The John Edwards - Rielle Hunter affair made headlines for years. "One of the biggest political scandals of all time", "a fall from grace", "a modern day tragedy"—it’s a story that has been reported, distorted, and spun over and over again by the media, by political aides, by the US government, and by supposed friends. There is, however, someone who actually knows the truth, someone who lived it from day one—the woman at the heart of the story itself: Rielle Hunter.
In What Really Happened, Hunter offers an extremely personal account of her relationship with John Edwards: the facts of how they actually met; how their accidental love started and escalated; what it was like to fall in love with a married man who decided to run for president; the surprise of becoming pregnant during the campaign; how the affair became public; the extensive coverup, and finally, what happened in the years after Edwards publicly admitted to being the father of their daughter, Frances Quinn.
Meet Edwards’ political players and get an intimate look at how they really operated. Learn about the evolution of friends, enablers, and do-gooders, their involvement with the affair and Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign, and where the money from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon and Fred Baron actually went. This book doesn’t spin the truth to achieve a prettier picture or a better story. It isn’t about changing anyone’s mind. It’s simply the facts, the truth of what really happened.
Rielle Hunter has been writing since 1993 and has studied meditation, yoga, and Eastern philosophies. What Really Happened is her first book. She has one daughter, Frances Quinn.
©2012 Rielle Hunter (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Frankly, I can't stop listening to this delusional narcissistic whack job (for other case studies, see Julie Powell "Cleaving" and Karrine Steffans (well, everything she's written.) Hunter has the absolute gall to whine for over 8 hours that she and Edwards were just the most well-intentioned pair of home wreckers you'll ever meet. You'll recoil in horror as she blames Elizabeth Edwards for John's cheating ways and creating barriers for the author to be with John. I'm not kidding when I say that the author devotes countless hours literally waiting for Elizabeth to die from cancer so that Rielle can get her love life back on track and spend more time with John. To top it all off, before Elizabeth dies, Rielle even states (no vague insinuations here, folks) that John and Elizabeth's kids really liked her and couldn't wait to see her again.Yet Rielle consistently describes Elizabeth as an interfering and infuriating B@#$H. Yeah. Right.In addition, she details in frustration how difficult it was to wait for John's staff and financial backers to pay for her travel, food, shopping and housing...um, whom owed her a living for getting knocked up?? Could someone tell me?? Oh, that's right: NO ONE.Anyhow, the one thing that I must give her credit for is the dead-on accurate description of "Johnnie" Edwards, a morally questionable moron that stumbles around in life, making excuses about living deceitfully, unapologetic for being a cheater and ruining Elizabeth's life. That's why Hunter and Edwards are so perfect for each other- pot, meet kettle!
Yes, both - the feeling of witnessing a car accident that you simply cannot look away from. The astonishing lack of accountability for what Hunter and Edwards did is simply un-freakin'-believable.
Cassandra Campbell is a great narrator.
Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.
I got hooked on the John Edwards story in Game Change. For my money, all other political scandals pale in comparison.
But wait! Should you get this much pleasure out of the misfortunes of flawed mortals? Definitely not. But if you're going to do it anyway, this book is good!
First - Cassandra Campbell's narration is flawless. She found the perfect tone and did an amazing job with it.
Also - The writing's great.Easy prose. Story has good pace and flow. It tells you everything you want to know and not much you don't (I'm not a huge fan of the "How childbirth changed my life" narrative, but it passes).
If you read, "The Politician", this is a fascinatingly different perspective on the same events. It gave me a total Rashomon buzz.
As to who to believe, I'm going with Rielle. Here's why: She is SPECTACULARLY shameless. Her lack of guilt about that whole adultery thing is just jaw dropping. Not so much as a tickle of remorse. So, why would she lie? About what?
Which brings me to my final point: If there's not enough speaking ill of the dead going on in your life, you can fill up here. Not a lot of (any) sympathy for Elizabeth, but crazy, screaming shrew stories galore.
Enjoyable....not exactly. More like watching a train wreck and not being able to leave the scene. Part of me is totally ashamed that I even bought this book, but after Andrew Young's book, I was curious. What exactly was Rielle's "truth". OK, on one hand we have a whore and on the other a lawyer. In his case, a pretty close call but I'll give Andrew the edge. Rielle, all I can say is you and Johnny DESERVE each other and thank you for sparing the rest of civilization by finding him. I pray you are a better mother than you are a human being or that poor child is totally screwed. Yeah, maybe Elizabeth had her issues, but your total lack of empathy for the fact that you were screwing her HUSBAND and FATHER of her children, may you rot in hell for doing that. Have you NO shame?? And then to complain about Quinn deserving more of a father figure?? HELLO, maybe you should have thought about that before undressing. Shame on YOU. Anyway, good luck. Your child certainly needs it.
So much shock and awe I'm not sure I can pick a moment
Great performance by Cassandra.
Sick...it made me sick and she gives women in general a bad name. He was married for goodness sakes. Pick someone unmarried. It's easier and less painful.
Rielle and Johnny, please go somewhere and stay out of the public eye. No one wants to hear about your sick lives anymore. RIP Elizabeth.
I know most people would be disgusted by this story--and so am I, of course (cough)--but I found it fascinating for a particular reason. I was a huge fan of "The Story of My Life" by Jay McInerney in the 1990s, which we found out later (as the John Edwards story broke) was based on Rielle Hunter in her 20s. What's amazing is how (apparently) true that novel was to her character, and to top it off, the narrator absolutely nails it. About 60% of the book is a mundane listing of the hotels they stayed at, the restaurants they ate at, and what they ate....but I also thoroughly enjoyed all that. Not for everyone, but for those of us with a sick fascination for people who can rationalize and justify just about any behavior...it's a guilty pleasure.
American mwf living in Australia.
Less description of uninteresting moronic detail: "I had the Cesar salad and Johnny had a steak."
She has nothing of interest to say. Oh, except when she's trashing her married lover's now dead wife. Nice one.
The performance was fine.
All of the above.
The author proclaims to be new age-y and into karma, honesty, etc. Yes she's having an affair with a married man, gets pregnant by him, lies to everyone, trashes her lover's wife, calls her a 'witch on wheels' and talks about how horrible the wife was and she is dead and cannot defend herself. I think that's lousy.
Cutting out the "life coach" psychobabble in Hunter's distorted interpretations of the motivations of everyone involved would have been good.
Rielle Hunter doesn't appear to have anything else to write about
I thought Cassandra Campbell did a fine job with this mostly dopey material---her delivery and pace were good. At times, I felt like as though the author herself was speaking. This doesn't happen very often in listening to audiobooks.
It's an essential part of a trilogy that also includes Resilience and The Politician.
This book needed a lot more editing.
The whole book felt like she was trying to make herself look justified for her actions. I expected her to have some kind of compassion.
the narrator was good
Just wish I never read this book because I find it so hard to believe there are people out there like Rielle.
I bought this book interested in 'her' point of view. It was as low class as I expected. She's a delusional target with father issues.
She ozed self importance and emphasized words that made her seems clueless.
Rielle. A grown woman with no morals, self esteem or insight.
She wants to be worldly and self aware. She needs to pick up a book on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and explore her (FOO) Family of Origin issues.
Loved this book! Rielle Hunter is a character! She seemed to justify her actions and demonize poor Elizabeth Edwards - it was astonishing. I couldn't stop listening to it just to hear what would come out of her mouth next. I came into this book with an open mind about the situation - because as far as I was concerned, I only knew what the media showed me. I encourage you to read this story and make an opinion about her...maybe it will change, maybe it won't. As for me...unfortunately, she's nothing more than a homewrecker :/ And, that's after reading her words...
I am not sure that I believe Rielle's account as factual....but you never know. One thing is certain, a child is in this world because of two people and she deserves the best, no matter how she got here. I've never been into politics but I was interested in the story so I bought the book and it was good enough. I can't wait 'til someone writes one about Mark Sanford (ex-governor of SC)! It's like watching a train wreck...you can't help it.
"She is so crazy"
Okay, I don't know whether or not Elizabeth Edwards was a saint, or a demon but here's the thing, when you interfere with a contract (and marriage is a contract) then invalidate the pain you caused by saying that the wife experienced pain only because the affair meant she wasn't getting her own way, you've already lost my support. Life is hard, especially for us women. Whether or not Elizabeth Edwards was the devil incarnate writing 23 chapters to bash her is not only distasteful and a disservice to the mother of your child's half siblings, it says an incredible amount about your integrity as a person. The book is interesting and well read but the writer is heinous.
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