Mrs Escobar: My Life with Pablo by Victoria Eugenia Henao
The story of Pablo Escobar, one of the most powerful, violent and wealthy drug lords has fascinated the world for decades. On the 25th anniversary of Pablo’s death, his wife shares her story for the very first time. The couple first met when Maria was just 12 years old and he was 23. They eloped and were married in the church when she was 15.
Despite regular absences, numerous infidelities and unwavering violence, she stayed by Pablo’s side for 16 years, until his death. Maria says Pablo was her first and only love of her life. She maintains she wasn’t fully aware of the extent of his criminal dealings, but always urged him to make peace with his enemies.
It’s almost incomprehensible, but Maria says she is aware of the questions that people have wondered; were you a victim or an accomplice? Why didn’t you do anything? Why didn’t you leave him? Why didn’t you turn him in?
Her answer is simply, because she loved him. She acknowledges that many may find her answer inadequate, but she remained by his side, even though she disagreed with many of his actions and decisions.
“I grew up being moulded by Pablo to be his wife and the mother of his children, not to ask questions or challenge his choices, to look the other way,” she writes.
“I endured affairs, insults, humiliations, lies, loneliness, raids, death threats, terrorist attacks, kidnapping attempts on my children and even long periods of confinement and exile. All for love.”
Throughout the book, Maria shares insight to her daily life and the reality of being married to a ruthless criminal. However, it isn’t until the epilogue that Maria shares “the secret I kept for years” which she acknowledges will further damage people’s perception of her husband.
It was only during the process of writing her memoir Maria felt she was able to truthfully confide in her son and daughter. The revelation has devastated her family by showing how undeniably cruel Pablo was. Finally, Maria contemplates if what really bound her to Pablo was fear or love?
If you enjoyed Netflix’s Narcos or have watched documentaries and have been left wanting more, Mrs Escobar will certainly provide closure.
If you enjoy true crime and memoir then this needs to be added to your reading pile!
Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Ebury Press, RRP $40.00