Book Review: 'Crazy Love' by Leslie Morgan Steiner

crazy love
  Enlarge Photo    
Sunday, May 3, 2009

Crazy Love

By Leslie Morgan Steiner

St. Martin's Press. 325 pp. $24.95

Most memoirs are, in one way or another, survival tales. Leslie Morgan Steiner's harrowing memoir "Crazy Love," is literally a story of life and death. Steiner was a young writer and editor at Seventeen magazine, living an apparently charmed life, when she met Conor, a handsome older Wall Street type. From shy early dates to a passionate courtship, their romance, too, looked perfect from the outside.

But Steiner was not the model Ivy League success she seemed to be: She was a recovering addict still grappling with the emotional fallout of an alcoholic mother and a distant father. As she fell into this new relationship, Conor's behavior grew ugly: He was jealous, controlling, furious. The progression to physical violence, Steiner makes clear, was predictable. Despite all the red flags (including his jarring pet name for her, "retard"), Steiner stuck it out. Readers may wonder why it took so long, but they'll all cheer as Steiner -- a former blogger for The Washington Post and editor of the anthology "Mommy Wars" -- slowly regains her sense of self and escapes this crazy love.

-- Kate Tuttle

© 2009 The Washington Post Company