A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir Of Marriage And Betrayal by Jen WaiteA Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir Of Marriage And Betrayal by Jen Waite

A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir Of Marriage And Betrayal

byJen Waite

Paperback | July 11, 2017

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“Be forewarned: You won’t sleep until you finish the last page. —Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World

One night. One email. Two realities.

It all started with an email...

Before: Jen Waite has met the partner of her dreams. A handsome, loving man who becomes part of her family, evolving into her husband, her best friend, and the father of her infant daughter.

After: A disturbing email sparks suspicion, leading to an investigation of who this man really is and what was really happening in their marriage.

In alternating Before and After chapters, Waite obsessively analyzes her relationship, trying to find a single moment form the past five years that isn't part of the long con of lies and manipulation. Instead, she finds more lies, infidelity, and betrayal than she could have imagined. With the pacing and twists of a psychological thriller, A Beautiful, Terrible Thing looks at how a fairy tale can become a nightmare and what happens when “it could never happen to me” actually does.
Jen Waite lives in Maine with her young daughter.
Title:A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir Of Marriage And BetrayalFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.24 × 5.5 × 0.7 inPublished:July 11, 2017Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0525533176

ISBN - 13:9780525533177


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking Reading this as a memoir was very different for me. I liked the way the author went back and forth between past and present and the writing was well done. I couldn't put the book down and it was a very quick read. Although many components of this book resonate with a lot of women who were cheated on, it does take things one step further and makes your heart break for the author. A good read.
Date published: 2018-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Total page turner! I was not expecting the events to unfold as they did. I was in as much disbelief as the author. Highly recommend!
Date published: 2018-04-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Enjoyed this Book The way this book is set up: jumping between before and after the breakdown of a marriage was really engaging. I had a hard time putting this book down as I was so invested in the author's story of her relationship.
Date published: 2018-03-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It was OK I'm sure the author's experience was devastating but as a reader, it seemed a very usual divorce story. Wouldn't recommend
Date published: 2018-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put this book down! Decided to start this book on a plane ride yesterday and finished it before we landed. Definitely recommend it!
Date published: 2018-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ok it was not the best writing but the story was amazing
Date published: 2018-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! What a great book! Could not put this book down. This book made me both angry and sad at the same time. The author tells an amazing, true story.
Date published: 2018-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from vulverability The courage and vulnerability of the author is truly inspiring. What an important thing to write for other women to read that may have a similar experience. I have been very intrigued by novels involving mental illness, there seem to many popular titles now. It's an important conversation. #plumreview with love
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking but empowering I felt genuinely angry and upset reading this book. Angry that any woman should have to go through what the author went through. Her experience was so terrible but so real and I felt everything she felt as I read it. I'm glad that she was willing to share her experience, and make people aware that these people do exist and they will hurt you - this emphasizes the importance of recognizing red flags, and learning not to ignore behaviours we don't like in the people we are infatuated with.
Date published: 2018-01-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Read from a different perspetive Liked it - true story, Unbelievable what we put ourselves thru without knowing, Read this
Date published: 2018-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow What an addiction this book is! Great writing I had a hard time putting it down #plumreview
Date published: 2017-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it This book was so well written. It was so real and raw.
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! As soon as I picked up this book I had a feeling I would love it. I was absolutely right! The book is very well written and somehow brought me a lot of peace. I've lent this book to two friends who both loved it as well! Definitely recommend!
Date published: 2017-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptionally well written This book clearly illustrates the author's self-doubt and confusion when dealing with her sociopathic ex. The critics that don't see the drama haven't experienced life with a sociopath and how a person can be built up and destroyed by sociopaths. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unexpectedly "Real" I read this book not knowing what to expect and what I found was a very emotional and vivid account of the writer's true life experience with a cheating spouse. The emotional roller coaster and the questioning of her own sanity kept me turning the pages. I was disappointed in the final pages as I was expecting more. The story builds and peaks and then you are left with somewhat lack luster finish. If you've been through this yourself it may hit too close to home. Interesting look into the sociopathic mind.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it I thought this was a really enjoyable book, it was an easy read so I was able to finish it in just a few days. I do think that we should have had more explanation of all the signs that Marco is a a sociopath.
Date published: 2017-11-07
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not as dramatic as I anticipated ... I was intrigued by the premise of the book, but found that the author really tried to make her situation out to be abnormally awful. To me, the actions of her husband were awful, but not overly terrible or dramatic. Having been in a similar relationship, I enjoyed the ability to read someone else's experience but I did not find the author's husband to be particularly psychopathic.
Date published: 2017-10-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not what I was expecting I just finished this memoir and despite the reviews that it was "dramatic and gripping" there was nothing that occurred over the course of the book that I found that was riveting. The premise is that the newlywed and new mother Jen Waite caught her husband "Marco" cheating on her and self diagnosed him as a "sociopath or psychopath" because he would not apologize or taking responsibility for his behaviors during the course of their marriage. I certainly understand it must have been heartbreaking for the author to deal with this however it is my opinion that there are many men out there that are liars and cheaters and that there was not enough to warrant a whole book going over and over the emails, texts etc between she and her ex. I also found that the author was not that likeable and relatable and maybe it made it less interesting to me. Overall I was disappointed that there was nothing 'extraordinary or dramatic" about the breakup of Jen's marriage and I was expecting more.
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from disappointed I was looking forward to this book. I found the main character (the author herself) a bit annoying and unlikable. I was expecting more and was underwhelmed.
Date published: 2017-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating Book! I finished reading this book in two days. It was riveting. I loved how the author juxtaposed the loving romanticism of the early days of her relationship with the eventual breakdown and discovery that occurs. A definite must read for any woman who falls into the throes of love and romance too quickly and wonders what the heck happened when it all unravels.
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Read As a newlywed, I was really intrigued by this novel!
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as good as I was hoping Just a little too superficial in parts. I thought it would have a more serious tone.
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Could not put it down. I read this book cover to cover one afternoon. It was an easy read. The author was honest and had no secrets to hide. It was a true tell all of her hardships- which I believe that many women can relate to. Would highly recommend picking up this book.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down I'm sure many women can identify with the author of this book. Hearing what we want to hear and believing someone even after they prove to us that we shouldn't believe them. I couldn't put this book down. With that said, it was a fairly easy read so it didn't take too long to finish. The writing was honest and raw but I feel the editor could have done a better job.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put this book down!!! Having ended a bad relationship a year ago and just now finding out my love for reading again, I couldn't have asked for a better book to read! I had lost my love for reading with my ex... Now I found it again (and myself) thanks to this book. I didn't buy this book with anything in mind, it was purely just because the back sounded interesting. I had no idea how I would find myself so into the book to the point that I would skip out on sleep simply to finish the book as soon as possible. It answered so many questions I didn't even know I had and gave me so much clarity. Her writing is honest, it is vulnerable, it is heartbreaking.. but it is also very eye opening. Just yesterday I was in line at the store and a lady had just picked up a copy, I told her she would not regret it and gave her a quick recap of the book, another lady overheard and picked up a copy for herself as well. Will definitely be reading this book again!
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gripping Great read. Grips you start to end.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good a really good read, though a bit slow at times, but nonetheless, worth it!
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Loved it. What a look. I honestly thought this book would be a lot more 'dry' than it was. Kept me hooked the whole time, hard to put down. I would have finished it in a day, if I hadn't have needed to do that pesky thing called sleep!
Date published: 2017-08-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating This book had me gripped. It is interesting and fascinating all while being a great read. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating 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.
Date published: 2017-07-18

Read from the Book

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof*** Copyright © 2017 Jen WaiteB E FO R E  MARCO. This man, I knew in my gut, was it. I finally understood what it meant, when you “just know.” I just knew about Marco. I met him at the Square, the restaurant where we both worked. I got a job as a waitress to make the money that did not seem to be materializing from my acting and modeling careers. Two years out of college, I had quit my job as an analyst at a hedge fund and decided to become a full‑time actor, to “go for it.” It sounded great in theory.A year later, I’d gone to audition after audition, casting after casting, and the biggest job I had booked was starring in a holiday vodka commercial. The role called for “blonde, pretty, aspirational, Swedish‑looking.” Check, and apparently check, check, check. A whole twenty seconds of staring dreamily into the eyes of the chiseled‑faced man I had met a few hours before and clinking my glass against his. Having a restaurant job to pay the bills made me a cliché, but it was necessary, and besides, it gave the days structure.On the first day of training at the Square, a trendy burger restaurant a few blocks from my apartment, I sat with ten other new employees around a large, circular table, listening to Bruce, the tiny, energetic manager go over the corporate “steps of service.” It was my second waitressing job—the first, a chain restaurant in midtown (the only place that would hire me with no experience) lasted just two months. As Bruce danced around the restaurant, demonstrating when to bring steak knives versus butter knives to a table, I scanned the faces around the table, landing on dark brown eyes belonging to one of the bartenders. He was tall and Latin with black, slicked back hair and mocha skin. Judging by his accent when he asked a question about the bar setup a few moments earlier, he had been born elsewhere but had lived in the States awhile; the way he spoke was confident and fluid. Our eyes briefly locked and he gave a quick, easy smile. I looked away, willing myself not to blush. I had learned long ago that the best way to survive in New York City was to keep my defenses up at all times. And anyway, I was happy with my long‑distance boyfriend back home in Maine. Jeff had light blue eyes, curly brown hair, and a build comprised of the muscles he used every day in his construction job. When I saw him without clothes, it was like seeing a Greek god in the flesh. I had never seen a body like that in real life before. I had met Jeff while I was home for the summer helping my mom recover from surgery. When I went back to New York at the end of the summer, we substituted drunken nights on his couch for hours on the phone, and what was supposed to be a fun summer fling somehow turned into a year‑long romance. Our relationship of texting and sporadic weekend visits was easy, and he made me laugh.The meeting ended, and I gathered my notebook and pen and slid my sunglasses up to rest on top of my head. I was almost through the doors leading to the street before anyone else had even gotten up from the table. I felt someone come up right behind me and suddenly the door was opening. It was the Latin.“Jen, right?” Except the way he said it, it sounded like “Gin.” “Um, right. Sorry, I was just—”“I’m Marco, the bar manager. Bruce asked me to hand out these employee packets to everyone at the end of the meeting, but you ran away before I could give you one,” he said, passing me some rolled up sheets of paper.“Oh, sorry, I was just . . . thanks.” I couldn’t help but meet his open face with a smile.“Well, you’re obviously in a hurry,” he said with a wink and then walked away before I could respond.The next day at work we did speed drills at the bar to see how quickly the bartenders could churn out drinks during a rush. “Send three drinks on different tickets, right now, bam, bam, bam,” Bruce whispered to me and rubbed his hands together. I put in the order for three drinks.“Ah, a jalapeño margarita for . . . Gin,” Marco said as he read the first bar ticket. My face flushed with color. The next ticket printed. “And a mojito for . . . Gin,” Marco said with a half-smile. I smiled back as the third ticket printed. “Martini straight up with a twist. Wait. Don’t tell me,” he scrunched his face up, “For Gin!”“I’m sorry.” I laughed, walking over to the bar. “Bruce made me,” I whispered when I got close enough.“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “At least I have something nice to look at while I make these drinks.”“Oh. Ha,” I said and forced myself to breathe in and out steadily through my nose.On the last night of training, before the restaurant opened to the friends and family of the owners the next day, everyone decided to go for a drink at the dive bar two blocks away. I finished my side work and walked to the bathroom to change out of my black uniform.“Are you coming to Doyle’s, Gin?”I looked up to see Marco walking toward me with his small work duffel bag in hand.“Umm . . . yeah. I just have to change.”“I’ll wait for you at the bar. Everyone else already left,” he said with a smile.“Oh, OK . . . I’ll be right out.” My heart pounded as I quickly pulled on skinny jeans and a loose T‑shirt.I walked back through the main room of the restaurant. Marco was waiting by the big glass doors.“After you.” Marco held the door open, and we walked through. “Who said chivalry is dead,” I said with a small smile.“Oh, that’s my Latin charm. It’s been bred into me over generations and generations,” he said seriously.“Oh, really, is that so?” When our shoulders touched for an instant on the way to Doyle’s, I momentarily stopped breathing.At the bar, we settled in with our coworkers. I sat down next to Andrew, a server with a gleaming bald head and oversize bright white teeth, who immediately began telling me about his relation‑ ship troubles with his current boyfriend. Marco ordered two vodka sodas and placed one in front of me. “Double vodka soda for Gin.” His smile swept over me. As he walked to the other side of the table, I thought, I am going to marry that man. It was a quick, involuntary thought, and I recoiled as soon as it had passed through my mind. I took a long drink through the straw in front of me and focused on the cool liquid sliding down my throat.For the next hour I talked and joked with Andrew and Karly, another blonde waitress. I’d always thought Karly was icy, but after two beers she melted into a sweet, goofy girl from California. Karly confessed she put on a “bitch face” to fend off advances from the bussers who seemed particularly drawn to her even though she hovered almost a foot above them. I was aware of Marco sitting across the small table from me the entire time, and even though we were both involved in separate conversations, I felt myself speaking every word and making each gesture only for him. As the double vodka soda settled into my bones, loosening my limbs and flushing my cheeks, I pressed my knee into his under the table. For half a second, there was nothing. And then I felt it. A slight returned pressure. Neither of us acknowledged what was happening under the table, and it went unnoticed by all our coworkers.When everyone else said their good‑byes around 2:00 a.m., I turned to Marco, “Are you sure you ordered me a double? It was a little weak.” Instead of leaving with the others, he grinned and made his way to the bar saying, “In that case, I better get you another drink or you’ll leave dissatisfied, and we wouldn’t want that.” Karly paused at the door, “Are y’all coming?”“No, we’re gonna have one more. See you tomorrow!”Pull up, a voice whispered in my head. Instead I took a large gulp of the drink Marco had just set in front of me. He wanted to know everything about me. There was something about the way Marco looked at me, his eyes were so intense, like I was the only person in the bar. I told him about growing up in a small town on the coast of Maine. My childhood filled with sandy beaches and freezing cold water that gave me ice cream headaches when I dunked (but I always dunked anyway) and playing tag at night with the neighborhood kids. I told him about my parents. How they were the parents that my friends wished were their own parents: affectionate, warm, and funny but also just strict enough. My mom worked her way up the corporate ladder as a manager at L.L.Bean, and my dad was a computer engineer. I told Marco about the moment my dad announced that he had quit his job to start his own company. How, even as an eleven‑year‑old, I knew it was something special and something to be proud of, but the uncertainty made me nervous. After his first two start‑ups failed, we saw less and less of him as he worked longer and longer hours. My mom started getting migraine headaches. There was a tension in our house that had never been there before. And then, after four years and three failed start‑ups, my parents brought my sister and me into the dining room and told us to look at the newspaper lying on the kitchen table. The tiny little blurb circled in pen read, “Cimaron Snapped up by AMCC.” My sister and I shrieked in delight. My father’s start‑up had been bought by a larger company—we were never told the details, but after that morning, the tension in our house dissipated.I’m not usually in the habit of revealing much about my childhood, but when Marco looked at me, he saw me, who I really was, and my self‑consciousness evaporated. His questions came one after another, and, when I got to the part about my long‑ distance boyfriend, I blushed but plowed on. Marco just smiled and started talking. He told me about growing up in Argentina, about his grandfather’s house in the countryside where he would go for the summer and take care of his grandfather’s bunnies (only much, much later would he confess that many of those bunnies ended up on their dinner plates), about his trip to the United States with his mother, father, and older sister when he was eighteen. The trip that changed his life. They came for a family vacation after his graduation from military high school. After spending a week in New York City as a tourist who spoke five words of English, he fell in love with the excitement and energy of the city and refused to board the plane back home. It was a split second decision that resulted in a brand‑new life in a foreign country and the most exciting city in the world. Then, five years later, when he was just twenty‑three and had worked his way up from a busser, to a server, to a bartender, and had become fluent in English, he got his Polish girlfriend pregnant. The girlfriend left him when the baby was a year old, and he had stayed in New York to be close to his son. He had begged her to try to make it work for their new family, but she had already moved on to someone else. She gave him a week to get out of their apartment so her new boyfriend could move in. That was seven years ago.“I’ve never told anyone those details before,” he said slowly, looking up from his hands.“I’m so sorry. That’s . . .” I reached out and touched his arm.I wanted to know everything about him, but in the next moment, he cleared his throat and smiled, “I think they’re closing up. You better finish your drink.”I leaned forward to take in the last of the vodka soda through the straw.“Don’t do that.” “Do what?” I asked.“Lean over like that.”I looked down to see cleavage, a lot of cleavage. “On that note . . . it’s probably time for me to go home.”Marco walked me home, and we hugged in front of my building. When our bodies pressed together, electricity coursed through my body.“Well, I think you better go inside right now,” Marco said with a laugh. “Because if you don’t get out of my sight soon, I might try to kiss you. And I don’t want to embarrass myself.”My cheeks flushed with pleasure. “Good night, Marco.”“Good night, Gin.”

Editorial Reviews

"Waite has a knack for showing the ways that cognitive dissonance can chart pathways in the mind that cause emotional confusion to obscure rational thought."—Meghan Daum, New York Times Book Review"[Waite's] memoir is a great source of strength." —Hello Giggles"A powerful memoir."—The New York Post"Heartbreaking and riveting."—Bustle“Like Big Little Lies, A Beautiful Terrible Thing is a startling reminder that fairy tales aren’t real. A master class in suspenseful storytelling, Jen Waite recounts the lies, betrayals, and infidelity she endured with unrestrained honesty and deft candor. I couldn’t turn away.”—Jillian Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Some Girls: My Life in a Harem and Everything You Ever Wanted   “How do we really know the ones we love? Sometimes we don't, and in Jen Waite's harrowing, deeply intimate memoir, she gradually comes to discover that the husband she adores might actually be a sociopath. As raw and ragged as the edge of a blade, what makes this book so chilling is that it's truly possible to fall in love with evil, and it can happen to anyone. Be forewarned: you won't sleep until you finish the last page.”—Caroline Leavitt, author of Cruel Beautiful World and the New York Times bestsellers, Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow“Gripping from start to finish. A compelling and cautionary tale about how the longing to be adored and live inside a fairy tale makes you vulnerable to those charming sociopaths in search of someone to exploit.”—Joe Burgo, PhD, author of The Narcissist You Know“A twisting, compulsively readable story of devastating betrayal and survival. I could not put this book down.”—Leigh Stein, author of Land of Enchantment  “Jen Waite has illuminated the experience of betrayal with important and lyric light. Robert Mapplethorpe said, ‘Nothing is finished until you see it.’  I would add that nothing is finished until you tell it as well and as fairly as she has.”—Suzanne Finnamore, bestselling author of Otherwise Engaged and Split“A dramatic and powerful case study of dating and marrying someone who may have a hidden personality disorder. Without knowing the warning signs, you too can be caught by surprise.”—Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD, coauthor of Splitting   “A woman discovers her husband is not whom she thought he was. [T]ension, disbelief, and grief permeate the pages … Those who have been in a manipulative partnership with a narcissistic or abusive person will find Waite’s honest retelling relevant and potent”—Kirkus“In this emotionally charged memoir, Waite describes how the man she married turned out to be not at all what he seemed. A well-written and at times gripping story of deceit.”—Publishers Weekly