Laurie Sandell

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Laurie Sandell
Born 1971
Occupation writer

Laurie Sandell is an American author.[1] She had been a working journalist for over a decade before she published the first of her two books.

Her first book is a graphic memoir entitled The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir, that describes how, as she grew older, she realized her father was a fabulist, and stories she had taken at face value simply weren't credible.[2][3][4]

She started her second book, Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family, after Catherine Hooper, the fiancée of Bernie Madoff's son Andrew Madoff, introduced herself at a book signing.[4] They became friends, and she asked her publisher to help Hooper prepare a book on disaster planning. Her publisher, instead, encouraged her to write a profile of the family.

In a review in The Telegraph Helen Brown wrote that when she started read Truth and Consequences she was prepared to be sympathetic to Bernie Madoff's family, but she just couldn't do it.[5] She decided she was less credulous than Sandell and thought Sandell's description of the Madoffs made them sound shallow and unlikeable. Jessica Grose, writing in Slate magazine, described how Sandell's book, and joining Sandell on her book tour, helped the public find sympathy for Ruth Madoff.[6]

Deadline magazine reported that Zambry films acquired the movie rights to The Impostor's Daughter, in December 2012.[2]

In 2013 Sandell wrote an essay, for The New York Times, entitled "How to Break Up With A 2-Year-Old."[7] In the essay she described first her surprise at falling in love with the toddler of a man she was dating, and then her feeling of loss as she realized how much she would miss that child, as her relationship with her father deteriorated. She described how meeting that girl triggered her to bear a child through artificial insemination, or to adopt a child, if that failed. Busy Philipps read her essay aloud for a series broadcast on WBUR in 2018.[8]

Sandell's book on the Madoff family was credited as a source for the 2017 movie Wizard of Lies.[9]

On October 7, 2018, The New York Times reported she married Jonathan Mostow.[1] She met Mostow through online dating, after she began dating again, after the birth of her son.[8] He was the first man she dated after becoming a mother, and she has written Mostow is a wonderful father to her son and his own four children.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Laurie Sandell, Jonathan Mostow, The New York Times, 2018-10-07, p. ST14. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “Ms. Sandell, 47, has written features and cover stories for various national magazines including Glamour, where she was a staff senior writer until 2006. She is the author of two books, “The Impostor's Daughter,” a graphic memoir she wrote and illustrated about her father (2009), and “Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family (2011). She graduated from the University of Wisconsin.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dominic Patten. Zambry Films Acquires Graphic Novel ‘The Impostor’s Daughter’, Deadline magazine, 2012-12-12. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “The book tracks journalist Laurie Sandell’s discovery that all the amazing adventures and run-ins with the rich and famous her father told her growing up were lies.”
  3. Julie Bosman. A Publisher Plays Coy With Book Release, The New York Times, 2011-07-27, p. C1. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “In its e-mail the publisher promised a 'massive media rollout' with a confirmed '60 Minutes' appearance. Bookstores were instructed to comply with a highly orchestrated release on Nov. 14, with no sales permitted until then, an embargo arrangement typically reserved for splashy debuts of political memoirs or Bob Woodward books.”
  4. 4.0 4.1 Laurie Sandell. Loving a Madoff, Marie Claire magazine, 2011-12-05. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “Because of Andrew's legal issues, the business is entirely in Catherine's name. "I trust her with my life," he says. "I have to."”
  5. Helen Brown. Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family by Laurie Sandell: review, The Telegraph (UK), 2012-02-20. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “So I was prepared to feel compassion for a family betrayed. But that compassion was sorely tested.”
  6. Jessica Grose. The Eternal Teenage Life of Ruth Madoff: Maybe she really didn't know about her husband's Ponzi scheme., Slate magazine, 2011-11-02. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “Truth and Consequences outlines the terrible financial straits that Ruth is in.”
  7. Laurie Sandell. How to Break Up With a 2-Year-Old, The New York Times, 2013-03-28, p. ST6. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “Until one day when I finally found myself in Andrew’s living room with my bags packed, mustering the courage to say goodbye. While Andrew cleaned up our breakfast, I squatted to his daughter’s level, hugged her and said I loved her.”
  8. 8.0 8.1 Caitlin O'Keefe. How To Break Up With A 2-Year-Old, WBUR, 2018-11-07. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “'When I finished the piece I was pregnant, and I had no idea what my life was going to become,' she says. 'And my pregnancy was actually wonderful. I was in my early 40s, when I would have thought it would have been really difficult to be pregnant, but I had a super easy pregnancy, no nausea, nothing.'
  9. Liz Calvario. ‘The Wizard Of Lies’ Trailer: Robert De Niro Heads To Court As Epic Fraudster Bernie Madoff, Deadline magazine, 2017-04-12. Retrieved on 2020-10-18. “The Wizard of Lies was written by John Burnham Schwartz, Sam Baum and Sam Levinson, based on Diana Henriques’ book, with Laurie Sandell’s Truth and Consequences also used as additional source material.”