The New York Times bestselling memoir of abusive love - available everywhere
26 stay-at-home and career moms face off on their choices, their lives, and their families.
Leslie Morgan Steiner




The first attack was five days before our wedding.

For advice and support, call or visit the following free, anonymous

•National Domestic Violence Hotline -- 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) TTY 1.800.787.3224
•National Sexual Assault Hotline -- 1.800.656. HOPE (4673)
•Family Violence Prevention Fund -- 1.888.RX.ABUSE
•National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline -- 1.866.331.9474 TTY 1.866.331.8453
•Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline -- 1.800.4.A.CHILD
•Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender National Help Center -- 1.888.843.4564
•National Center for Victims of Crime/​Stalking Resource Center 1.800.394.2255 TTY 1.800.211.7996
•National Center on Elder Abuse -- 1.800.677.1116
•Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Custody 1.800.527.3223
•National Network to End Domestic Violence

Crazy Love UK edition, June 2009

Lifetime Television Movie
New York Times Bestseller
People Magazine 3+ Stars


If you and I met at one of our children's birthday parties, in the hallway at work, or at a neighbor's barbecue, you'd never guess my secret: that as a young woman I fell in love with and married a man who beat me regularly and nearly killed me.

I don’t look the part. I have an MBA and an undergraduate degree from Ivy League schools. I live in a red brick house on a tree-lined street in one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Washington, DC. I’ve got 15 years of marketing experience at Fortune 500 companies and a best-selling book about motherhood to my name. A smart, loyal husband with a sexy gap in his front teeth, a softie who puts out food for the stray kittens in our alley. Three rambunctious, well-loved children. A dog and three cats of our own. Everyone in my family is blonde (the people, at least).

Ah, if only being well-educated and blonde and coming from a good family were enough to defang all life’s demons.

If I were brave enough the first time I met you, I'd try to share what torture it is to fall in love with a good man who cannot leave a violent past behind. I’d tell you why I stayed for years, and how I finally confronted someone whose love I valued almost more than my own life. Then maybe the next time you came across a woman in an abusive relationship, instead of asking why anyone stays with a man who beats her, you’d have the empathy and courage to help her on her way.

We all have secrets we don't reveal the first time we cross paths with others. This is mine.

Praise for Crazy Love

“In this gripping, compulsively readable story of romantic love and its dreadful underside, Leslie Morgan Steiner has written a classic. What makes love turn to violence? How can a woman know she is at risk? These are some of the questions elegantly addressed in Steiner’s important book about how she survived a marriage which almost killed her. Her painful journey from love to fear to sanity is ultimately heartening and serves a profound lesson. This book should be required reading for all women.”

-- Susan Cheever

“Crazy Love reminds us that sometimes a marriage can go from being a mere skirmish in the battle of the sexes to becoming a full-on physical war. The book stands as a warning to all women to be vigilant when they pick their spouses, to always have an exit strategy in mind, to know where the money in the marriage is, to pick up as much education as possible – all for the possible day when they may find themselves battered, broke, terrified and alone. It can happen to anyone, and every woman should prepare herself for it.”

-- Carolyn See, Making a Literary Life

"A harrowing cautionary tale that should be read by every woman who thinks romantic love can overcome all. I read this book in one terrifying gulp and plan to have my daughter read it. Every mother should do the same.”

-- Elsa Walsh, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of Divided Lives

“After a few moments of disbelief—how could a nice girl from a nice family marry such a cruel and dangerous man?—I found myself cheering for this woman who gets off the floor—literally—and goes on to save her own life. Crazy Love is a deeply affecting account of cruelty and abuse in a marriage doomed from the start. It is a reminder that while bad behavior can be explained it can never be excused, and that while placing blame is rarely useful, letting go is. Leslie Morgan Steiner’s candor is wrenching and ultimately inspiring.”

-- Jane Juska, author of Unaccompanied Women and A Round-Heeled Woman

“I couldn't put it down. It's a must-read for anyone who has been there or knows someone who has -- or just wonders how emotional and physical abuse happens. Most importantly, Leslie's own life offers living, breathing proof that women can not only break these destructive bonds, but move on to build successful marriages, families and careers.

--Dee Dee Myers, author of Why Women Should Rule the World

Random House
March 2006

With motherhood comes one of the toughest decisions of a woman's life: stay home or pursue a career? As an executive at the Washington Post and a mother of three, Leslie Morgan Steiner has lived and breathed every side of the mommy wars. Rather than just watch the battles rage, she decided to do something about it. She asked 26 outspoken mothers to write about their lives and the choices that have worked for them. The result is a frank, surprising, utterly refreshing look at American motherhood. Mommy Wars is a book by and for and about the real experts on motherhood and hard work: the women at home, in the office, on the job every day of their lives.

Praise for Mommy Wars
“Ever wondered why women waste so much energy judging other women? Here is a collection of terrific essays, full of distilled female wisdom, that tell it like it is. I can’t think of a mother who wouldn’t enjoy this book.”

-- Allison Pearson, author of I Don't Know How She Does It

"Mommy Wars puts real women's voices to animate what is often a frenzied but ill-informed debate -- thus bringing the texture, warmth, hope and angst of real mommies -- and real wars -- to the table. Challenging and refreshing!'

-- Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, Misconceptions and The Treehouse

"Mommy Wars is a riveting page turner that brings into sharp focus the issues which tear apart all mothers today. If you read any new book this season, let it be this one."

--Esther Wachs Book, author of Why the Best Man for the Job is a Woman

Table of Contents

"Our Inner Catfight" by Leslie Morgan Steiner
"Neither Here Nor There" by Sandy Hingston
"Baby Battle" by Susan Cheever
"Sharks & Jets" by Page Evans
"The Mother Load" by Terri Minsky
"Guilty" by Dawn Drzal
"The Donna Reed Syndrome" by Lonnae O’Neal Parker
"Mother Superior" by Catherine Clifford
"Good Enough" by Beth Brophy
"Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn" by Lois R. Shea
"What Goes Unsaid" by Sydney Trent
"I Hate Everybody" by Leslie Lehr
"Before; After" by Molly Jong-Fast
"I Do Know How She Does" It by Ann Misiaszek Sarnoff
"Red Boots and Cole Haans" by Monica Buckley Price
"Working Mother, Not Guilty" by Sara Nelson
"Feminism Meets the Free Market" by Jane Smiley
"Happy" by Anne Marie Feld
"I Never Dreamed I’d Have So Many Children" by Lila Leff
"On Being A Radical Feminist Stay-at-Home Mom" by Inda Schaenen
"Being There" by Reshma Memon Yaqub
"Russian Dolls" by Veronica Chambers
"Peace & Carrots" by Carolyn Hax
"Unprotected" by Natalie Smith Parra
"Julia" by Anna Fels
"On Balance" by Jane Juska
"My Baby's Shoes Are Size Thirteen" by Iris Krasnow
"Ending the Mommy Wars" by Leslie Morgan Steiner

Interviews & Opinions

Find Authors