Crazy Love

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Overview

"At twenty-two, Leslie Morgan Steiner seemed to have it all: a Harvard diploma, a glamorous job at Seventeen magazine, a downtown New York City apartment. plus a handsome, funny, street-smart boyfriend who adored her. But behind her facade of success, this golden girl hid a dark secret. She'd made a mistake shared by millions: She fell in love with the wrong person." "At first Leslie and Conor seemed as perfect together as their fairy-tale wedding. Then came the fights she tried to ignore: He pushed her down the stairs of the house they bought
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Overview

"At twenty-two, Leslie Morgan Steiner seemed to have it all: a Harvard diploma, a glamorous job at Seventeen magazine, a downtown New York City apartment. plus a handsome, funny, street-smart boyfriend who adored her. But behind her facade of success, this golden girl hid a dark secret. She'd made a mistake shared by millions: She fell in love with the wrong person." "At first Leslie and Conor seemed as perfect together as their fairy-tale wedding. Then came the fights she tried to ignore: He pushed her down the stairs of the house they bought together, poured coffee grinds over her hair as she dressed for a critical job interview, choked her during an argument, and threatened her with a gun. Several times he came close to making good on his threat to kill her. With each attack, Leslie lost another piece of herself." Gripping and utterly compelling, Crazy Love takes you inside the violent, devastating world of abusive love. Conor said he'd been abused since he was a young boy, and love and rage danced intimately together in his psyche. Why didn't Leslie leave? She stayed because she loved him. Find out for yourself if she had fallen truly in love - or into a psychological trap. Crazy Love will draw you in - and never let go.
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  • Leslie Morgan Steiner
    Leslie Morgan Steiner  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For thousands of radiant brides, dreams of permanent honeymoon bliss dissolve rapidly into nightmares of abuse. Leslie Morgan Steiner, the author of Mommy Wars, returns with an affecting memoir that reenacts her own steady descent into a marital hell of physical and emotional abuse. Crazy Love relates how Steiner struggled with the realization that the husband she truly loved was destroying her life. This cautionary tale holds special power because it forever dispels the myth the nice girls from good families don't wind up in growing quagmires of domestic muck.
Library Journal

Steiner, a fresh Harvard graduate and new hire at Seventeen magazine, met a handsome young Wall Street trader riding the subway home. Nearly a year later-five days before her wedding-he reveals his penchant for battery when he slaps her for swearing at her computer. After two years of enduring his beatings and humiliations, she finally realizes that though she loves him, she can't help him overcome his violent childhood. The internal process of divorcing him and moving on takes much longer. Steiner's is an eye-opening, moving journey, told with candor, self-forgiveness, and grace. For abuse survivors everywhere.
—EB

Kirkus Reviews
Washington Post columnist Steiner (editor: Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families, 2006) shares the painful story of her abusive marriage. With a degree from Harvard, a job at Seventeen and an apartment in Manhattan, 22-year-old Steiner was ready to start her life anew after overcoming her substance-abuse problems from her teen years. When she met handsome, charming Conor, a 31-year-old investment banker, she fell hard. On a trip home to an affluent Washington, D.C., suburb to meet her divorcing parents, Conor picked a fight, furious that Steiner grew up in such a "perfect" place while he was beaten by his stepfather in working-class Boston. Although she was wary of his temper, Steiner was too in love and too sympathetic about Conor's past to be anything but relieved when they made up days later. When he half-choked her during sex and whispered "I own you," she was frightened but chalked it up to kinkiness. Days before their wedding, Conor slapped her when she swore at their malfunctioning laptop, but Steiner's fear and doubts were silenced by the avalanche of seemingly irreversible wedding preparations. In steady, intimate prose punctuated by surprising, refreshing streaks of humor, the author describes how the violence escalated, including an incident in which Conor pressed a gun to her temple. Especially enlightening is Steiner's discussion with a professor whose focus is abusive men. After a summer apart for business-school internships, Conor kept his promise not to hit her again-until one violent night when he smashed a picture frame over her head, kicked her in the ribs and strangled her until she lost consciousness. Steinerfinally left, even though "leaving meant abandoning . . . the best part of me, that part that was not afraid to love unconditionally."This courageous, empowering survival story brings the phrase "battered woman" into terrifying focus. Agent: Alice Martell/Alice Martell Agency
From the Publisher
“Compulsively readable.” –People (3 ½ stars)

“[Readers will] cheer as Steiner… slowly regains her sense of self and escapes this crazy love.” –The Washington Post

“In steady, intimate prose punctuated by surprising, refreshing streaks of humor… this courageous, empowering survival story brings the phrase ‘battered woman’ into terrifying focus.” –Kirkus

"A courageous and revealing look at domestic abuse and one woman’s effort to free herself." —Booklist

 

"Harrowing." —TheDailyBeast.com

“Riveting… An elegant stylist, Morgan eschews the easy pop psychology route in favor of a thought-provoking peek into how violence and abuse curdle into distorted thinking.” –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“In this gripping, compulsively readable story of romantic love and its dreadful underside, Leslie Morgan Steiner has written a classic. What makes love turn to violence?  How can a woman know she is at risk? These are some of the questions elegantly addressed in Steiner’s important book about how she survived a marriage which almost killed her.  Her painful journey from love to fear to sanity is ultimately heartening and serves a profound lesson.  This book should be required reading for all women." Susan Cheever

“Crazy Love reminds us that sometimes a marriage can go from being a mere skirmish in the battle of the sexes to becoming a full-on physical war.  The book stands as a warning to all women to be vigilant when they pick their spouses, to always have an exit strategy in mind, to know where the money in the marriage is, to pick up as much education as possible – all for the possible day when they may find themselves battered, broke, terrified and alone.  It can happen to anyone, and every woman should prepare herself for it.” Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life

"A harrowing cautionary tale that should be read by every woman who thinks romantic love can overcome all. I read this book in one terrifying gulp and plan to have my daughter read it. Every mother should do the same." Elsa Walsh, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of  Divided Lives

“After a few moments of disbelief—how could a nice girl from  a nice family marry such a cruel and dangerous man?—I found myself cheering for this woman who gets off the floor—literally—and goes on to save her own life.  Crazy Love is a deeply affecting account of cruelty and abuse in a marriage doomed from the start.  It is a reminder that while bad behavior can be explained it can never be excused, and that while placing blame is rarely useful, letting go is.  Leslie Morgan Steiner’s candor is wrenching and ultimately inspiring.” Jane Juska, author of Unaccompanied Women and A Round-Heeled Woman

"Leslie Morgan Steiner has written a memoir that is as seductive as a whirlwind romance. This is a book for every woman — and man — who has ever felt, as Steiner writes, that ‘leaving was easy. The hard part was figuring out where to go.’" Veronica Chambers, author, Mama's Girl

“Bright, beautiful and battered.  Leslie Morgan Steiner didn’t think of herself as a victim until it was almost too late. Hers is a success story that shows how excruciating a declaration of independence can be and how much happiness can come from it.  Read it and cheer.” George Lardner, author of The Stalking of Kristin and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his Washington Post series investigating his daughter’s murder by her ex-boyfriend 

"Most love is crazy — at first, it's that can't eat, can't sleep feeling. Then it moves into a comfortable, warm, hopefully, still sexy state. Leslie Morgan Steiner shows us with wrenching clarity when crazy is good and when crazy is something you need to leave. A must read for anyone in a consuming relationship." Iris Krasnow, author of New York Times bestseller, Surrendering to Marriage

“If you've ever read your daughter the story of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, you should make sure she knows the story Leslie Morgan Steiner tells in Crazy Love, too. This book is for every woman who's ever thought, "I can change him. He'll change for me"—and who hasn't thought that? Steiner's tale unfolds with all the harrowing inevitability of a horror movie, the kind where you watch the heroine start down the dark staircase to the basement with your heart pounding as you whisper, ‘No! Don't do it! Don't!’

That such a smart, kind, funny, vital woman could let herself be victimized this way seems almost unimaginable—and yet Steiner makes you understand how it came to pass, and even appreciate, with a sort of disgusted awe, how expertly her husband manipulates her aching insecurities and longing for that great big happily-ever-after love we learn about in fairy tales. That she comes out the other side is miraculous. That she's brave enough to tell this frank and brutal story is, too.” Sandy Hingston, “Loco Parentis” columnist for Philadelphia Magazine and author of The Affair

“A vivid and compelling story that goes a long way to dispelling the myth that women who are abused by men are in some way at fault.  This book will be cherished by any woman who has ever been in the grip of an abusive relationship.” Jane Bernstein, author of Bereft:A Sister’s Story and Rachel in the World

“Steiner's brave, insightful memoir reveals how independent and capable women can find themselves trapped in violent relationships.  More important, she shows that women can find their way out of abusive relationships.  Her absorbing story will inspire every reader.  To a reader with an abusive partner, it may well save her life. Elisabeth Joy LaMotte, psychotherapist and author of Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce

“Leslie Morgan Steiner pulls no punches in this brutally honest memoir of a brave, smart, fresh-faced young woman’s descent into domestic hell.  Domestic violence isn’t picky and it doesn’t only happen to “other people.” All of us are vulnerable.  Her story is proof that love can come on so strong it can kill you.  Steiner’s good news? Sometimes the end of the world is actually the very beginning.” Monica Holloway, author of Driving With Dead People and Cowboy and Wills

“Leslie Morgan Steiner is the bravest woman I know. Not only did she save her own life, but now she has —opened her heart to save countless others. As one who has hidden to avoid the humiliation of a fat lip, I know how hard that can be.  Crazy Love recounts the sad, sentimental journey that destroys the myth of physical abuse - that it doesn’t happen to nice girls, or smart girls, or anyone you know.  Steiner’s vivid prose paints a clear picture of how it started, why she let it continue, and how she escaped to tell the tale.  Crazy Love sets the record straight: love can be a four letter word.” Leslie Lehr, author of Wife Goes On

"I read this book in one night. Crazy Love is a gripping, beautifully crafted and above all a painfully honest account of a woman (who by all accounts doesn't look the type) grappling with an abusive relationship. If you've ever been there or heard about a woman dealing with this situation and wondered, "why'd she stay?" read Leslie's unselfconscious account. Now I understand. Read Crazy Love and you will too." —Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay

"Leslie Morgan Steiner has written a deeply compelling, brutally honest and important book about her relationship with a man who abused her, emotionally and physically.  I couldn't put it down.   It's a must-read for anyone who has been there or knows someone who has — or just wonders how it happens.  Most importantly, Leslie's own life offers living, breathing proof that women can not only break these destructive bonds, but move on to build successful marriages, families and careers." Dee Dee Myers, author of Why Women Should Rule the World

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312377458
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/31/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 5.82 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie Morgan Steiner is the editor of the highly acclaimed anthology Mommy Wars. She writes the column “Two Cents on Working Motherhood” for the website Mommy Track’d. She wrote the popular “On Balance” blog for washingtonpost.com from 2006-2008. 

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Read an Excerpt

“If you and I met at one of our children's birthday parties, in the hallway at work, or at a neighbor's barbecue, you'd never guess my secret: that as a young woman I fell in love with and married a man who beat me regularly and nearly killed me. I was always tensed for my next mistake, his next attack. The only person I was hiding the truth from was myself.” – from Crazy Love

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Reading Group Guide

At 22, Leslie Morgan Steiner seemed to have it all: good looks, a Harvard diploma, a glamorous job in New York City. Plus a handsome, funny boyfriend who adored her. But behind her façade of success, this golden girl hid a dark secret. She’d made a mistake shared by millions: she fell in love with the wrong person. 

At first, Leslie and Conor seemed perfect together. Then came the fights she tried to ignore: he pushed her down the stairs, choked her during an argument, and threatened her with a gun. Several times, he came close to making good on his threat to kill her. With each attack, Leslie lost another piece of herself.  Why didn’t she leave? She stayed because she loved him. Gripping and utterly compelling, Crazy Love takes you inside the violent, devastating world of abusive love and makes you feel the power and powerlessness of abuse that can take place anywhere and to anyone.  Crazy Love draws you in — and never lets you go.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 43 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't put it down

    Although I liked the book because it's a page turner, and you want to know what is going to happen next, I could hardly stomach the writer. I almost didn't feel sorry for her. She constantly insults people of other races with her description of them. As if to say this should only happen to you if you are 'hispanic, black, homeless or grimy' and don't have money up the ying yang. I had to laugh in the description of herself saying she is 'blond' and her whole familiy is blonde. What does that have to do with ANYTHING!? I can't stand 'white' supremists of any kind and she acts like one in the entire book. And, I'm white and blond, so I think she should listen to what I'm saying cuz you know, I don't have black hair....sickening!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    Crazy Love changed my life!

    Crazy love changed my life. I heard Leslie Morgan Steiner on the radio and drove directly to Barnes Noble to purchase, and ultimately order this book. I have been with husband since I was in college. Combining the years of dating and marriage, we have been together 20 years. We have two beautiful little girls. My husband can be the most fun, smart, and loving individual...until he is angry. Until I read this book, which scarily mirrored my life in many ways, I would have never admitted (to any one or myself else) that I was in an abusive relationship. There were times when reading her written words that I felt suffocated, immobilized and often in tears. Her description of how people morph into an abusive relationship and why one must get out is precisely accurate and extremely helpful.

    Ms. Steiner is a strong, smart woman that opened her heart to a man that had been hurt in his youth. Educated at Harvard, it took her years working in New York as a magazine editor, getting her master's degree and living as a working woman to recognize the man she loved was abusive. Originally, he was emotionally abusive which over time escalated to physical abuse. She did not fit the stereotype I had in my mind of a women that would suffer from abuse, which is why she describes that many smart, educated women stay in abusive relationships, they think they are strong and smart enough to "help" their abuser that they love. Ms. Steiner's ability to tell her story backed by facts... quite possibly saved both of our lives. This is the most compelling book I have ever read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    why a person stays in a dangerous harmful (physically and mentally) relationship

    Twenty-two years old recent Harvard grad, Leslie obtains a job at the magazine Seventeen. On the Manhattan train she meets a nice Wall Street investment banker thirtyish Conor. They begin dating and become engaged. Together just under a year, five days before their wedding, Conor smacks Leslie for cursing at her computer. She goes ahead and marries him, but he continues to hit her. She stayed with him for two years before deciding love was not enough because he will never overcome his violent Boston childhood. The final straw was a horrific beating in which he left her unconscious.------------

    Mindful of a profound scene from the Charlie Sheen movie Good Advice in which the advice columnist answers a woman who asks what to do as her spouse is physically abusive but her family insists she has to save her marriage while the columnists insists she should save her life. This is an intense from the heart memoir that looks at the psychology of why "battered woman" even highly educated females remain in potentially deadly relationships when intellectually they know they must leave. Well written and extremely deep, some of the true life scenes described are so stunning, a reader will want to deny they happened as Leslie Morgan Steiner provides a powerful look into abuse and why a person stays in a dangerous harmful (physically and mentally) relationship. -------

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Crazy Love Review

    As a survivor of domestic violence, I have wrote on the subject as well. Therefore, I have to say I was unimpressed with "Crazy Love". I do not feel it is an uplifting book, instead I think the author sets a haughty example which can be rather irritating. I challenge her viewpoints on domestic violence and can't say I agree with much of her message. I have found in my soul-searching what is thought of as love, is actually fear disguised. There is no doubt a wealthy woman can find herself in an abusive relationship, but I do not care for the snobbish theme of the book. I had high hopes for the book but sadly it did not measure up. I do applaud the effort to bring domestic violence back to the spotlight though.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 21, 2013

    Very interesting book, was given as a gift so I had no idea it w

    Very interesting book, was given as a gift so I had no idea it was about domestic violence, but nonetheless it ended up being a pretty good book, gave me a different perspective of domestic violence.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Excellent writing on a deeply emotional subject - but I did not like the ending.

    I am someone who loves to read literature along these lines due to the fact that I grew up experiencing quite a bit of drama in my household. I have read Eat Pray Love, The Glass Castle, Hungry, The Quiet Room, Chosen by a Horse, and Prozac - all of which I would strongly recommend.
    When I read this book, I was impressed with the honesty given from the Author about a most horrible experience. Leslie Steiner not only describes her first handout account of abuse but includes important psychological facts about different forms of abusive relationships and what they are stemmed from. This book is sad and frightening at time and I am sure there are woman out there who can relate to this woman. However, I did not feel like enough responsibility was taken in this relationship on her side. All to woman find themselves in these situation and end up playing the role of a victim to the strongest degree when what needs to happen is self evaluation. Why did I put myself in this situation? Why did I let it last so long? What I have been through in the past the led me here? These are questions that should not be answered with sentences that start with "He did this" "He made me" "It was all his fault." Once you figure out your role in these horrible situations you can move on with your life. It is not all the abuser's fault. Getting out of an abusive relationship is tremendous and I did not take it lightly, but self awareness is key to not having it happen again and at then end of this book - I here too much blame.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Looove ittttt!

    This book is ammmmmmmazing! I lovve it soo much, i think everyone should read it.(:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    One of my all time favorites

    Great book, easy to read. Loved it, loved it!

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book

    This book was very touching.I encourage more teenage women and young adults to read this book. my main goal after reading was to discuss this book with my daughter who is nine and my many nieces. I picked this book up to write a literature review for a term paper, but end up buying it to pass around to others. Hopefully it would save them from becoming involved in a domestic relationship.

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  • Posted December 31, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good

    I really enjoyed reading this. You really feel bad for her for not knowing what was going on. I only read this book because I just wanted to know what goes on in their minds. Also to know what to do if I knew someone in this situation. Again I really enjoyed this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2009

    Very enlightening book

    Our book club read this book after hearing Ms. Steiner's interview on NPR. It was a reminder to us all how easy it is to fall in love with another person's faults and take it as our own to solve.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Engaging

    Gave this to my 18 year old daughter to read after I finished it. I think I would have liked more detail about how she was drawn in. But big picture - definitely illustrated how controlling people can isolate and encapsulate one into their insane world. Loved it from the perspective of the author's ability to extricate herself and continue onto a successful path.

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  • Posted May 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great book, quick read.

    A deep look into an abusive relationship and a better understanding of what women go through in those types of situations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Sticks with you

    Great memoir. Stirring and disturbing, this book will haunt you. Crazy Love gives a wonderful, intimate account of what it is like to be in an abusive and violent relationship, and to be absorbed to the point that you can't break free, but know you must. It is interesting to see here how the abuse starts, and the cycle(s) that occur thereafter.

    Kudos to Leslie Morgan Steiner for her honesty and bravery!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2009

    Read in 2 days....

    Very powerful story.. Leslie is lucky to be alive. I couldn't put this book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2009

    Great read!

    This book allows you to get a glimpse of what an abused woman goes through. It is an inspriation for any woman who has gone through this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2009

    Very Good Book

    I saw this book as a recommendation from People magazine. It was a real good book. I knew it was about an abusive relationship, but after reading this book I felt 2 things: sadness and relief. I was sad because stuff like this go on everyday, but you see them written out as someone's own personal experience you cant help but empathize with them, however I felt relieved that she was able to make it out of the relationship alive, when some women don't. It was well written, and compeling. It's unfortunate that this women went through that, but she was smart to write it because it will help women realize that even the smartest, nicest man can snap and hurt you when you dont deserve it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2009

    Very Good....

    You can't help but be drawn into this true story. You will have no choice but to call "Conor" a "retard" after you read this.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews

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