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The Confession Hardcover – September 19, 2006

64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The New Jersey governor whose resignation made headlines in 2004 delivers a gripping, compelling memoir that offers much more than insight into the pain of being a closeted gay man for more than four decades. Listeners seeking juicy sex-life details will not be disappointed, but this memoir is as much a lesson on authenticity in politics as in sexuality. McGreevey, who is just as candid about New Jersey's politics ("New Jersey leads the nation for mayors in prison"), does a masterful job of weaving a richly detailed chronicle of his own political career with tales of his home and sex lives. McGreevey's narration is relaxed enough for his Joisey accent to sneak out along with spontaneous chuckles, and impassioned when re-enacting speeches or conversations. His passion is clear at every turn: detailing his professional and political accomplishments; offering colorful, vivid descriptions of his mentors; and naming friends and colleagues he lost on September 11. The final three discs, covering his relationship with Golan Cipel, his postresignation depression and entry into rehab, are riveting. This is an important memoir that is sure to resonate mightily with listeners.
Copyright© American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“An astonishingly candid memoir...brave and powerful.” (Newsweek)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 353 pages
  • Publisher: Regan; 1st edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060898623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060898625
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,714,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Barbara R. Iverson on September 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I'm half way through "The Confession," and I'm sure I will finish it. Indeed, it's well written. And it certainly offers an inside look at what it's like to grow up as a gay person and to feel the need to hide who you really are. It's painful reading at times.

One cannot help but to feel for James McGreevey and to sympathize with how society has made it unbearable for people like him to be honest with their families, their employers, their friends, their colleagues and themselves. But by having this book be all about him, McGreevey so inadequately addresses the feelings of Dina, the wife he left behind.

In my view, McGreevey has done a real disservice to the thousands and thousands of women who learn their husbands are gay. What about Dina's feelings in all this? She's the one who will ultimately have to deal with McGreevey's coming out for the rest of her life.

I know this firsthand. My wonderful ex-husband of 17 years came out in January 1996 when our two kids were 15 and 13. He, like McGreevey, had been married twice -- once to his high school sweetheart, with whom he also had a child, and then to me. While I have always felt my ex-husband's pain and certainly recognize and abhor the discrimination that gays still experience, I can say with all candor that it's the "surviving straight spouse" who is ultimately left to pick up the pieces -- and often times in total isolation. After all, the gay man who comes out is warmly welcomed by the gay community from Day 1. But his wife has few with whom to turn.

I remember being shocked, sad beyond words, embarrassed and in total disbelief. My life and the lives of our children were turned upside down overnight. My entire belief system was shaken.
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118 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Mark T. Zeigler on September 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I think folks are missing the point of the book in many respects. It is not psycho-babble, nor is he trying to explain away political transgressions. He is being completely honest for the first time in his life. If you read the whole book it is very clear why he made the decisions he did. Unless you have lived what he went through, spending your formative years being told you were abomination and mentally ill, and watching a society allow hateful behavior toward gays in all of its institutions, you cannot understand why he chose to try to conform to what is considered normal behavior. This story is not unique to McGreevy; literally thousands of men and women are living the story in this book every day. I find his words inspiring, honest, and candid. This issue is not going away, folks. Many of you are going to find out you have gay sons and daughters. Then you will understand the McGreevy story. As the son of a Baptist minister, McGreevy's story is mine. I praise him for having the courage to write it and I thank those of you who bash it, because then more people will buy it and get it out there. It is a very important book.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful By V. Glickstein on May 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Absolutely amazing that this person can create excuses for all his behavior. He had one goal in life - to get to the Presidency - and everything he did was to advance that goal including marrying Dina his 2nd wife. This woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got enmeshed in the web of lies and avarice that ruled McGreevey's life. How incredible that everybody else is the cause of what he did - no responsibility from him, no true apology to his wife for what he did. He robbed his wife of the ability to trust anybody else and left his daughter with the legacy of her father's lies and continued hypocrisy. His sexuality has nothing to do with the morally corrupt person he is. He continues to lie and try to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of the public - remember this is what he has done over and over! Don't fall into the trap of believing any of his explanations; you may want to believe in the goodness of people but this man has no redeeming values at all. I am sorry that Oprah ever had him on her show - he was great theater at that time- but he is such a manipulator. This is so sad for Dina's daughter but also for his older daughter who is of an age to understand what has gone on.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Michael T. Rognlien VINE VOICE on September 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I am no political expert, and had never heard of Jim McGreevey before I happened to be in NYC on vacation when his "Gay American" scandal broke, I remember thinking at the time that his was a story of another politician falling from grace in a magnificent spectacle that had little or nothing to do with government or governing.

But 2 years later, having just finished the book (note to some reviewers: reading a book is a good step to take before reviewing it) it was, for me, a powerful lesson in a number of ways, many of which might have been unintended.

First and foremost, it was a brutal reminder of how hypocritical and utterly ridiculous Western society has become with regards to politicians and politics in general. Elections and subsequent terms have seemingly little to do with doing the work of the general population; elections have become excruciating exposes focusing on things that have little if anything to do with governing or policymaking, fueled by a lethal combination of our own complacence/apathy and our increased hunger for information about things that are absolutely none of our business nor of any import. And, once elected, the work of the elected is less about doing good for the people than it is about paying back all of the devils they had to sell their souls to in order to get elected. We, the public, are guilty for allowing - and, by our voracious appetite for the salacious and scandalous, encouraging - this unhealthy and ultimately counterproductive weakening of the government that is supposed to serve us. Jim McGreevey's homosexuality was only political because we've allowed it to become such.
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