By | June 15, 2010 7 Comments

Love Fraud is a new classic on sociopathy

By Steve Becker, LCSW

Steve Becker, LCSW, profile on the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide.

In Love Fraud: How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan, Donna Andersen has written the most compelling nonfiction account of a relationship with a sociopath I’ve ever come across.

In her Introduction, Andersen is careful to assert as “opinion,” rather than fact, that her ex-husband, James Montgomery—her central, but by no means only—subject in the book, is a sociopath. From my careful reading of Love Fraud, I’d suggest no such qualification is needed: Montgomery seems to me to embody the classic sociopath perfectly.

This book is many things: it is, first of all, a flat-out “page-turner,” meaning it will grip you, from its opening pages, like an inflating blood pressure cuff. Nor, at any point along the way, will it release its grip. Love Fraud’s suspense builds steadily and relentlessly, generating and sustaining an almost visceral tension.

Of course, this is a work of non-fiction, in which everything Andersen writes about is painfully true. And so, thanks to her prodigious reportorial skills, it triumphs as a journalistic masterpiece. In pitch-perfect detail, Andersen unmasks Montgomery the sociopath, unpeeling for the reader his infinitely exploitive nature, layer by layer, as if in real-time.

What results is an epic, cohesively structured story, the power of whose sum is even greater than its impressive constituent parts.

But I said this book is many things. It is, at once, painful and beautiful. Montgomery, after all, caused Andersen and others incalculable anguish. And Andersen shares in Love Fraud, and shares it with profoundly intimate vulnerability, both the quality and depth of her anguish. Thus, while she’s unmasking Montgomery and probing the depths of his sinister treachery—simultaneously, and just as unsparingly, she’s unmasking herself to reveal the depths of her insecurity, sorrow, vulnerability, despair and ultimately, unbreakable faith and resilience.

I must stress—the writing is so vivid and lush with detail that I had the sensation of having been invited into a real-time world with a real-life sociopath, the effect of which was to leave me with a sense of having had a powerful virtual-reality experience. Which is to say that Andersen’s Love Fraud isn’t merely a remarkable read, but a uniquely powerful reading experience.

I also said the book is beautiful, by which I mean that Andersen’s testimony of her struggles, self-discovery, and recovery from this ruinous human being is, finally, transcendent and inspirational.

In the end, she and Montgomery take their rightful places: Andersen, tapping into deep spiritual resources and propelled by hard-earned self-growth, elevates herself and thrives; while Montgomery, thanks in large part to Andersen, is permanently exposed as the sociopathic predator and parasite that he is. For all his heartless, damaging deceipt, Montgomery is properly understood, and finally positioned, as the puny, pathetic human being he is.

Love Fraud is a searing book, full of outrage, hope and priceless wisdom. It is the rare book that succeeds on so many levels, simultaneously, that I suspect it will deserve to be called truly unforgettable. I suggest you make room for it on your select shelf of classics on the subject of sociopathy.

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Wow – thanks so much for your glowing review. My goal was to capture people with the story, and hope that they absorb the lessons as well. I hope I don’t have to hand out blood pressure cuffs.


Donna- just read chapter 9…it’s compelling, it captures the sickening dawning realisation so bravely!!! when I finished the chapter it left me with feeling..I HAVE to read this book as you are carrying me through the hideous reality of not only your experience but my own too, and through your story I have faith I will be lead to safety. Blessings,appreciation and love
Steve, agree with the rave review even though I have just read a portion, need the whole experience now..thanks.


Donna, I’ve ordered your book and I can’t wait to get it! Thank you so much for sharing your story and recovery, I am sure there is much for me to learn from reading your book, really looking forward to it.


Donna, I couldn’t put your book down! I finished it today, and I have to say that all young adults today NEED to read your story! I have three teenage daughters and I have shared my knowledge about “sociopaths” with them, so that they are wise to people that they will encounter in life. I was involved with a man SO similar to your Xhusband, when I was in my early twenties. He called me “Mousie” also…which is significant to the cat and mouse game that these monsters play! Ten years later, I married
and had three children with another classic “sociopath”. I divorced him after eight years of lies and cons. I planned on writing a book about the abuse I lived through, but never found the time while raising my children! I’m so glad that someone got it “out there” for others to learn by!
I always say that out of everything bad, comes something good! Your website has been a lifesaver for so many people!
Thank you for sharing your story!


I hope that your daughters really learn that these predators are out there, and learn how to avoid them.

One of the efforts that Lovefraud will be undertaking soon is developing a program to present in high school. That’s the time to teach young people about these predators – before they get their lives trampled on. I think it’s an area where Lovefraud can really make a difference.


I would like to present a program to young girls in high school. Are you developing this for around the country or just in your area? Do you have any more information about that? Thanks

We are developing a pilot program locally (New Jersey) but it will eventually be available around the country.

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