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Monica's Story
     

Monica's Story

3.2 14
by Andrew Morton
 

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Behind the headlines, there was one fascinating woman. This is her story.

Monica Lewinsky. You know her name, you know her face, and you think you know her story: the pretty young intern who began an illicit affair with the President of the United States-- a liaison that ignited an unprecedented political scandal and found Bill Clinton as the second U.S.

Overview

Behind the headlines, there was one fascinating woman. This is her story.

Monica Lewinsky. You know her name, you know her face, and you think you know her story: the pretty young intern who began an illicit affair with the President of the United States-- a liaison that ignited an unprecedented political scandal and found Bill Clinton as the second U.S. president to ever be impeached. But there is much more to the Monica Lewinsky story than just that. Now, Andrew Morton, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Diana: Her True Story, takes you beyond the headlines and the sound bites to discover the real Monica Lewinsky, a woman as interesting, intelligent, and misunderstood as they come.

Read Monica's Story and you'll discover:

* How a difficult childhood shaped Monica's tumultuous adult romances
* Her relationship with Bill Clinton: how she saw a side to him few know-- and why she sometimes still misses her "Handsome"
* The betrayal by Linda Tripp-- and how Monica's trusting nature snared her in Tripp's treacherous web
* The horror of Kenneth Starr's exhaustive and intrusive inquiry-- how it affected her and her family, and how it still haunts her
* Where Monica will go from here: What are her career plans? Will she realize her dream of marrying and starting a family in the wake of the scandal?
* And much, much more

With sixteen pages of photos.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
We have heard everything about her, from every conceivable source — friends, family, enemies, legal documents. The country has seen Monica Lewinsky from every possible angle. What more could be said about her that we don't already know?

There are those who view the President's impeachment as a morality tale; others see it as a constitutional crisis; still others see it as a crisis averted — after all, he was not convicted, and he remains in office. No matter how the impeachment is regarded, the catalyst for all of this remains a solitary young woman who made an unfortunate choice, and unleashed a series of events that whipped entirely out of her control. And no matter how much you think you know about Monica, the fact is that up until now, you have seen her only through the eyes of others.

Monica's Story is truly that, an unvarnished tale of her decision to become sexually involved with the President of the United States. What sort of woman is it who puts herself in a position of being "on call" to a man who is married, with a child, and who occupies the highest office in the nation? What sort of woman is it who allows her lover to ignore her for months, merely hoping for some glance of acknowledgement, some simple and friendly gesture? And what sort of woman is it who calls the President "Butthead"?

Morton presents Monica as a fairly complicated person, one whose self-esteem was so low that she couldn't envision herself as being a man's only love. Her struggles with her appearance, and the viciousness of the mediawhoportrayed her simplistically in order to sell newspapers, magazines and TV ads, are documented in painful detail. While Linda Tripp claims, "I am you," Monica is shown to truly be a very human and understandable young woman who made a choice and has reaped the consequences a hundredfold. At no time does she refuse responsibility for her actions; at no time does she pretend that somehow this is not her fault. And while horribly aware of her place in history, she tells us, "I don't want to make a career out of being Monica Lewinsky. I haven't done anything to be proud of."

This is a personal, painful, raw account of a young woman's mistake, and the horrors of a world which rushed in to take advantage of that mistake. Throughout her ordeal, she has grown significantly — these events have changed her from the bubbly, naive and engaging girl she was when she met the President to a phenomenally self-possessed, cynical, and mistrustful woman. She casts blame where it deserves to be cast — on herself, on the President, on Kenneth Starr and Linda Tripp. As Andrew Sullivan wrote in his article in The New York Times, "If this morality tale is essentially about honesty, then Ms. Lewinsky is its heroine." Her story is the missing piece to a puzzle of historic importance, and it is long overdue.

Michiko Kakutani
...[M]ight well be called The Miseducation of Monica Lewinsky....Its obsessive account of teen-age shenanigansits...prattling about sex and self-esteem...sadly sum up the sorry state of affairs our culture has reached....D-Day no longer refers to World War II but to "Dump Day" in the saga of Monica and Bill. —The New York Times
Francine Prose
...[O]ur costly, deeply destructive recent political crisis is finally revealed for what it was: an Oval Office teen romance. —People Magazine
Arianna Huffington
...[A] graphic account, though not as graphic as the Starr Report, of the buxom intern as wronged royal mistress....[W]hat we are left with is the terminal impression of two self-indulgent, self-obsessed teenagers — one of whom just happened to be President... —National Review
Lisa Schwarzbaum
[Morton] stands up for her like a protective big brother....[He] suggests themes to explain how life went so awfully awry for her. — Entertainment Weekly
Michael Oreskes
...[O]ne factor emerges: the complete absence of grown-ups. No one...ever says no and means it....Morton's portrait of Monica's life inside the media frenzy has moments of fascination....The book is clearly a rush job, thus a testament to modern culture.
New York Times Book Review
Michael Oreskes
...[O]ne factor emerges: the complete absence of grown-ups. No one...ever says no and means it....Morton's portrait of Monica's life inside the media frenzy has moments of fascination....The book is clearly a rush job, thus a testament to modern culture.
The New York Times Book Review
Michiko Kakutani
...[M]ight well be called The Miseducation of Monica Lewinsky....Its obsessive account of teen-age shenanigans, its...prattling about sex and self-esteem...sadly sum up the sorry state of affairs our culture has reached....D-Day no longer refers to World War II but to "Dump Day" in the saga of Monica and Bill.
The New York Times
Lisa Schwarzbaum
[Morton] stands up for her like a protective big brother....[He] suggests themes to explain how life went so awfully awry for her.
Entertainment Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429978361
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/15/1999
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
279,526
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER ONE“My Little Farfel”ON A HOT SUMMER’S DAY—July 23—in 1973, after an interminable labor in the same San Francisco children’s hospital where she herself had been born, Marcia Lewinsky gave birth to her first child, Monica Samille. As the proud father, Bernie, himself a doctor, looked on, the nurses who had helped Marcia through her longest day marveled at the beautiful long eyelashes of her seven-and-a-half-pound daughter. Bernie called her “My little Farfel,” farfel meaning “noodle.”Bernie Lewinsky’s parents had both fled Germany in the 1920s to escape the increased harassment of the Jews by the emerging Nazi Party. His father, George, sought a new life in El Salvador in Central America, where he worked as an accountant for a coffee import—export business. During a trip to London in 1939, on the eve of World War Two, he met Susi, a young German teacher who had left her home in Hamburg after the Gestapo took away her entire class of Jewish children during a raid on the school where she taught Hebrew. Two weeks later George and Susi married. They settled in El Salvador, where they enjoyed an affluent lifestyle, far removed from the horrors of the war that was to devastate Europe. Yet even though their homeland was thousands of miles away, they instilled in their son Bernie, who was born in 1943, the archetypal Teutonic virtues of hard work, self-discipline and respect for the rule of law. When Bernie was fourteen, the family immigrated to California, where, after high school, he went on to study medicine at the University of California in Berkeley and Irvine. It was while he was at medical school that he first met Marcia Vilensky, then aged twenty to his twenty-five.Like George Lewinsky, Marcia’s father, Samuel, had fled his native land—in his case, Lithuania, then suffering under Stalin’s purges of the 1930s. Samuel Vilensky first settled in San Francisco, where Marcia was born in 1948. When she was four, the family moved to Tokyo, her father having decided that there were exciting business opportunities in postwar Japan. Samuel developed a successful import-export business in Tokyo, and the Vilenskys enjoyed a life as affluent as it was cosmopolitan, given their Russian roots, expatriate social circle and Japanese friends. Marcia and her sister Debra, who was born three years after the family had left America, wanted for nothing: the house was staffed by a bevy of servants, including a chauffeur. The two girls integrated well into the local community, both becoming fluent in Japanese. This idyll was, however, to be abruptly shattered.In 1964, Samuel Vilensky died suddenly of a heart attack. With his death the family business fell in ruins, and Marcia, Debra and their mother, Bernice, had to return to California, where they stayed with Bernice’s mother, Olga Polack, in Sonoma County, just outside San Francisco. To support the family, Bernice took a job as a legal secretary, although it barely paid enough to make ends meet. The days of a large house and lavish lifestyle were consigned to history. It was, Marcia recalls, a bitter wrench, “a huge change, to move out of the country you have grown up in.”With the family coffers suddenly empty, Marcia enrolled for study at a community college. After two years one of her uncles stepped in, undertaking to pay the fees for her to attend California State University, Northridge, where she majored in urban studies, aiming to become a town planner once she had graduated. These dreams were shelved for good when, at Easter 1968, she met Bernie Lewinsky, a quietly spoken, self-effacing medical student five years her senior. “The bond that drew us together was the fact that we had both lived abroad,” says Marcia, although she concedes that after the trauma of her father’s death she was looking for emotional security.With Bernie facing the stressful prospect of a medical internship, both families agreed that it would be better if the couple, young as they were, married before he began this time of long hours and little sleep, so that they could, at least for a while, enjoy a normal married life. In the commotion and excitement surrounding the wedding, the differences in their characters—she charming, biddable, shy, unconventional and creative, he undemonstrative, down to earth, practical and hard-working—were set aside, and they were married in a Jewish ceremony at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel in February 1969.Shortly after their wedding they moved to London, where Bernie worked for a year as a registrar (the British term for resident) at the Royal Marsden Hospital, concentrating on his specialist field, oncological cancer. Both look back on that period with fond memories; Marcia, an Anglophile to her fingertips, loved the country’s history and tradition, while Bernie enjoyed the challenges he faced at one of the world’s leading cancer hospitals. It was during this time that Monica was conceived. Marcia, who returned to San Francisco near the end of Bernie’s time at the Royal Marsden in London, excitedly sent a telegram to her husband at the hospital: “Dear Bernard, We’re having a baby. Love, Marcia.”For Marcia, the arrival of Monica signaled a fulfillment of a kind. As she says, “Like many women of my generation, I never really assigned myself a career. Being a mother was my goal. My kids are precious to me—you could say too important.”It was clear from early on that Monica was a bright child; she could talk before she could walk, and was speaking fluently before her second birthday. Marcia doted on her baby daughter, but she soon discovered who was the boss: “Monica,” she says, with a smile of weary acceptance. “She was a strong-willed child who always knew her own mind. Yet her strong will and determination have never been to control others. It is all about Monica knowing what is right for Monica.”Both her mother and her Aunt Debra remember numerous examples of Monica’s utter certainty about her own decisions, even as a small child. When she was two years old, Debra took her to the park near her home in San Francisco to play on the swings. When it was time to leave, Monica refused to get off her swing and, although she adored her aunt—who throughout Monica’s life has been a close confidante and staunch friend—ignored all attempts to persuade her to go home. Eventually, Debra tried to trick her by calling out, “Bye,” and walking away, thinking the little girl would run and catch up to her. She was wrong. Although it was getting dark, Monica remained glued to her swing. It was only when she had at last had enough that she agreed to leave. “To me,” says Debra, “that isn’t necessarily bad—she knew her own mind even at two years old. I think she is an exceptional person, quite fascinating. She was then like she is now, charming, sweet, extremely bright and difficult, very strong-willed.”Her strength of will, which some might call obstinacy in one so young, surfaced again when Debra was due to marry her fiance, Bill Finerman, a cardiologist, at his grandmother’s home in Beverly Hills in 1976. Monica, then three, was to be the flowergirl. Just twenty minutes before the service, she decided that her light-blue dress, which had long sleeves, would look better if it was sleeveless—she already had an eye for fashion. With the bride putting the finishing touches to her own dress, there was no time for argument or persuasion. Marcia decided that the only solution was to do as her daughter wanted, and she reached for her scissors. The offending sleeves removed, Monica happily put on her dress and, her aunt says, “stole the show.”Marcia also admits that the combination of her daughter’s tenacious yet emotionally needy nature and her own readiness to avoid a fuss, at almost any cost, probably influenced Monica’s behavior in adulthood. “I’m by nature non-confrontational; Bernie was very autocratic, very stern, because of his upbringing so you can see the dynamics of the family.”In 1976, after Bernie had finished a two-year stint at the Letterman Hospital in San Francisco, the family left their three-bedroom home there for Los Angeles, where he had secured a well-paid position in private practice. A year later, Marcia gave birth again, this time to a boy, whom they named Michael. Monica was thrilled. The four-year age gap was deliberate, designed to prevent sibling rivalry, but Monica adored her baby brother from the first, and immediately nicknamed him “Jo Jo.” When mother and son returned to the family’s Spanish-style house in Beverly Hills they found, stretched across the front door, ribbons and a huge banner saying: “Welcome Home Jo Jo.” She was so taken with her brother that she would often hide in a closet until his nanny, who liked a regimented routine, put him to bed for the night. Then she would squeeze from her hiding place and play with him until they were discovered. “She mothered him to death,” recalls Marcia, who, significantly, also observes that, unlike his elder sister, Michael has a relaxed, shrug-of-the-shoulders approach to life’s decisions and difficulties.In general, Michael remembers, Monica was “overly thoughtful” and “always concerned about me,” though he adds that she was “a great sister.” For his part, he agrees that he is much the more level-headed of the two: “Monica can run the spectrum of emotions in a very short amount of time,” he says diplomatically. So while he remembers their three-bedroom house on North Hillcrest Drive with affection, recalling days splashing about in their own pool with their father, Monica remembers the fact that the suburb was plagued by raccoons coming into the houses.Although, some people have portrayed Marcia as a flighty socialite, perhaps because under her pen name “Marcia Lewis” she wrote a monthly column for the Hollywood Reporter Magazine, in reality she was a homebody, happy to devote her time and energies to her children. Which was just as well because besides Michael’s arrival, there was another significant change for Monica: at the age of six, she first went to school. The John Thomas Dye School in Bel Air is a well-established private school with a daunting academic and social reputation. With its immaculate buildings and grounds, high-caliber teaching staff and a roll-call of former students who have reached the political and economic summits of the country, it is a quintessential example of WASP culture. Its alumni include political friends of former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, the son of Katharine Graham, owner of the Washington Post, and also a number of California congressmen and senators.For a time, this bright, lively Jewish girl fit in well. She excelled at mathematics, her written work regularly earned top grades, and her love of poetry was recognized early on. The fact that both her parents read to her a lot as a child and encouraged her own reading was a significant factor in her early intellectual growth. In the hothouse atmosphere of John Thomas Dye it was perhaps no surprise that her stated ambition was to become President of the United States. She had other, less daunting, dreams, however. When she was seven she wrote that she wanted “to be a teacher and help other people to learn . . I would be nice but strict,” she stated.Nancy Krasne, a family friend who was in the same school car pool as the Lewinskys, and who has known them for twenty years, remembers Monica as a “very special girl” among a high-powered group. “I always thought that she was the one who was going to be successful,” Nancy says. “Monica was very bright, bordering on the brilliant, and very expressive. She was hard-working, conscientious, very much the little adult in some ways, but in others, emotionally very immature. The problem was that she didn’t fit the Beverly Hills mold, even though she was so eager to please, to join in with the others.” As an example of this driving wish not to be set apart from her fellows or, worse, excluded by them, Monica once spent an entire weekend at home learning how to jump rope so that she could join in with the other girls on schooldays. For a girl who confesses that she is hopeless at sports, nothing could better demonstrate her overwhelming desire to be one of the crowd. She certainly made the grade academically, regularly winning commendations for her work, and invariably bringing home excellent report cards. She remembers it as “a really terrific school . . very challenging and mind-opening.”But there were drawbacks. The fact that she lived some way from the school in Bel Air meant that it was difficult for her schoolfriends to drop by to play—at that time Barbie dolls and Olivia Newton-John, star of the film musical Grease, were all the rage. When she was nine and entering third grade, there were incidents at school, if not of physical bullying, at least of the casual cattiness and cliquishness of children, particularly girls, which often remain as a canker in the psyche well into adult life. Nor was her cause helped by the fact that she was beginning to get a little overweight. She was dubbed “Big Mac” by one of her classmates, Matthew Spaulding, a gibe made all the more painful because at the time she was harboring a schoolgirl crush on him.Monica also vividly remembers the time when Tori Spelling, the daughter of the Hollywood film mogul Aaron Spelling, held a birthday party at her parents’ palatial home. Pop superstar Michael Jackson and the world’s smallest pony were expected to be two of the competing attractions at this most glittering of occasions, and everyone in Tori’s class was invited—except Monica. Not knowing if the omission was a casual oversight or a deliberate snub, Marcia rang the Spellings’ social secretary to check. As a result, an invitation was duly sent out, even though Monica had not been on the original guest list.Marcia, not surprisingly, concealed this fact from her daughter, and Monica only discovered that she had not been invited as a matter of course when two classmates taunted her about the late invitation. Monica had no idea why Tori should choose to exclude her, especially as they were in Brownies together. However, once she realized the truth of the situation she refused, as a matter of principle, to attend. It was a tough decision for a girl so eager to please and so desperate to belong, but it was also an early sign of one of Monica’s most formidable characteristics, her unshakable resolve. She says of the incident, “My mom always taught me to do unto others as you would want done to you. So you should invite everyone to your birthday parties, you should give everyone in your class a Valentine’s card. You shouldn’t exclude people. Not only is it bad manners, it is very hurtful.”That emphasis on good manners and proper form, something which in part reflected the European influences of her parents, was noticed by those who visited her Beverly Hills home. A friend from her schooldays, Michelle Glazov, recalls that Monica was expected to behave with “almost Victorian decorum” at home, in marked contrast to most of their contemporaries. Moreover, while Bernie and Marcia were not overtly religious, they followed Jewish cultural traditions, sending Monica to Hebrew school at the strict Sinai Temple—a source of resentment in their daughter, who wanted to attend a less orthodox synagogue with her schoolfriends.At the same time, the high sense of entitlement that comes with living in Beverly Hills led to frequent family clashes, particularly between Monica and her father. For example, when her best friend got her own phone line and Snoopy telephone, Monica asked if she could have the same, and there were tears and tantrums when her father said no. There were similar quarrels when he wouldn’t buy her a Minnie Mouse dress during a visit to Disneyland. “I guess growing up it seemed that Mom was the yes one and Dad was the no one,” says Monica, “which is not uncommon in a lot of families.” Bernie agrees: “Oh yes, I was called ‘Dr. No’ by my kids, all that kind of stuff.”The focus on materialism, on owning the latest designer clothes and gadgets, was an inevitable corollary of growing up in Beverly Hills, a place where surface and show form the fabric of social life, where to be willowy, blonde and driving the latest BMW is for many people the standard. This obsession with status and money became too much for Monica’s beloved Aunt Debra, who decided to move east with her husband and son Alex for a less status-conscious life. “It’s a great place for people in their twenties but not good to raise children,” she says. “Monica never really fit in. If she had been very thin and in with the fast crowd she would have been OK. But it really wasn’t her.”With hindsight, Marcia too regrets the years spent in Beverly Hills, recognizing that her children, particularly Monica, were not suited to the lifestyle. “I myself was never happy in LA. I felt that it wasn’t the right place, and I’m sure that was communicated—perhaps unwittingly—to my children.”Monica is more pragmatic, recognizing that if children are raised in a certain environment, their parents have to accept the consequences of that upbringing. She accepts, too, that there is a streak of acquisitiveness in her character that she might not have had if she had been raised in a different city, a different culture. “I don’t think I’m a spoiled brat. I don’t fit into the Beverly Hills stereotype—in fact that was one of my problems growing up there. However, I do have a certain level of expectation about what I deserve, both from the way in which I was brought up, and from the environment in which I was brought up.”Her high sense of expectation gave rise to a classic confrontation between father and daughter when she asked for a Bat-mitzvah to celebrate her coming-of-age. It is customary in Beverly Hills for Jewish children to have very elaborate Bar/Bat-mitzvah parties at the age of thirteen, usually held in a ballroom or the reception room of the temple with friends and parents’ friends: “Like a wedding for one,” recalls Monica. Sometimes the reception would be themed with a main attraction, such as a magician. Wanting to be like all the other kids, Monica anticipated a big celebration. Instead, Bernie offered to spend $500 on a party in the backyard of the family home. A full-scale party was not beyond his means but he believed that that was quite sufficient to celebrate an event that was supposed to be religious. Monica, knowing well how this would fail to impress her peers, let it be known in no uncertain terms that it most certainly was not sufficient, nor was it what she wanted. When her mother took her side, the result was a hurtful family argument, in which, inevitably, things were said that would have been much better left unsaid. In the end she did have a birthday party, complete with a DJ and a hotdog stand, and admits that “it was fun.”Yet the relationship between Monica and her father was by no means characterized by an endless locking of horns. Monica recalls spending hours watching him work at his hobby—woodworking—although she was never allowed to help. She remembers, too, with much pleasure the day when he gave her her first bike—a pink contraption with a banana seat—and then took her to the movie E.T., after which he cooked a special picnic supper of barbecue chicken.Certainly Bernie seemed atypical of the disengaged Beverly Hills professional concerned more with with his career than with his children. He often woke Monica late at night or at dawn to watch important events on TV like the first launch of the space shuttle or the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales. At other times they would sit out in the warm California night and he would point out and identify for her the stars and planets and constellations. When she was eleven she wrote him a touching Father’s Day tribute: “My dad is the best in the West. He is very kind and considerate twenty-four hours of the day. Maybe some fathers don’t deserve to be treated specially but my dad really does deserve it.”Monica fondly recalls wearing a pink T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and says, “I always wanted to be Daddy’s little girl.” She also says, though, that she was always trying to gain his approval but never really felt that she won it, taking very much to heart her father’s slightest criticism or adverse comment. In his own quiet fashion Bernie did and does love her dearly, but in Monica’s eyes he was never quite as expressive or demonstrative as she would have wished.Thus it is not difficult to see how this emotionally needy child—a child, moreover, who had such high expectations of those she cared for—often felt disappointed or rejected when her desires were not met. “I always remember getting into fights with Dad, usually at mealtimes, and I would usually leave the table crying,” she remembers. While her childhood memories are of her father coming home from work tired and irascible, she now concedes that the draining emotional strains of a demanding job, where every day he was dealing with seriously ill patients, contributed to their increasingly fractious relationship. “Monica so wanted to be Daddy’s little girl,” says Marcia. “She had these very high expectations and her father was not like that. It’s not that he’s a bad man; it’s just that he’s not the sort to say: ‘Come and sit on my knee, you pretty little girl.’ It was not his way.”While her relationship with her father was, and continues to be, tricky, Monica forged a close and affectionate bond with her mother, who almost invariably sided with her in family quarrels. “My mom and I are so similar,” she says. “We talk very similarly and have the same intonations.” Yet, while Monica seemed to be the dominant partner in the relationship, beneath the bluster and argument she needed her mother much more than she cared to admit, even to herself. Aunt Debra comments, “I think it is a typical mother-daughter relationship, very loving but with conflicts of opinion.”Monica wrote of her deep emotional bond with her mother in a school essay about the Hungarian-born Jewish poet Hannah Senesh, a World War Two agent of British Intelligence; in 1944 she was captured in Hungary by the Nazis, tortured and shot. The young Monica got the story a bit muddled after seeing the 1988 movie Hanna’s War, and thought the Nazis had told Senesh that her mother would be killed unless she, Hannah, revealed details of the British spy network. In a telling passage in her essay, Monica wrote: “I wish that I had the inner conviction that Hannah Senesh had. I am not nearly half as brave as she was. However, what I have in common with Hannah is that I too share a very close relationship with my mother. Hannah and her mother had a bond that could not be broken by anything and that is the same with me.” As a result of seeing the film she may have got parts of the story wrong—when Senesh was arrested, her mother was in fact living not in Hungary but in Palestine—but the love and loyalty illustrated in her version of it affected her deeply. It became even more important to her on the day her “friend” Linda Tripp betrayed her.Even so, although the deep emotional dynamics of the interdependence between herself, her mother and her father contain the key to understanding Monica’s personality, it would be a mistake to seat all her actions in those relationships. The craving to be respected and liked by her peers and, linked to that, her anxiety about her weight should not be overlooked as influences upon her character and behavior.Whatever her emotional problems, there was no questioning her intellectual ability. By the time she left the elementary school in Beverly Hills, it had become clear that she had a photographic memory, particularly for numbers, while her logical mind—a quality she ascribes to her father’s side of the family—and eloquence made her a formidable student. Nancy Krasne believes that “she was definitely Ivy League material.”When, aged ten, Monica transferred from John Thomas Dye to Hawthorne Elementary School, also in Beverly Hills, she soon proved her academic gifts. But fourth and fifth grade were to be difficult for Monica. Whilst she made friends she became increasingly hampered by her feelings of inadequacy and, like many teenage girls, these feelings became focused on her weight. In a world where to be thin corresponds to a high sense of personal worth and status, Monica’s unathletic build, coupled with the fact that she reached puberty earlier than her contemporaries, disturbed her. She desperately wanted to belong, yet her chubby figure made her feel like an outsider, contributing to her emotional burden.However, it was around this time that Monica started to become interested in boys. Mark Streams, a classmate, gave her a chocolate-covered, heart-shaped lollipop and she considered him to be her “boyfriend.”By sixth grade Monica had become popular with her schoolfellow and a growing spurt the summer before had resulted in a slimmed-down figure. However, the weight problems were to continue and Monica was thrilled, when, the summer before eighth grade, her mother allowed her to attend a “fat camp” in Santa Barbara, a summer school for overweight youngsters which offers a regime of healthy diet and regular exercise. “I wouldn’t say it was fun,” recalls Monica, “but of course I was dying to go. My mom really wanted me to go too because she had had her own battles with her weight in her life and so could empathize. Living in LA it was really important how you looked. It was upsetting to me because I didn’t want to be fat.” She arrived at Hawthorne for the fall term feeling leaner, fitter and much more confident. “It was the start of a great year for me,” she recalls.That year, Monica was voted Vice-President of her class by her schoolfellows. It was then that the first President came into her life. It was not Bill Clinton, of course, but the President of her class, Danny Shabani. As President and Vice-President, he and Monica, then thirteen, spent a lot of time together, organizing events and chatting regularly on the telephone. They became close friends. “He was smart, cute and had a tender side to him, not something you saw all the time,” says Monica. Although she had had a crush on him the year before, Monica valued her friendship with Danny and the only time they came close to a date was in the summer of her fourteenth birthday when he invited her to the movies. When he brought her home, she found that, ever the gentleman, he had secretly arranged for the delivery of a bouquet of a dozen red roses, her favorite flowers. “It was,” she says, “one of the most romantic things anyone has ever done for me. It was so sweet.” The only thing which spoiled the moment was the fact that Michael, who idolized Danny, hung around the couple spoiling Monica’s hopes of a kiss.While her relationship with Danny remained platonic, Monica began dating a teenager who became her first real boyfriend, Adam Dave. “Adam was very, very smart. I’ve always been attracted to intelligent men,” she says. At the same time, to begin with, the relationship was fun. When he played baseball Monica was there to cheer him on, and she would spend hours in the evenings chatting to him on the telephone. Some nights she would even hide in her clothes closet whispering down the line because it was past the time she was supposed to be using the phone. However, their teenage romance went on to anticipate the pattern of all her relationships, an emotional roller coaster characterized by angry partings followed in turn by affectionate longing.This behavior was to characterize her relationships with the two married men in her life. Monica explains it thus: “I am a very emotional and romantic person, but also pragmatic and logical. The combination of those elements means that I want to be in love and enjoy the perfect relationship, yet I only believe the relationship is ‘real’ if a man gets mad at me when I do something wrong. If a man is never upset with me or something I did, then he is not being honest about his feelings or honest with me—and so I feel that he is being a phony. I also feel this way about men who always agree with me.” So she had a fight with Adam Dave because—as illogical as it may seem—he refused to argue with her and thus confirm to her that their romance was real and therefore “true.” The result was that she ended their relationship, and then spent months pining for Adam when he refused to kiss and make up. It was another early sign that, though Monica knew her own mind, she had little control over her heart.As Monica was grappling with the trials and tribulations of adolescence, her parents were trying to come to terms with the disintegration of their marriage. For many years their friends had seen the divide both in their characters and in their aspirations. “They should never have got married in the first place, they just weren’t suited to each other,” observes one family friend. Monica, who admits she literally internalized the family stresses and strains by eating, says of that time: “My family life was not pleasant. My father worked a lot and the stress of his job, dealing with sick and dying people, was toll taking. It did not help his mood to come home to a relationship that was not right for either of my parents. We always ate dinner together but they were often unpleasant. My parents fought, but not necessarily in front of us. They weren’t very affectionate or loving towards each other. We did things, the four of us, but we weren’t the quintessential family. I think that was hard for me because I really wanted that. I love the idea of a family Thanksgiving and family Christmas. I am very family-oriented, I grew up watching the Brady Bunch TV show and had ideals about how I wanted my family to be. It’s one of the things I would most like to change about myself—I have a tendency to write the script and to decide in my own mind how other people should act and what they should say and feel. Then I get disappointed when inevitably they don’t follow the script because it is an impossible scenario.”Though Monica saw almost every moment of the drama unfolding in her parents’ marriage, she didn’t realize that its final curtain was about to fall. Nor, for that matter, did Bernie.In September 1987 he was in his office, gently explaining to a woman patient that she was suffering from lung cancer, and that it might prove to be terminal. Suddenly his receptionist interrupted the consultation, telling him that there was someone to see him, and that it was urgent. As he walked out into the lobby a small man scurried up to him, shouted, “Divorce papers!” and threw a package at him—it hit him on the chest—before scuttling away.Bernie’s comment on the incident is as understated as it is literal. “It came like a bolt from the blue.”Copyright © 1999 by Andrew Morton and Prufrock LLC

What People are Saying About This

Andrew Morton
From the Author
This book exists because the Monica I came to know has no relation to the image projected by the Starr Report and the mass media. The Monica I discovered is a bright, lively, and witty young woman who bears the scars of her continuing public shaming, but remains undefeated. This moving human story compelled me to look again at the woman whose name is known around the world but whose life is still a mystery.
Monica Lewinsky
From Monica Lewinsky's interview with Barbara Walters, March 3, 1999

It was the way he looked at me and the way he held me and the way he touched me. I think you feel that warmth with someone....He was very tender with me, very affectionate....It was an intense relationship — at least, that was how I saw it....I would imagine that it would be very difficult to be the President of the United States....that sometimes you just need a piece of normalcy.....I wanted to [walk away] a lot of times....I don't have the feelings of self-worth that a woman should have, and that's hard for me and I think that's been a center of a lot of my mistakes and a lot of my pain.

Meet the Author

Andrew Morton, who lives in London with his wife and two daughters, is the author of the worldwide bestseller Diana: Her True Story. He has won numerous awards, including Author of the Year and a special prize for services to journalism.


Andrew Morton is one of the world's best-known biographers and a leading authority on modern celebrity. His groundbreaking biography Diana: Her True Story was a #1 New York Times bestseller, as was Monica's Story, an authorized biography of Monica Lewinsky, and Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography. The winner of numerous awards, including Author of the Year, his other New York Times bestsellers include unauthorized biographies of Madonna and Angelina Jolie, as well as William&Catherine: Their Story. He lives in London. 

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Monica's Story 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
bruceterrible More than 1 year ago
This book is not worth the read. It just goes on and on and on. I think she wants you to feel sorry for her because she only seems to like married men.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book took alot of effort to get through.All you hear is Monica moan and cry because she didnt get to stay with a married man.Ms. Lewinsky got what was coming to her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Or buy it or read it? Do not believe how low publishing has become to even feature it let alone print it. Well she has her five seconds of fame in all the history books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am not a person who likes to sit and read a book. But, because of a similar situation but not completely I did read this book. In my opinion Monica was young and naive. She was truly in love with the president as a person. He used her, and lied to her and the world. The book can be long at times because of the details. But I actually feel sorry for Ms. Lewinsky. She was made into a public fool, and tortured by the others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Buy this book if you want to give comfort and support to a young woman whom we hope has finally learned a valuable lesson on how to leave married men alone. After you buy it, send it to Monica for her autograph. But don't punish yourself by trying to read it. It's super BORING!!! So pack it away in mothballs. In a hundred years or so, your descendents might be able to sell it at an auction and make enough dough to buy a days' supply of bread.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't bother wasting your money. This was an awful read. I agree with the reader who said, "This book is not worth the read. It just goes on and on and on."
WindDancer3001 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. It was good to get the other side of the story. I have always felt that Miss Lewinsky received much undue criticism. I believe we all should think how we would feel were we the subject of so much media attention and endless bad jokes. This book gives us a view of exactly how hurtful this whole situation was, is and will continue to be for probably the rest of her life. This is not to say she is blameless, but I personally feel that the whole thing was none of the nation's business. This should have been a private thing between the parties involved. Linda Tripp...well, that one needs dealing with! I will get off my soapbox now and say that the book was entertaining, emotional and eye-opening. Kudos to Mr. Morton. Best wishes to Miss Lewinsky.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gave a wonderful inside look into the sad happenings of Monica Lewinsky and her family. It shows a devastating side of what the government can do to a person. And while the media has made it quite easy to hate Monica, this book makes it hard to keep the hate going. Although slow at times, it is what seems to be very truthful about the facts as well as the raw emotions expressed in 'Monica's Story.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NewtSucks More than 1 year ago
It amazes me how Americans who have everything, give nothing back. This woman's life has been tortured and twisted for political gain. The relationship (yes folks thats what it was) between her and the president had nothing to do with any of us. Politicians and a revengeful independent counsel in Ken Starr ruined this girls life all for the sake of not liking Bill. Newt shut down the government due to a power struggle over not liking Bill CLinton and now he wants to be president. HA no thanks. People have sex and even presidents. No one ever put Kennedy through this when he had multiple affairs. Oh wait, they killed him instead. I forgot. Get over your high and might selves. MONICA, I AM SORRY FOR THE WAY YOU HAVE BEEN TREATED AND I AM SURE THERE ARE MANY LIKE ME WHO DO NOT SEE YOU IN THE WAY YOU HAVE BEEN PORTRAYED. I HOPE YOU FIND HAPPINESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE LEAVE YOU ALONE.
JennGrrl More than 1 year ago
This book is actually quite absorbing and enlightening. I found out a lot of things I hadn't before known about Monica Lewinsky, and her relationship with President Clinton. I now see her as a person, rather than the woman who the President did not have sexual relations with. This book is so interesting. You get a behind the scenes look into Monica's life while the entire scandal and trial were going on. My one criticism...typos...and lots of them. I understand things aren't always and can't always be perfect, but it's annoying to see repeated words, misplaced words, misspelled words, and just typos. I hope if they had any later additions, they corrected these items. I'd definitely suggest this book, though it's strictly for adults only.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
<3 <3 <3
Guest More than 1 year ago
At one point in her ordeal, Monica Lewinsky's mother compares what is happening to her daughter with the treatment of her family in Stalin's Russia and the tale which Andrew Morton's book tells is chilling to those who have formerly regarded the USA as the bastion of freedom. It is, it would appear, exactly like Animal Farm - all are equal but some are more equal than others. In this case, those with more money and power are more equal than those with less. Personally, I feel that there is something rather sick about middle-aged men who get a buzz out of terrorising a young girl and demanding that she describe her sexual experiences in lurid detail. We had one of those in the UK - it was called Frederick West and Mr Starr and his minions would do well to take notice of what happened to him.Or maybe I am too prissy, with my belief in due process and my feeling that the notion that a person is innocent until proved guilty makes the Anglo-Saxon legal system fairer than any other. It is a wonderful irony that Ms Lewinsky was bullied into telling the truth by the lies of the FBI operatives who were, by the way, so determined to have her testimony that they pre-empted the filing of her deposition and knowing prevented her from canceling it by stopping her from contacting her lawyer.In many countries those concerned would now find themselves behind bars. The fact was that Bill Clinton had made himself many powerful enemies who resented his apparently teflon-coated ability to slide out of scandals. They wanted to get him and they did not care what for. Monica Lewinsky was in the wrong place at the wrong time.What she did was wrong but hardly a major crime. When reduced to basics what was it she did? She had a relationship with someone much older than herself and attempted to avoid embarrassment by hiding the fact. Sadly her handsome prince had all too clumsy feet of clay and her fairy godmother was on the make. At this point her story becomes a nightmare- especially when one considers that her tormenters would have been cast, a few years earlier as defenders of the free world. God help us! What is heartening is the picture that emerges of the loyalty of Ms Lewinsky's family and friends. Let us hope that now she will be allowed to forget her mistakes - she is, after all, not the only person to have done things they regret- and to get on with her life in peace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What if she was your daughter she did do something wrong but he did too