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Getting It Through My Thick Skull: Why I Stayed, What I Learned, and What Millions of People Involved with Sociopaths Need to Know Hardcover – July 21, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HCI (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757313728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757313721
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #931,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since 1992, when Buttafuoco found herself at the center of a senseless tragedy, her last name has become an easy (and surprisingly long-lived) punchline. While most everyone knows the story of her ex-husband, Joey, his relationship with teenaged Amy Fisher, and Fisher's violent attack on Mary Jo, no one knows the former Mrs. Buttafuoco's side. In this revealing memoir, Buttafuoco examines the sociopathic manipulation perpetrated by her husband, how he kept her tied to him, and how she finally found the strength to leave. Readers looking for a scandalous rehashing of the Joey-Fisher affair will find surprisingly little (it is, after all, a well-covered 17-year-old story), but Buttafuoco bares her soul in a detailed account of her life, from the high school roots of her relationship with Joey to the healthy, rewarding relationship she currently enjoys. Buttafuoco's goal is to alert readers to the dangers of sociopathic personalities, as well as to inspire in them the strength to leave and the patience to heal (a mission only slightly undermined by her admission that she does keep in contact with Joey).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

After a five-year courtship and a twenty-two-year marriage to Joey Buttafuoco, Mary Jo Buttafuoco now lives quietly in Ventura County, California, with her fiancé, Stu, and their "Brady Bunch" blended family. Visit the blog at http://maryjobuttafuoco.hcibooks.com


Julie McCarron is a New York Times bestselling author and celebrity collaborator. Her work includes Tracy Gold's Room to Grow, rocker Gene Simmons's Sex, Money, Kiss, and Why I Love Baseball with Larry King, among others.

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Customer Reviews

Was a surprisingly good read and a book that I could hardly put down.
K. L. Poteet
Here's somebody who survived SO many things and it's inspiring to know that she's found a way to be a happy, healthy, and whole person.
barbidoll31
Mary Jo Buttafuoco may be a famous name, but her story could be anyone's story.
C. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By barbidoll31 on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked his book. It's not a schlocky National Enquireristic piece of junk, it's a thoughtful and inspiring book that I had a hard time putting down.

Here's what was compelling to me... We all look at sensational media coverage of events by looking over the shoulders of reporters and papparazzi. In this book I really got a feel for what's it's like to be the person who's got the camera lens focused on their every move and breath. Mary Jo helped me to feel the violation of that in a very real way. I cannot imagine what it would be like to suffer the trauma of a senseless attack, only to be attacked over and over again by a senseless media circus.

Here's somebody who survived SO many things and it's inspiring to know that she's found a way to be a happy, healthy, and whole person. She's still walking around with a bullet in her head, but seems to have an attitude of optimism and dignity that I don't think I would be able to muster under similar life circumstances. It puts my seemingly "big" problems into perspective.

The most valuable part of this book to the world, I think, is the reference to sociopathic behavior. There is probably a HUGE number of women (and men!) living with sociopaths, completely unaware that the insanity of it isn't NORMAL. It's easy to get lost in that dysfunction, because of the ability of sociopaths to charm their way out of anything. I think it is the same kind of abuse as a spouse beater, without the physical wounds, but much more damaging because it messes with your head so bad.

Bravo to Mary Jo for all that she's lived through and all that she's shared - willingly or unwillingly - on the public stage.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By C. Johnson on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
While I was not a big Fisher/Buttafuoco fan (missed the made-for-TV movies and most of their interviews), of course I was aware of the story--who wasn't? This memoir could have been just another version of that whole debacle, but it was so much more. Not only is it finally a version from the victim herself, but this book is more about Mary Jo figuring out how and where her life fell apart and then reinventing herself. What happened to her could have happened to anyone.

Mary Jo was just an average housewife trying to live an average life, and she ended up as a national joke because of her husband and his teenage lover. Few of us whose lives take a sharp detour have to do so under the microscope of public scrutiny, yet what choice did Mary Jo have? I wonder how many of us would have handled thing any better if we had walked in those same steps? This book dispels so many of the misconceptions I had about her life, and I found myself cheering her as she came to grips with her depression, her substance abuse, and her struggle to reinvent herself. Mary Jo's story is a testament to the power of positive thinking, the ability to be what you dream, and the capacity we all have to mold a better new life once we let go of the toxic ideas that get us nowhere. Mary Jo Buttafuoco may be a famous name, but her story could be anyone's story.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ann Gossy on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I remember the headlines and media attention brought about by the Amy Fisher case. It's refreshing to read a non-sensationalized, genuine personal account from Mary Jo Buttafuoco's perspective. We see how Mary Jo grows emotionally from a naive victim into a strong woman who accepts responsibility for her own mistakes and finds peace and forgiveness in her new life. I was pleasantly surprised by Mary Jo's insightfulness and no-nonsense approach to healing after years of being trapped in a dysfunctional relationship with a sociopath. She is an inspiration to women who suffer in any type of unhealthy relationship.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Brooks on July 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When the shooting occurred there was more publicity about Amy Fisher and Joey than Mary Jo. This book tells her story and is written with honesty. It really brought home how a person's life can change in just a second. Clearly, Mary Jo's life was never the same after the shooting, but she picked herself up and made a new life for herself. I couldn't put the book down. I highly recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Crabby Abby TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Back in the day, before Jon & Kate, there was Amy Fisher (THE LONG ISLAND LOLITA) and her bluberring paramour Joey Buttafuoco. It was hard to not pick up a paper or turn on the tv without hearing about them or Joey's seemingly dopey wife Mary Jo Buttafuoco who managed to get shot by Amy. Of all the characters in this tabloid melodrama, the least flamboyant one Mary Jo seemed oddly forgotten as she almost mindlessly 'stood' by her sleezy philandering big mouthed hubby. Her facial muscles had been affected in the brutal shooting, but a lot of the tv viewing nation was wondering if there wasn't some brain damage as well.
Fast forward several years and multiple publicity stunts featuring bufooning Joey. I saw this book and my initial thought was 'more buttafuco trash'. Amazingly, as the title implies, this book was a revelation of sorts as Mary Jo told her side of the story and described how Joey managed to con her over the years and how she managed to wiggle out of the stranglehold he held her in. Obviously, this was no overnight process and even when Mary Jo had reached the end of the road with Joey, she still hadn't had Joey pegged as a sociopath. Ironically, her son called it like it was and gave Mary Jo the foundation she needed to complete her break from Joey.
What made this memoir work for me was it was easy to relate to. I've known lots of women who have come out of abusive relationships. Often they go on to repeat the pattern. I found myself cheering her on. I realized very smart people can get into lousy relationships. Mary Jo is an inspiration to a lot of women out there because she had the courage and emotional strength to revisit a painful experience and share it with others.
This is an excellent book. It fleshes out the real story and is a good read for the merely curious or anyone who is in a bad relationship. Thumbs up on this one!
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