Didn't expect this...
I loved the book and fell in love with Stephanie. I felt like she could be one of my friends and was sharing her story girlfriend to girlfriend. I actually looked forward to walking my dog, so I could hear more. Her story is brutally honest and raw. My heart aches for her and for the journey ahead.
I had my preconceived notions and judgments about the family, which I feel badly about now. The media twists things and distorts them, without proof, quite frequently. (Especially in our sensationalized 24/7 news ticker/ diarrhea blogosphere world.) Why did I buy into their opinion of the Madoff brothers? Regardless of your opinion about innocence and guilt... her story as a wife and mother deserves to be heard. Mark's story deserves to be heard.
When your very name becomes a swear word.
When this crime came to light, it was very easy to relate to the victims, but I never even thought about the family as victims. This book serves it's author's purpose as a eulogy
to her husband, Mark Madoff. It is a little uneven and some sections are repetitive. But in grief things do tend to go around and around.
For the most part the story is well written, giving details of a very charmed life. Just a beautiful happy family, good jobs, precious children, lovely homes, the American dream, until the day it was just torn apart. Stephanie has written from the heart (and not always to her own credit) about how one begins to cope or not when the the worst has happened and then continues to happen, in public and there is nothing you can control at all. Stephanie does an incredible job reading her own story.
Well worth the listen.
I was disgusted most of the time listening to this story, yet it was so engaging and such a good testimony to the Madoff's family values. Son reporting his father's crime to the authorities and cutting off all the ties with his mother when she is in distress... Is not family all about unconditional love and support, no matter how bad the crime is or how devastating the impact? The attempt to convince the readers/listeners that the sons had no idea is laughable. Of course they knew, or suspected but chose not to admit to themselves. Being a part of the family and the business for 20+ years and not suspecting that numbers don't add up - impossible. The complains about the hardship of the life afterwards are ridiculous - how many Americans can pay several thousands to be able to run the marathon? Or hire a team of lawyers? Nothing in this story made me sympathetic, but it was very interesting to hear another side of the story, from a family member.
I couldn't stop listening. When I hear news story's I always wonder what the reports don't show. This audio show's part of what the media didn't show us. Good Luck to you Stephanie Madoff Mack.
Karen of Northern Michigan
Listening to this story left me feeling very sorry for Mark Madoff getting to the point of such desperation that he took his own life and for Stephanies loss, as well as her childrens, but at the same time, left me wanting to say to Stephanie, "Oh boo hoo... You were left with an apartment, houses and more money to live on than you need..how many woman have had to start over with absolutely nothing?"
Having said that, it is an interesting story. If you've ever wondered about what it's like to live like a Madoff, this will give you a glimpse into that kind of lifestyle..
After listening to it, I really doubt that Mark, or his brother, knew what his father had done. I don't think they were a party to it and really just a victim like all Madoff's other victims. It's too bad he was judged and treated so harshly by the media and the public for what his father did.
Stephanie, on the other hand.. hmmmm....you know how some people just have that sound to their voice? Like they're part of the elite population? That's what her voice sounds like.. It annoyed me.. She comes from money, although, it doesn't sound like she was brought up filthy rich, but she obviously had more than the average American growing up.
She sounds very angry at Marks mother for standing by Bernie Madoff.. I found this disturbing.. She's a young woman who has decided that she knows more about life than her older mother in law.. Seems like a lot of young people these days think they have all the answers. But it isn't that simple. Ruth has been with Bernie since she was a young woman in her teens.. What Bernie did was horrible, but you can't tell Ruth to turn her feelings off just because you think she should be able to.. Stephanie just kind of seems like a person that can hold a grudge for a very long time, and will.
Having said that, I do feel sorry for Stephanie.. I wonder how much of her complaining about the situation helped to push Mark over the edge, but at the same time, I totally understand that sometimes life situations push you so far you become someone you don't want to be. And I wonder how much guilt she is living with knowing she could have maybe handled her anger a little differently, especially the last night of Marks life.. It kind of sounded like she expected Mark to make this all go away and resented him for getting her mixed up in it. She also seems to have put a lot of blame on Ruth for Marks suicide, thinking that if Ruth had left Bernie, Mark would not have been driven to do what he did... One has to think he still would have felt the same pressures and it probably would have ended the same way.
I guess I just came away feeling she's a bit of a spoiled rich girl..
Although it is really voyeuristic on my part, I have remained very curious about the Madoff affair, wondering how family members of Bernie could not have known. After listening to this book (and reading The Wizard of Lies), I now believe that family members did not know, and I could see how it all could happen.
I think Stephanie Mack does a really good job of setting it out in a believable, truthful way, and gives the reader insight into the Madoff family. It's hard not to feel bad for her - her life has been very difficult, and full of tragedy in the last 5 or so years.
If you are interested to understand more about how the Madoff fraud was pulled off so successfully, then listen to this book.
This is a difficult book to listen to. I feel so sorry for this poor family, all members of this family. My heart goes out to Stephanie's kids the most. Yes, Bernie Madoff abused all around him. There is no doubt. All suffered because of his greed. However, a worse abuse to children is having a father abandon them through the act of suicide. This is a far graver offense though I can not judge what emotional turmoil Stephanie's husband endured. Our public, our media is cruel. It's all so tragic. I can't imagine how Stephanie has endured. I hope she and her children find peace.
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