After Perfect: A Daughter's Memoir
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A “searing memoir of loss and redemption” (People) that “exposes the side of The Wolf of Wall Street we didn’t get to see” (Metro), After Perfect is a cautionary tale about one family’s destruction in the wake of the Wall Street implosion.
Selected as one of the year’s “Fifteen Books You Need to Read” by the Village Voice, Christina McDowell’s unflinching memoir is “a tale of the American Dream upended.” Growing up in an affluent Washington, DC, suburb, Christina and her sisters were surrounded by the elite: summering on Nantucket Island, speeding down Capitol Hill’s rich back roads, flying in their father’s private plane. Their life of luxury was brutally stripped away after the FBI arrested Tom Prousalis on fraud charges. When he took a plea deal as he faced the notorious Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort’s testifying against him, the cars, homes, jewelry, clothes, and friends that defined the family disappeared before their eyes, including the one thing they could never get back: each other.
Christina writes with candid clarity about the dark years that followed and the devastation her father’s crimes wrought upon her family: the debt accumulated under her identity; her mother’s breakdown; her own spiral into addiction and promiscuity; and the delusion that enveloped them all. She shines a remarkable, uncomfortable light on a family’s disintegration and takes a searing look at a controversial financial time and also at herself, a child whose “normal” belonged only to the one percent. A rare, insider’s perspective on the collateral damage of a fall from grace, After Perfect is a poignant reflection on the astounding pace at which a life can change and how blind we can be to the ugly truth.
were sweating and laughing, and he came and I came, relieving me from all of my memory as though each hole in me now was just a blip in time. Suddenly a loud bang jolted us. “What was that?” I whispered. “It sounded like a door slamming.” Josh reached for his boxer shorts. “Shit, shit, shit!” I grabbed my scattered clothes, getting dressed as fast as possible, using our cell phones as light. “If we get arrested, it’s all your fault,” Josh grumbled. “What is your problem?” “I’m just saying.
my edits and notes . . . send me four copies of each edited Certificate of Incorporation. You’ll also need to find the ‘cover letter’ or ‘Delaware cover letter.’ Edit the letter as I’ve indicated . . . Oops, I almost forgot, also, send me a copy of the ‘Business Advisory Agreement’ . . . P.S. In case you didn’t know, ‘MCC Trust’ represents the first initials of you and your sisters . . . With a little luck, I’ll soon be flying you and Josh to Aspen for lunch! . . . XOXO Dad.” I couldn’t remember
prison?” I stared at my uneaten, now cold and soggy brussels sprouts. “Bread and water, Bambina. Now eat your brussels sprouts.” “Every day?” “Every day,” he said. “Now finish your dinner.” His voice was stern. The memory was visceral as I stood in front of the mailbox in the lobby of our apartment building. Children always know things. It was three in the morning. A wad of uncounted cash bulged from my black knee-high boot, and a new run in my stocking that climbed up toward my thigh let the
saving grace, I said to myself. I’m gonna sell that goddamn Birkin bag. I had fifty cents in my bank account, was driving around in a bank-owned black BMW with a lien against it, carrying a Hermès Birkin bag worth $20,000 and looking like an asshole. Mara had mentioned that her boss’s wife owned an eBay consignment business that sold high-end clothing, shoes, purses, and other women’s accessories. When I told Mara I wanted to sell the bag, she said she’d look into it for me. After she got back
we used to do on days when I played hooky in elementary school, and she would take me to the McLean Family Restaurant just to talk, like grown-ups do. When I told her what I had discovered about Dad, she asked warily, “How did you find all of this out?” She asked it as though she were guilty of something; as though I were talking about her. “I went to the federal courthouse and went through his records,” I said. “It was easy.” With the look of guilt written across her face, my mother told me