- File Size: 3221 KB
- Print Length: 348 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1312484357
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Lulu; First edition (October 30, 2014)
- Publication Date: October 30, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00P1W6NBW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,394,927 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$16.99|
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Lonely Heart Meets Charming Sociopath: A True Story About the Dark Side of Internet Dating. Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Despite some rather glaring red flags early on (Lanny freely admits that he is charming other women online too; he plans a trip to come see Wanda, then backs out at the last second, claiming he's broke), the author is already hooked and forges ahead with her dreams of marrying this Prince Charming whom she's never met, despite the warnings of friends and family. Wanda is so sheltered and her expectations so low that even after Lanny admits he's been married five times and verbally abused his exes, she's - and I quote - "thrilled to hear he's not a wife beater." (!!)
The book then goes the way you'd expect - Lanny asks her to marry him on their first visit, and soon he's ensconced in her house resting upon 40 acres of land. (Despite trying to deflect a potential gold digger by telling him she has no money, she also freely offers up that she owns plenty of property).
The book is a rather fascinating reveal of how a smooth talker like Lanny operates as Wanda verbatim quotes their long email exchanges. She has no knowledge of the first step in the sociopath arsenal, “love bombing,” and, like most women, has been socialized to believe that Prince Charming comes with a barrel of flowery compliments. Married for decades to a decent man, she just has no idea that guys like Lanny exist. (And men like Lanny tend to target widows or divorcees for that exact reason.)
Her fantasy is punctured on their honeymoon when Prince Charming drops the mask and shows her who he really is with a stream of invective, cuss words, and threats. This shock to the system ushers in the next year, wherein Lanny alternates like clockwork between “tender, romantic” Lanny and “evil sociopath” Lanny. Repeatedly he tells Wanda he has “something wrong with his brain” and that’s the most honest thing he ever says.
Wanda, a devoted Christian, is attached to the idea that marriage is forever and endures the escalating verbal and emotional abuse for as long as she can before Lanny finally gets physical with her and her son comes to the rescue with a gun.
As interesting as the book can be at times, the author is not a professional, and like most self published authors, Wanda has yet to figure out what serves the story and what doesn’t, so she includes everything - there are pages devoted to meals, shopping, what’s on TV, etc. In fact, I think I heard more about what she and Lanny had for dinner every night than I did about his mental condition. There are long passages of dialogue passages of dialogue that do nothing to move the story along.
That said, it was good to see how a woman in her later years “woke up” from her Prince Charming fantasies and fairly quickly enlightened herself as to the real happiness of peace and serenity without a man, and then chose to tackle a memoir in hopes of warning other women.
But this memoir reads much more like a novel than a therapist's notes. Her talent for dialogue keeps the pace moving rapidly and establishes the voices of the major characters so that we care about them. You may want to scream warnings to the "lonely heart" main character, as the warning signs of the sociopath loom ever larger. But unless you yourself have gone through the pain of divorce and widowhood, you can't know if you would act differently. After reading this book, however, all women have spiritual and psychological resources that Wanda Maxey skillfully provides.
As a Christian, I found the sociopath's manipulation of the author's deep desire for a Christian partner to be among the most reprehensible aspects of his seduction and abuse. Using Christian language, he covered up a multitude of sins and laid traps that depended on the author's strong desire to love and forgive, using her faith against her.
The book is as helpful as a textbook, as easy to read as a novel, and as real as the reader's own life. The author uses suspense, symbolism, and even humor quite skillfully.
Spend the few dollars to buy this book! It may be the best insurance against one kind of heartbreak you can buy.
Very disappointed that I had purchased this book, only to discover I had read it by a different title (Love & Abuse on 40 Acres").
Why do people do this? To sell more books? This author has no credibility in my book.