Sunday, April 9, 2017

The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, A Widow's New Life, by Stephanie Madoff Mack

Stephanie Madoff Mack (she changed her name to Mack after Bernie Madoff went to jail) writes 272 pages about how she refuses to be a victim of Bernie Madoff, her father-in-all. That would be something to be proud of if she didn't spend much of her book writing about how much she has been victimized by Madoff, his wife, Ruth, and every other adult member of the Madoff family.

Mack's husband committed suicide, devastated at the constant attacks on his family and him. It was a tragedy, but Mack's narrative about closure is shockingly tone deaf. After having him cremated, Mack, who is not Jewish, divided up his ashes into little boxes which she offers to his Jewish ex-wife for their children to dispose of, and to his Jewish brother. When they tell her they want none of it, she makes zero effort to understand why not. She seems to have forgotten, or never bothered to learn, that Jewish people, even non-observant ones, do not like cremation, and certainly don't like the idea of little packages of ashes being doled out like candy.

To her credit, Mack does write a competent book about her family and its reaction to the Madoff scandal as it unfolds. Unfortunately, she devotes way too much of the book to discussing her own anger, and her own need for revenge, including devoting many pages to discussing the multiple letters she sent to Ruth and Bernie Madoff scolding them, blaming them, and informing them that she was cutting them out of her life and her children's lives. It's all too much drama and venom for this reader.

* Print Length: 272 pages
* Publisher: Plume; 1 edition (October 20, 2011)
* Publication Date: October 20, 2011
* Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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