Poisoned Love by Melanie Cane

Date of Publication: 2008, Bascom Hill Publishing Group

Number of Pages: 395

Synopsis (from back cover): In 1993, Jimmy Breslin wrote a front page story for New York Newsday, about Melanie Cane, a troubled young psychiatrist who “let love take her too far.” Fifteen years later, Melanie tells her side of the story in Poisoned Love, a heartbreaking and staggering account of her spiral into the depths of mental illness and what she did under the guise of love.

With extraordinary courage, Melanie provides intimate access to the thoughts and feelings leading to her desperate act, as well as an unvarnished account of her subsequent psychiatric treatment and the legal and social consequences of her crime.

Melanie’s steady progress toward recovery involves an emerging understanding of the relationship between her various diagnoses and her attachment to an abusive mentally ill father.

Her story teaches people about survival and success in the face of severe mental illness.

Review: I received this book only a few days ago, courtesy of a very nice woman at Bascom Hill Publishing Group. I had known the gist of the story (woman goes crazy, poisons her ex, gets committed, gets better), but I was unprepared for how intimate and tragic the telling of that story was going to be. Suffering from depression myself, I am unfortunately aware of the difficulties of living with a mental illness, but the heartrending pain that Melanie suffered as her rationality crumbled around her is far beyond anything like a run-of-the-mill mental illness. She had everything stacked against her: a severely mentally ill and abusive father, a resentful and angry mother, and an emotionally immature and abusive boyfriend. The rapidity and the extent of her recovery is staggering. She came out of her experience a better and more well-adjusted person than she had been before her breakdown. To those that would judge her (and have judged her), I would ask this: how would you have coped with the immense betrayal, pain, and abuse that Melanie went through? To retreat from reality seemed to be the only thing her mind would allow her to do.

At times, the writing does seem a bit amateurish, and at times the author’s descriptions of her illness and conversations with her doctors struck me as something from a psychiatry textbook…but then again, how else does a medical doctor explain her illness? The flow of the story also seemed stilted to me. Details were left out and referred to later as something that the reader should have known, and memory flashbacks were sometimes inserted into the story at awkward times. But all in all, this book is an engaging read, as Melanie allows her readers a most intimate glimpse into her pain and crumbling sanity. I would recommend this to everyone, as everyone can benefit from getting to know this highly intelligent and courageous woman.

Rating: 9/10

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3 comments

  1. Well, hard to actually convey to you all what I think, though, what Melanie
    “Told” her cousin Eddie, towards the end of the book, sums it up, “Its not written that
    well and who would want to read it”, is, about the ONLY “Truth” I found here….. Funny, how two people can go through the same experience, but come away with completely different recollections of those events. I realize, that the book is about Melanie, but since Im the real-life “Scott”, I thought I had to clarify a few things. Melanies memories of the events and at least, my role and cast, of the four years that I was with her, at a very crucial time in her life, were disingenuous, distorted, and filled with outright lies. So, if someone that, was that close to her, is portrayed as I was, how “Honest, courageous and unvarnished”, was the rest of her account??!! I am mentioned, numerous times throughout the book, but, portrayed, at best, as, a ” Burly gang member, that sold drugs, was violent towards women, screwed up his life, spiraled into depression, had no social life, was becoming paranoid about her traitorous relationship with my ex, caused her to become so fearful, that she moved out of the house, that I was so desperate after she left, that I proposed to marry her, but when rebuffed, started stalking her and eventually had to be restrained by a police order and, even after moving to Canada, continued threatening…But now, were friends!!LOL!!……,This is the BEST piece of fiction, that I read in a long time..Talking about selective memory, timeline and utter falsification of events, is, to put it mildly, outrageous. After reading her memories of those years, what struck me most, besides the character assassination of myself, was the fact, that she completely ignored, disavowed and never acknowledged, my continued love and support for her, how pivotal my boys were, in helping her, with your rehabilitation and, the sad fact was, that she never really loved me, as I did her. Absolutely no mention of feelings, affinity, emotions or empathy, towards my sons or myself..And, I think, what got her into this mess from the beginning, still resounds till this day, her complete lack of compassion and shame, to see beyond her own selfish needs, which in turn, reflects in what she did and what she wrote.. Nice touch, using Eddie Z’L and their tragedy, to sell this warped story…I could go on, but, whats done is done….Though, finding out how many “Conquests” she had, was surprising….Actually very sad…

  2. Melanie’s account misses the point and is summed up in one of the final lines. Dr. Langer states that she still has little remorse.
    You see this woman is a sociopath- she tried to poison someone then blames everyone; her dad, her mom, her victim, everyone but the real problem- herself.
    Sociopaths have no ability to accept responsibility for their actions and her book amounts to one long cop out for unacceptable criminal behavior.
    This girl is far from recovered and probably never will be.

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