Elizabeth Edwards: "I cried and screamed"

New York Daily News gets a leaked copy of "Resilience," the memoir from the onetime presidential candidate's wife

Published April 30, 2009 12:00PM (EDT)

When the John Edwards scandal hit last summer, there were so many nagging questions. Is that really his baby? How long was this going on? Oh, and also: What the eff were you thinking running for president, John Edwards?

 Whether you were outraged by the extramarital bump-and-grind -- or found it to be more sanctimonious claptrap courtesy of the American media -- it was hard not to wonder about Elizabeth, the much-admired wife forced to face down not just terminal cancer but a gale-force scandal. What was she feeling? When did she know? Those answers come (maybe! kind of!) on May 12, with the release of Elizabeth Edwards' memoir, "Resilience." We'll be hearing a lot from Edwards over the coming weeks, starting with her May 11 appearance on "Oprah" and continuing on hot-topic television segments across the dial.

And the buzz starts today: The New York Daily News has nabbed a copy of "Resilience" and offers the first glimpses into the book's revelations. Upon finding out about the affair, for instance, Edwards writes, "I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up."

And she found out about the affair well in advance of the National Enquirer story, days after Edwards announced his presidential candidacy. (Though Edwards "left most of the truth out" at the time, claiming he'd only slipped up once. ) For those of us who believe Edwards' most egregious act was not the placement of his penis but his hubris in pursuing a presidency that could have been so easily undone by scandal, the most incendiary part of the book, as reported here, is that Elizabeth encouraged John not to run. "She had actually wanted him to quit the race to protect the family. … She was afraid of the destructive questions Edwards' affair with videographer Rielle Hunter would raise."

Elizabeth doesn't tackle that thorny paternity question, though she does offer a few cutting words about Rielle Hunter. ("Pathetic," for instance.) But this isn't a book called "Anger" or "Bitterness" or "What the Eff Were You Thinking Running for President?" It's called "Resilience." And so, as the New York Daily News promises, the book struggles with the wounds of the infidelity but is ultimately "laced with a powerful dose of forgiveness." Here's your 100-proof shot for the day:

"I lie in bed, circles under my eyes, my sparse hair sticking in too many directions, and he looks at me as if I am the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. It matters."


By Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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