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What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me Hardcover – June 22, 2012


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What Really Happened: John Edwards, Our Daughter, and Me + The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down + Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: BenBella Books; 1 edition (June 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937856402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937856403
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (229 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rielle Hunter has been writing since 1993. She has studied meditation, yoga, and Eastern philosophies. What Really Happened is Hunter's first book. She has one daughter, Frances Quinn.

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Customer Reviews

I really hope she makes no money off this book.
Carolyn Hamer
It seems like the redemption to be found in this story is for John Edwards to be the kind of father to all of this children that Elizabeth would have hoped for.
B. Cotter
Not sure why Rielle thought she could write a book, it was written very poorly.
nebraska chick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

462 of 478 people found the following review helpful By Todd Bartholomew TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was a bit queasy when "What Really Happened" came to me for review. Having read Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime I felt I'd heard probably the most objective word about Rielle Hunter you're likely to get, but then again most of the comments reported there came from John Edwards staffers who clearly had an axe to grind against Hunter. I certainly tried to approach "What Really Happened" with an open mind, realizing that there are two sides, and sometimes more, to every story. That said, there is a certain self-serving quality to Hunter's book that not only lacks balance, but which shows her own naiveté and character flaws for all to see. Hunter does make some valid points about the Edwards's marriage and Elizabeth Edwards in particular, but the difficulty is sorting the wheat from the chaff. Undoubtedly Elizabeth Edwards was profoundly shattered by the early death of their child and her subsequent health scares, but can you really blame her for detesting Hunter and fighting to save her marriage? Hunter's depiction of how she came to meet John Edwards and how their relationship unfolded is particularly disturbing in her profound lack of self-awareness and how her behavior impacted those around her and the Edwards campaign. Her prose here fairly screams of self-absorbsion and narcissism. In that respect it's no wonder she was drawn to John Edwards as they're truly two peas in a pod. The intimacy between them and their burgeoning relationship feels a bit gratuitous, falling into the category of over-sharing, something that really could describe the whole book.Read more ›
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113 of 117 people found the following review helpful By Patricia D. Brown on June 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Why do I say that? If it weren't for Rielle Hunter, we citizens of America may have ended up with John Edwards in high public office, if not the presidency, perhaps a senior role in the administration. What we learn in this book is that John Edwards is a man whose personal maturity was stunted at the age of about 17, a serial liar, and someone who spends 4 hours a day on the phone with his mistress instead of reading public policy papers as he runs for the presidency. So, Rielle helped sweep him from the stage of American political life. The two teenage narcissists, Rielle and John, clearly deserve each other (although the latest in the soap opera is "they've broken up"). The picture that emerges of Rielle from her own book is a middle-aged woman with zero professional accomplishments (what a role model for Quinn), the maturity of a teenage girl, who takes large sums of money from other people because she is broke. So many pages of the book are spent relating how she went from city to city, hotel to hotel, meal to meal, friend to friend. It's a life that those of us who really work for a living and who have healthy family relationships wouldn't recognize. We've all known a friend like Rielle, who seems to revel in the high drama that she creates in her life, all the while earnestly protesting "this isn't what I want".

What's amazing is this: Despite all of the revelations in the book about Elizabeth Edwards and even if you believe most of them are likely an accurate characterization, I would much rather spend a day with Elizabeth than Rielle.
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158 of 167 people found the following review helpful By Mary Jane on June 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I went into this book with an open mind. I was determined not judge her, even after seeing her dismal 20/20 interview. Maybe the book would be better than her interview. Clearly, there must be more to her actions than just "love" for Johnny. I was prepared for Ms. Hunter's side of the story. What I got were a bunch of justifications for actions Ms. Hunter never seems to be willing to take responsibility. "Love" is her justification for ever action she takes. While I don't dismiss the power of her love for John Edwards, it's difficult to view Rielle as a woman who was simply madly in love opposed to an opportunistic home wrecker when she continually blames those around her. If Rielle was hoping to rehabilitate her image in the public she has failed miserably.
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189 of 208 people found the following review helpful By paoniabees VINE VOICE on June 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Just finished kindle book - I wanted to take a shower after reading it. Chock full of self-absorbed, self-righteous, angry, greedy, selfish, amoral, meglomaniacs with a hefty dose of self-serving pop-psychology. No wonder our political system is in the toilet. Sorry I spent the money.
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147 of 161 people found the following review helpful By B. Cotter on June 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has the ring of truth but not of compassion. John Edwards, and not Rielle Hunter, had the commitment to Elizabeth Edwards and caused so much pain to her in the last years of her life. And, I can understand Rielle Hunter wanting to set the story straight from her perspective (although I think the story told was reasonably well known and understood before this book). Unfortunately, a primary thread of this book is directed at Elizabeth Edwards in an extremely unkind way that lacks all insight and compassion. Whether or not the Edwards had an authentic or positive marriage before Edwards' relationship with Rielle Hunter, coping with your husband's affair in a high pressure environment with the eyes of the world on you with small children still at home would cause anyone untold stress and, undoubtedly, anger. Having terminal cancer and facing all of this then is unimaginable. John Edwards did not simply commit the all too common sin of having an affair as an escape valve for an unhappy marriage. He put his wife of thirty years through untold torture, while she was dying, in pursuit of an attraction.

Yes, Elizabeth Edwards was undoubtedly not a saint and Rielle Hunter is not Satan. But she certainly lacks both compassion and discretion. Nonetheless, what is done is done. And the most important folks in this story (and I think Elizabeth Edwards would agree) are the children who must find some solid ground and move forward in a loving way. It seems like the redemption to be found in this story is for John Edwards to be the kind of father to all of this children that Elizabeth would have hoped for. Part of that is ensuring that Elizabeth's children have the view of their mother that they deserve to have.
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