Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


THE END OF NORMAL: A WIFE'S ANGUISH, A WIDOW'S NEW LIFE. Stephanie Madoff Mack. Blue Rider Press; 2011.

NOTE: Great Old Movies is reviewing this as it sounds like a good bet for a telefilm. 

Stephanie Madoff Mack, the widow of Mark Madoff and the daughter-in-law of Bernie Madoff, writes of her ordeal [with the aid of Tamara Jones]. I'm not certain if a book on the trials and tribulations of the wealthy will necessarily go over big in these days of Occupy Wall Street and the 99%, but The End of Normal still makes a compelling read. It's unlikely that the book will unite Mack with the other members of the Madoff family as she writes unflinchingly of the foibles of her mother-in-law, Ruth, and brother-in-law, not to mention the deservedly detested Bernie. In other words, there's lots of insider "dish" in the tome. Mack describes Ruth as being "clueless," but she probably should have wondered whether it was a good idea to mention how she put up her own money, thousands of dollars, to run in a marathon when she's supposedly broke. [Of course, upper class people only think they're broke when they're down to their last $100,000.] Mark Madoff's decision to kill himself was a bad one, considering he left behind a wife and children, but as this book describes the emotional torment he went through dealing with betrayals by both father and mother, his ruined reputation and the like, it is easy to understand that his killing himself did not necessarily mean that he knew what his father was up to. That being said, other books, such as Madoff with the Money, insist that other family members did know what Bernie was doing but just looked the other way. Was it guilt, innocence, or the loss of a cushy lifestyle? Who knows?

Verdict: Very readable. ***.

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