Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Memoirs of scorned wives

by Miriam

Tina Brown is someone whose successes and failures as a journalist, magazine publisher, book author and media pundit have made her a sometimes controversial celebrity. Personally, I always find her new ventures and her ability to reinvent herself fascinating (she’s the Madonna of the publishing biz) and I usually get a kick out of her insights on current events.

This week, I’ve been thinking of how annoying Jenny Sanford’s new book and the attendant media blitz surrounding it are. After dealing with her public humiliation with dignity and elegance at first, she’s now flogging a book that makes her sound self-righteous, vindictive and petty. Given what a jerk her ex-husband was, it’s no small feat to write a tell-all that makes you seem almost as unsympathetic. But, as Tina says in this NPR piece, that seems to be the trend among the “he-done-me-wrong” memoirists:

"The men they're married to are utter snakes and worms, but these women — they do buy into this stuff, and then they are so humorless about it at the end. Jenny Sanford's book is such a pious document. At some point, I really wish one of these women would begin their book and say, 'I am writing this book out of sweet revenge; my husband was a total worm, and this is payback time.' It would be a little more honest."

Instead, Brown complains, political spouses often retreat to platitudes: 'You know, 'I'm doing this for the children,' " or some such. "It is all nonsense. It is about one of two things: money or revenge. Very often both."

When the Sanford story broke, we here at DGLM discussed the inevitable book deal and the consensus was that this was not a book we were interested in reading (or repping). Are we missing something? What do you think?


  1. Honestly, the book sounds boring and dumb. She had a lot more dignity when she kept her mouth shut and simply kicked that dirtbag to the curb.

    Now, a tell-all from the Argentine mistress... THAT I would read!!

  2. I feel a little ashamed. I would absolutely read it. Yes, it sounds petty and bitter and superficial and life's just too short -- and it wouldn't be first on my reading list by a long shot. But I'd read it all the same.

  3. I would rather stick hot pokers in my eyes than read a book like this. My reading time is limited, so I would rather invest the spare hours I have in something I can enjoy, learn from and isn't written out of bitterness.

  4. Great points from Tina Brown and I couldn't agree more that the loss of humor and a reversion to piousness is totally uninteresting to me. Jenny Sanford's book may be position as a recovery or a journey or a survival of a life changing event, but it's a long shot. In women's fiction, that premise isn't enough to be that interesting. What IS interesting is coming through with humor and grace, ala Nora Ephron's Heartburn, maybe.

  5. Not that I would have read the book anyway, but, ugh, did you see Sanford on "The Daily Show"? She was completely self-absorbed and unlikeable.

    She actually got hung up about how much she missed the convicts that used to work around the mansion, and that she wished she still had them to wash her dog.