on February 1, 2003
I can't much improve on the one review where the fellow who wrote it said he wish he could've reached into the book and strangled Pat Allanson.
This sociopath was never made to face reality. But, then again, her mother indulged in illusion. Marguerite had three illegitimate children before she was 20 years old by a married man, but acted as if she was this paragon of virtue and looked down her nose at everyone else. Meanwhile, her precious daughter, who drove her own brother to suicide, is ruining lives right and left.
I think the entire family was nuts and if Pat Allanson got the opportunity she would just repeat her past conduct because she knows her family...save the only sane member, her daughter, Susan...will continue to defend her and cover up for her!
Heaven preserve us from people who think they are entitled to everything they want and don't care who they run over to get it.
on April 17, 1998
The most horrific, conniving, controlling, murderous, childish, sick person I have ever read about. Ann Rule is excellent in plotting the story of a truly heinous pathetic soul as Pat. Her enabling, sad parents and family members are to also be responsible for allowing such appalling behavior to continue. Pat would destroy anyone who was in her way, including her own children and grandchildren. There was absolutely no one who was exempt. The pain caused to her own parents was another devious act. She would keep her imprisoned husband from his only family; she would keep a small son from his sick mother (Pat's daughter); she would keep a dying old man from his beloved wife. etc. After serving prison time, and released, it was shocking to learn that she would include one of her daughters into her life of crime and deceit AGAIN. But fortunately, one daughter had the tenacity and courage to report her back to authorities. Family members become enablers and someone should have stopped her long ago, before innocent people are hurt.
on October 23, 2002
In "Everything She Ever Wanted" we are introduced to Patricia Vann Radcliffe Taylor Allanson, a woman fixated on emulating her role-model Scarlett O'Hara, a modern-day refined southern belle of infinite selfishness and a complete lack of remorse or empathy, devoid of conscience and incapable of love for anyone or anything save for herself, in search of her paradisaic "Tara".
While some have mistaken this as a story of a freak, it is quite the opposite - a tale of a clever, stubborn, adorable spoiled child whose submersion in unmitigated gratification and complete lack of disciplinary boundaries during her formative years turned the Shirley-Temple dream child into the Jekyll/Hyde adult. Do I recall that Pat Taylor Allanson served as the model for Caleb Carr's cold-blooded, manipulative, and realistic if fictional "Libby" in his chilling classic "Angel of Darkness"? If she didn't, she certainly could have.
The tale of a monster? Perhaps, but a common monster, one that breeds and multiplies and festers in the milieu of our modern society, that arises again and again, in ever more resistant strains, to test the limits of our enfeebled enforcement and justice systems.
Ms. Rule adroitly demonstrates the chameleon nature of the sociopath, the quicksilver-like ability to evade culpability and responsibility, while churning a carnage-laden path of ruined lives and festering emotional trauma through the lives of those who love them. We sense the frustration of a legal system than can never adequately resolve those crimes against the innocent which ultimately only a higher power can fully and fairly address, as is acknowledged in the novel's concluding and ironic axiom.
A fascinating read (I read it in about 3 long sittings) for those willing to wade into the restricting mire of non-idyllic reality far removed from Hollywood fantsies of quick revenge and violent retribution. Recommended.
Pat Allenson was undoubtably a sociopath. No two ways about it. From a child she exhibited demanding, ruthless behavior. Her maternal grandmother adored her and placed Pat's interests and needs over her own large brood. Pat was indulged to the point of excess.
When Pat was 5, her mother married a career army officer named Clifford Radcliffe. Pat, resentful of having to leave the charmed life her grandmother gave her and share any part of the limelight with her half-brother, Kent, was forced to move out of state and move into a new lifestyle.
In true sociopathic form, Pat, like the proverbial rat, could survive just about anywhere. Radcliffe's career took the family to different countries where they were warmly received. Pat, blessed with physical attractiveness, used this to charm people into indulging her.
Kent, on the other hand was a gentle, mild mannered boy. A hearing loss in infancy appeared to exacerbate his shyness. He was easily eclipsed and dominated by his bullying sister. Never able to find peace with himself, he committed suicide in 1966.
Pat married at age 15 and had three children. Like her mother, she married a career officer whose assignments led to distant travel. Pat's oldest child Susan remembers that when she was 4, Pat crushed her hand while the family was in the Phillippines. This incident seemed to set the tone for Susan's future relationship with Pat. She did not want to see Pat when her hand was injured and this sentiment seemed to remain consistent throughout their lives together.
Pat's middle child, Debbie, appeared to be her mother's daughter. A child bride, Debbie would later embark on a series of affairs, become involved in prostitution and work with Pat in drugging and robbing elderly patients.
Ron, Pat's youngest child seemed most like his uncle Kent. Never able to find his place, he became a drifter and had a series of unsatisfactory relationships. In 1980 he eventually had a daughter named Ashlynne who was the apple of Pat's mother's eye.
History repeated itself. Pat's maternal grandmother adored her. Ashlynne's maternal grandmother adored her. Pat resented her mother lavishing love on Ashlynne. To compensate for this, she showered gifts upon Susan's children. A Southern Belle wannabe, Pat remarried a very gentle man named Tom Allenson. They had a "Gone With the Wind" themed wedding and Tom appeared to care very deeply about his new wife. He, too, had some disastrous marriages and was crushed at having no way to contact his children.
Pat, ever the seductress, devised newer and more frightening methods to command center stage. A possible victim of "Munchausen's Syndrome," she inflicted deep wounds on her body, reinfected one to the point she had to be hospitalized and sought ways to make people care about her. She resented the attention and time her grandchildren required and saw them as intrusions. She was especially antagonistic towards Ashlynne.
Pat was a ruthless sociopath who would stop at nothing to secure her goal. Susan's third child, Adam, was seen as a threat by Pat. She extended the hostility she felt for Ashlynne to Adam. She kept Susan drugged and poisoned and refused to let Susan have Adam. She insisted on keeping the mother and child apart, knowing full well how miserable she was making them.
Susan finally recovers and bravely blows the whistle on Pat. Having served jail time for a previous murder attempt, Pat once again entered the system. She had quite a resume -- doll maker, seamstress, gifted in the art of presenting genteel Southern charm (a real steel magnolia) thief and a murderer. This Southern Belle was Arsenic and Old Lace personified.
It would be interesting to see an update on Susan and her family and Debbie and her daughter as well as Ron and Ashlynne. One can only hope this family was able to heal after Susan bravely did the right thing. Hats off to Susan!
on May 18, 1998
I have just finished the book, and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I have to disagree with Ann Rule's description of the characters as people from fine, southern families. These are and were common, low class, trashy people. They would be less than "nobodys" in any town, much less an old southern town. The story was intriguing, but misleading. These people would be the equivolent of "Jerry Springer" guests. Since when does a military background characterize one as "fine?" If you readers could see the actual locations in which these events took place, now AND then, it would not be hard to understand my point. And what "refined, Southern family" has multiple women bearing children out of wedlock before the age of 15? Puuuullleaze! The people depicted in this book are common trash, which is fine. But let's not mistake people who own a few horses and who purchase some land in an undesirable location as lovely.
on August 8, 2001
Ann Rule never disappoints me! This book spans some 20 years, telling the story of how two families came together in a Gone-With-The-Wind marriage that left some family members dead, and others nearly dead or with ruined lives. Usually I can get the gist of the story by reading the captions under the pictures in the middle of the book, but not this one. Pat Allanson's husband is convicted of murdering his parents, but you don't quite know until the end whether he really did it. Pat tries to kill her husband's grandparents, the book takes you through the trial and conviction, but there are still hundreds of pages left to read! Pat Allanson just doesn't know when to quit! You won't believe how she (and her family) treats her daughter, how she thought she could get away with more attempted murders, and how many lives she could ruin. I just wish Susan would have been tested for poison, and I wish her and her children all the best for having the guts it took to do what she did.
on May 1, 2001
If you are intrigued by human behavior and particularly abnormal human behavior, and abnormal machinations of the human psyche, and unreasonable motivations, this book if for you. I could not put it down. I was enthralled by how a human, Pat Taylor, could act so deviantly and so selfishly (and these are understatements!). She is absolutely UNRELENTING in her self-gratification and manipulation. She has no conscience and this is what makes the story so enticing. Her sociopathic manipulations are in a league of their own; and the repercussions of her actions are catastrophic and far reaching and totally destroy two families. Unless you read this book, you can't imagine how bad a human can be. There is also an element of a murder mystery. I couldn't wait till the end to find out the real details of the double murder.
on July 25, 1999
This book was the best true crime book I have ever read! As a women, I was both horrified and haunted by it for a long time. The first Ann Rule book I read was the Ted Bundy story and than moved on to this one. I was absolutely addicted to her work after reading this book. If you want to get totally engrossed in someones psychopathic mind and read a storybook life that turns trajic you will not be able to put this down-read this book. Anne Rule is the best!
on April 24, 2002
This book was completely shocking. I can't believe that so many people stood by and let Pat Taylor ruin their lives.
She is the perfect example of a wacko. Ann Rule does a great job of showing what a fake this woman is. Her oldest daughter should be thankful she has nothing more to do with her family that has so obviously lost touch with reality. Too bad her son doesn't support her and instead chooses to side with his pathetic excuse for a grandmother. The worst thing about this crime is that Pat Taylor isn't in jail for the rest of her sad life. Not Ann's best book, but still a good read.
on December 25, 1997
Ann Rule's "Everything She Ever Wanted" is an in-depth study of a deeply disturbed southern woman. The central person, Pat, is totally amoral. She simply has NO social conscience. Her ablility to present herself as a "lady to the manor born" enables her to insinuate herself into situations wherein she is accepted, even received with great affection and trust.
There are some people, however, who can see through her fascade, and these individuals find themselves in mortal danger. The essence of Pat's ability to carry out her schemes is the fact that even those who see through her, don't realize that she is actually physically dangerous. It is unclear just how many persons perished at her hands, but it is very clear that she was instrumental in the destruction of lives, personal property, and financial resources and stability of her victims.
She was born to a family that thought more of itself than was warranted. She was pampered and indulged to the point that she believed her own wishes were, in fact, the center of the universe, and that everyone should realize that and act accordingly. That people outside the immediate family do not treat her as the "Scarlett O'Hara" she longs to be, incites her to rage. Anyone unfortunate enough to actually love Pat finds themself bound in an endless cycle of rescue and damage control, not to mention, danger.
Manipulation of this magnitude is truly awe inspiring. That one warped individual could cause so much chaos is astounding.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in reading about "gentle crimes". The author presents her material in an easy-to-read and understand format. Her insights and interview methods bring the characters to life for the reader. Her research is deep and inclusive.