I heard about this book about a year ago and read it. It is totally offensive. If I were related to anyone with a mental illness and ran into this woman, I’d slap her silly. She may indeed have a DIL from hell, but the complete lack of objectivity and total denial of her own contributions to the problem make her an unsympathetic character. I finished reading the book convinced her editor or publisher must have hated her.
She makes a big deal about using first name pseudonyms for DS and DIL, but writes under her own name. It took me less than 5 min online to track down the son’s name. The DS and DIL may deserve the public rip on them, but what about the grandchildren? There are 3 or 4 of them; can you imagine going to junior high or high school and everyone knowing your family’s dirty laundry as told by grandma?
The author nearly had a miscarriage when she was pregnant with the DS. 35 years or so later, after the DS lashes out with something like, “You never loved me” the father reminds him “when you attempted to abort, your mother went on bedrest to save you.” Those aren’t exact quotes, but the phrase “attempted to abort” was used. I know a miscarriage can be referred to as a spontaneous abortion” but it’s not something the baby/fetus tries to do. The baby is a victim, and here his parents are trying to blame him??!!!! If the DS had grown up having this thrown in his face, I wouldn’t be at all surprised he wanted to distance himself from his family. I asked two doctors and an L/D nurse I know about that phrase; they all found it odd.
The author and her husband backed out of the wedding (tho they paid for the rehearsal dinner – author likes to emphasize their financial contributions). DS and DIL did NOT uninvited them. In fact, DS wrote/emailed his parents telling them they would be welcome. Author admitted she and husband had backed themselves into a corner. Did they jump at the chance to go? No, the author complains that DS’s letter/email was too remote and they didn’t feel welcome. Although she claims she would have walked on broken glass to get there (wedding in DC, author and husband spend summers in MI), they didn’t go. Instead on the morning of the wedding, they took a walk and buried a picture of the bride and groom to put the situation behind them. Not a drama queen, is she? She was also upset that the bride’s mother didn’t call them to encourage them to attend. Why should the bride’s mother be responsible for assuaging the groom’s mother’s pride? Also, it wasn’t just the groom’s parents that didn’t attend, but his brother didn’t either. No explanation given. The author does admit she was a bit put off that DS and DIL didn’t come to their 50th Anniversary that same summer.
Shortly after DS and DIL started dating, DIL had to go out of town. She had met his folks once. When she comes back, DS meets her at the airport with flowers and a card from his parents. The card says, “Please marry our son.” Wouldn’t this put up big red flags about how healthy a relationship your BF had with his folks? I mean really, they want him to marry someone he’s known a few weeks? They’ve met only once?
The author claims she’s upset that her grandchildren won’t know anything about the rich family history on their father’s side. But then she complains that DIL sends one of DS’s aunts (I believe author’s sister, but could be sil) pictures of the children. Supposedly DIL does this just to twist the knife into MIL. Couldn’t possibly be that DIL wants the children to have some connection to their paternal family or just happens to like the aunt
he author makes a lot of unsubstantiated assumptions. When DIL and DS build a house, the author takes it as proof positive that DIL is controlling because she has a desk and bookshelves in DS’s artist studio. Hmmm, maybe he wanted his wife there? Maybe it wasn’t his studio so much as the adult workroom where their kids couldn’t enter, so he had an art area and she had her work station?
There was a big confrontation between the author’s husband, DS and DIL (I think the author was watching the grandchildren in the other room). IT lasted something like 2 hours, but the only details given was the DIL’s ludicrous complaint about meals MIL prepared while DIL was pregnant. Now, I find it hard to justify DIL’s complaints if they actually were as the author related, so there probably is a legitimate criticism there. However, did they really spend 2-3 hours with DIL ranting about these meals? I have to assume that there were other complaints/criticisms raised that the author decided to omit. So why did she omit them? And in the entire book, the author can't quote her son saying anything like "Mary told me how awful you really are," or "Mary opened my eyes to your selfishness." If DIL is truly brainwashing DS, I imagine there would be something along those lines.
The author doesn’t use just their own experiences, but relates other DIL from hell stories. Her husband is a clergyman and is privy to a lot of family complaints. However, the author doesn’t track down the other side of the stories. There is always another side. We see here how there can be multiple interpretations of the same actions.
If you can get this book at your library and want to read it for free, I’d say go for it, but don’t waste money on it. It exemplifies the type of narrow-minded, self-pitying, my-DS-is-a-victim-of-a-vicious-DIL thinking that gives MILs a bad name.