Here’s another reposted book review. I read and reviewed this book on Epinions.com December 12, 2012. The author, who uses a pseudonym, has become a good Facebook friend of mine. We “met” on RfM some years ago. She’s really witty and funny, although her story is scary and cautionary. I am reposting it as/is.
I guess I should consider myself very lucky. I met my beloved husband of ten years, Bill, on the Internet. We did not meet on a dating site, though. In fact, we started out as casual friends, having first “met” in a chat room based on a mutual interest. Over the course of about three years, our casual internet friendship bloomed into love. I have no regrets over having met my spouse online; though I do know that others haven’t been as lucky as I was.
I just finished reading You Can Smile Now You’re Rid of This A**hole: A Memoir of Abuse and Discovery by Bobbi Botaz (2012). The title of this book, which I downloaded for my Kindle, pretty much says it all. Like me, Bobbi Botaz got friendly with a man she met online. Like me, she met her online boyfriend in person and ended up living with him. Unlike me, she has many regrets for having met “Rick Doubledee” offline and allowing him into her life.
Botaz grew up Mormon, though she was definitely not one of the faith’s most devout followers. She explains her upbringing as the book begins, perhaps shedding some light on why she has had such terrible luck with men. It starts with unsatisfying high school dates, continues with a brief, loveless marriage that produces her son, Eric, and ends with Rick, the so-called “thing that wouldn’t leave”. After a flowery and romantic online courtship, Rick moves from Pittsburgh to “Goldeneye”, a pseudonym for the Colorado town where Botaz was living in the late 1990s. From the get go, it’s pretty clear that he’s not the man Botaz thought he was as he shows up in a beater of a car, stuffed to the gills with his worldly possessions. Botaz and her son are both immediately repulsed by Rick’s slovenly appearance; yet incredibly, she lets him move in with her, where he lives and freeloads for the next two years.
I was astonished as I read about the things Botaz and her son put up with when Rick was living with them. He was chronically unemployed and always had an excuse as to why he couldn’t support himself. He claimed to be sick, yet had no issues eating Botaz out of house and home or smoking cigarettes. Rick was a very “talented” con man. Despite the fact that Botaz didn’t particularly enjoy her loser house guest’s company, she continued to let Rick live with her as she financially supported him, even when it became clear that he was dabbling in some risky behaviors that could have put Botaz and her son in grave danger. As time went on, Botaz realized that not only had she put herself at tremendous risk, she had also put Eric at risk by letting Rick live there.
As I read this account, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that something like this would never happen to me. And yet, I have to wonder if maybe I could have been victimized as Botaz was. Thankfully, she does eventually find the courage to give him the boot. As he leaves her life, he says “You can smile now. You’re rid of this a**hole”, gifting Botaz with the perfect title for her book about their miserable life together. Unfortunately, his butt prints were still left in her sofa long after he’d gone.
Full disclosure here. I have interacted with the author of this book on the Recovery from Mormonism Web site and Facebook. I think that gives me a bit more insight into her story than others might get just from reading You Can Smile Now. Botaz has a wry sense of humor that comes through in her writing. While I couldn’t help shaking my head in dismay as I read about how she allowed Rick to take over her life, I also felt relief that she and her son survived the ordeal. Maybe Botaz wasn’t the most street smart Internet user in the world back in the late 1990s, but she did at least learn from her mistakes and is willing to share her experiences. She also takes responsibility for her choices, which I think is very refreshing. A lot of people would simply blame Rick for being an a**hole, but Botaz seems very cognizant of her part in this fiasco. And again, she’s learned from her mistakes and seems determined to be smarter in the future.
I think Bobbi Botaz has guts to put this story out there for the world, since I expect some readers will judge her. But if her story serves as a warning for just one person– male or female– I think it will have been well worth the effort to read it.
I recommend this book to anyone who has ever been tempted by an Internet romance and needs a cautionary tale. I also recommend this book to people who like true stories about real people.
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