Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Review: A Beautiful, Terrible Thing

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal
Author: Jen Waite
Publication Date: July 11th 2017
Publisher: Plume

Jen Waite's non-fictional account about her life with a narcissistic sociopathic husband begins with how she met Marco when they were both working at a restaurant together. He is charming and attentive and she instantly falls head over heels in love with him. 

Waite's memoir is recounted in alternating chapters of 'before' and 'after'. Her retrospective insightfulness about her plight is both heartbreaking and fascinating. I sympathized with her helplessness as she suffered through one lie after another. Even after continuously confronting him, she's never really reassured by his words. Her writing style made me feel like I was reading a fictional psychological thriller, which for me was a very good thing.

Aside from being a compulsive read, the book helps to see manipulations in all relationships, which unfortunately are not that uncommon and how important it is to trust your intuition. The difference in this case was the extent of damage Marco did and would have continued to do, if Waite hadn't removed herself from the situation. A support system, like she had with her family and friends, is crucial in understanding and recovering from an experience like this. 

Waite makes no excuses in relaying what happened to her. By reliving her story, she tries to fathom when and why things went so wrong with her marriage and if there were signs early on that she chose to ignore. 

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing is enlightening in it's confirmation that we want to see the best in those we love, but sometimes this only helps in enabling their poor behaviour. It is hard to break a cycle of acceptance when there's little to no comprehension that what is being done to you isn't your fault or is actually happening, for that matter. Waite writes with painful honesty and emotion. I found this to be a captivating book which I had trouble putting down. Recommended.

From the publisher:
What do you do when you discover that the person you've built your life around never existed? When "it could never happen to me" does happen to you?

These are the questions facing Jen Waite when she begins to realize that her loving husband—the father of her infant daughter, her best friend, the love of her life—fits the textbook definition of psychopath. In a raw, first-person account, Waite recounts each heartbreaking discovery, every life-destroying lie, and reveals what happens once the dust finally settles on her demolished marriage.

After a disturbing email sparks Waite's suspicion that her husband is having an affair, she tries to uncover the truth and rebuild trust in her marriage. Instead, she finds more lies, infidelity, and betrayal than she could have imagined. Waite obsessively analyzes her relationship, trying to find a single moment from the last five years that isn't part of the long-con of lies and manipulation. With a dual-timeline narrative structure, we see Waite's romance bud, bloom, and wither simultaneously, making the heartbreak and disbelief even more affecting.

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