Review: What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me

What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me
What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me by Rielle Hunter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I went into this with an open mind. I didn’t follow the media scrutiny of their affair that closely so I only knew the basic facts – they had an affair resulting in a kid that he denied while lying about her constantly. I was curious what she would present as “her” side.

I’m not morally or otherwise outraged that she had an affair with a married politician. I’m not going to pretend she’s the first one ever to do so or even the worst so perhaps my reaction is tempered by “I don’t care” whereas a lot or reactions center on the fact that she was a mistress. Her account is very detailed but in odd ways. She makes sure to point out random details – such as her Prada duffle bag, Pottery Barn furniture, or cobb salad dinner – that no one would really care about while leaving out whole stretches of time in her accounting.

Her writing is very choppy and immature. Lots of exclamation points, all caps “NOT COOL” and so on. The editing leaves a lot to be desired as there are numerous typos and forgotten words. The narrative seems to wander and meander a lot as well, telling back stories and random asides that don’t necessarily fit but she clearly wants to fit in as much as she can remember about the time and events.

On the whole I think she’s very honest about her recollection and understanding of events. I think this is really her side and reality as she sees it. I can’t begin to “get” her constant and total devotion to a weak-willed man such as Johnny Edwards but I do believe she didn’t break up any fairytale marriage. I find the book easy to read and mostly interesting – she didn’t work almost at all for the entire book, supported by an a seemingly endless parade of rich friends with good hearts that were willing to support her in all ways (private planes, houses, furniture, money, vacations).

Not that her life has been easy but it seems the trade off for not having an actual job was the media scrutiny, lies, and harassment. Perhaps not a great trade but the one she ended up with. I can’t say I like Rielle Hunter after reading her book but it’s an easy, dishy read that offers some information from the other side.

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2 thoughts on “Review: What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me

  1. Tam says:

    I’m not sure what the following says about me: a) I had hoped that this was a book about the guy who talks to dead people (isn’t it the same name?) and b) I’m not outraged that some woman had an affair with a married man.

    I wonder if b) is because I have no vested interest in their relationship. It’s quite different than if she had cheated with my best friend’s husband. Or maybe I’m just cynical. I can’t imagine living off friends who give you a free place to stay or give you money for food. Maybe when you are young, but when you are a grown-up, not so much. (Maybe I’m just jealous)

  2. LOL I wish it was about a guy that talks to dead people. I’d be all over that.

    I found it really interesting even though, like you, I just couldn’t work up any big issues over the topic. I found it more interesting in the train wreck way. As in… how the hell this woman could live like that and why didn’t she ever get a job? Perhaps I’m jealous too…

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