Vapor by Debra Danielsen: Book Summary and Review

Debra Danielsen


While I perused the comments of an article here on TMJ a few days ago, I saw readers discussing Vapor by Debra Danielsen, Farrah Abraham's mother. I had completely forgotten that it had hit shelves back in December, because it didn't become an instant best seller like the Teen Moms' books do.

I couldn't have stopped my fingers from drifting to Amazon if I tried.

The book recounts Deb's encounter with a catfish, who ran a quarter of million dollar scam on her! There are a lot of details, but I'll give you a basic breakdown.

Michael is overbearing and emotionally abusive. He is especially and openly critical of his wife's looks and physique. (Wonder where Farrah's image issues came from?) He leaves her because Deb won't do "illegal drugs" with him and he's been cheating on her their entire relationship anyway. After the end of Debra's 23-year marriage, Farrah also washes her hands of Debra. Farrah takes Sophia and moves from Iowa to Texas to live with Michael. Debra is working in a call center making $12.21 an hour and looking to begin a second career with her Executive MBA she earned in 2011.

After her unpleasant experience with Dr. Phil, she uses a test for designed by Dr. Phil.

(Yeah, that part didn't make sense to me either.) She reaches out to a man named James Richardson on Match and they begin talking daily.

James is the CEO of a company that sells and trades diamonds and is working overseas in Malaysia, but his home is in Omaha.

The pair's relationship moves at lightening speed! All of Debra's interactions with James took place between June 23rd and October 23rd of 2013.

Debra dawns a new face in the wake of her catfish encounter. Debra dawns a new face in the wake of her catfish encounter.

James quickly begins telling Debra that he loves her and planning a future with her. These future plans included a new business venture for James and Debra. James tells Debra about an opportunity that has been offered to him to start selling oil to China. James was just supposed to put up the cash and make sure the barrels of oil were shipped. But of course, complications start to arise. That's when James begins to ask Debra for money. She initially refuses, but after pressure from James and reminding herself that she had reached out to him first, she gives in. The first time Debra sends money, she wires James $62,000.

This cycle continues until Debra has wired James $250,000. Each time Debra sends money she is upset and uneasy about the whole situation, but James calms her by sending her links to Alicia Keys songs and having phone sex with her. October 23, 2013 was the day that James Richardson was supposed to be flying to Iowa to start his life with Debra, but that afternoon Debra receives a strange call saying that someone named "Mr. Jenks" was in a car crash on his way to the airport and passed away at the hospital.

Instantly, Debra realizes that the whole thing has been a scam. She tries contacting numerous federal and local agencies, but there's not much that can be done.

In this country, there's nothing the Feds can do unless a scammer has managed to squeeze at least $10,000,000 out of their victim.

Debra attempts to move forward by sharing her story and creating a website to inform and warn people about relationship scams.

What I liked:

  • The chisme! Seriously, there's some pretty interesting gossip in this book. The beginning is especially gossipy. Did you know Debra likes to sleep naked? Because you do now.
  • The information about scams and scammers. I actually learned a couple new things from this book that weren't Teen Mom related.
  • The fact that this book had an actual point. I enjoyed reading a book from this franchise that wasn't another unfocused memoir by a 20-something with an unfortunate upbringing.

What I didn't like:

  • The text messages and freakin emails! A few were interesting to read, but half of the book is just texts and emails between James and Debra. This is honestly my main grievance with the book. It's a pretty standard catfish tale and we all know how nutty Farrah's family is, so I knew what to expect. What I didn't expect was reading pages upon pages of saccharine copy-pasted love letters from James. I also didn't expect to read through a transcript of old people flirting and sexting.
  • The title. The title is weak and so is Debra's meandering explanation of how she came up with it.

My Overall Opinion:

This reader gives Vapor a solid C- grade. I've read worse books, but I've also read better.

I would definitely recommend this book to any Teen Mom Junkies out there considering reading it. It's a fairly interesting story and is told pretty well. If you can stomach the texts, it's not half bad.

Wanna read more about this Teen Mom topic? Check these out: EXCLUSIVE! Teen Mom Junkies Personal Interview With Debra Danielsen: Part I (more); What's Going On with Debra Danielsen's Wedding Pics? (more); Will Debra and Dr.

David's Wedding be a Teen Mom OG Reunion? (more); You Can Now Buy Farrah's Mom ("Debz OG")'s New Rap On Itunes (more).


LOLOLOLOL. I have no idea what I was doing back in December because this is the first time I've heard of the glory that is "Vapor". I know Debra and Michael had a pretty dysfunctional marriage, but I have such a hard time believing that he was emotionally abusive to her and pressured her to dabble with "illegal drugs". Just the very thought makes me laugh my ass off. As for the catfshing thing...ehh, the whole thing is fishy (do you see what I did there? I made a joke), and this is literally the first time I've heard of it happening to Debra. Has she ever spoken about it before she wrote the book?

Just when you think this family couldn't get any crazier, this shit comes out. Sophia is better being raised by a pack of wolves than the Danielsen-Abrahams. At least wolves love each other and have some sort of dignity and familial relationships with each other.

She spoke to The Ashley about it, but only to promote the book after she had written it.

Lol Oh my gosh, LOVE that you put "el chisme"! I say that to my boyfriend everytime we have gossip to tell each other

Be-Bop, I can't help but think that My-cuuuulll created the monsters that are Farrah and Debra though?

I'm glad my fellow chismosas enjoy it!

Oh I can totally see Michael pressuring Debra to smoke weed and Debra being to square to try it.

Oh Deb. Get a grip. Firat of all, weed is legal in a few places now, and is decriminalized in even more.
Chill out.
No doubt it will become completely legal in my children's lifetime. Stop splitting hairs.

Let's be real, Michael is a coke guy.

I can't blame him. I'd have to be high to hang out with Debs and Farrah too.

Posted above by accident!

Be-Bop, I can’t help but think that My-cuuuulll created the monsters that are Farrah and Debra though?

There is something more to My-colllle than we all realize, I bet - no one is buying his pseudo-Christian act, and I find it totally odd that he's always trolling around on social media defending Farrah left and right.

I find it very interesting that after the divorce, Farrah "sided" with him and moved with him to TX while Deb moved to Seattle. Also, if she's an executive MBA, why is she working in a call center? And then, if she's working for barely above minimum wage, how does she have hundreds of thousands of dollars to send to this guy? There are all kinds of things that don't add up here. All I know is, that if I ever get catfished, I'm calling Nev and Max, and not bothering with the authorities.

THANK YOU for the book review, Tomlin! I'd been thinking I'd like to read this, although wondering if I'd be able to stomach it. Now I have a better idea.

I don't know, maybe it wasn't just weed. Maybe it was molly or something to try to get her to loosen up.

Farrah told some contestant in Couple's Therapy about her mom getting catfished on one of the extra clips that I don't think was actually IN an episode. I figured she was full of shit but then Debra's book came out.

Great recap. Love the TM "cliffsnotes".
Debra looks good. Was this before or after the $8,000,000 in Botox?
I will never understand why these older, single, lonely women give their money to strangers they meet online. Dr.Phil is always doing shows on catfishing and scams.
I guess 'highly educated' does not equal common sense.

I live for the love scams episodes of Dr. Phil!!! My friends make fun of me because I'm always watching Dr. Phil or on TMJ lol. But according to Debra, more educated people with experience in the field of business the catfish is claiming to be involved with, the more likely they are to get conned. I suppose that the reasoning goes a little like this, "It's pretty crazy that I would get offered an opportunity like this! But I've dealt in business like this before. Someone like me would notice something that didn't sound right, but everything in this situation sounds great. I reached out to this person anyway. If they wanted to scam me, wouldn't they reach out to me first?" The victim also needs to be sipping an emotional cocktail of loneliness, desperation and delusion.

Of course, you need to check if these things are legit before they send money. James said he has a business buying/selling diamonds. There has to be a track record. Hell, you can just Google his name! But it looks like a lot of older people who get catfished can't be bothered to do the most cursory background checks (or even understand that Googling is a thing).

Did they teach her that in Executive Business 101?

I've actually had that cocktail a time or two myself.. !

I suppose the trust is a generational thing. I will FB, Google, Wiki, whatever to find out what I need to know about someone or something.

When I Saw the title of this I swear I thought she was trying to sell e-cigarettes or something lmao.

From the horse's mouth: “Vapor is a big part of this story,” Debra said. “In the Bible, they talk about vapor—we can see it, so it looks real but when you reach out and try to grab hold of it, you can’t.”

Which is an unanswered question for me: how much Jesus is in the book? Knowing Deb, I was expecting a whole lot (which, not going to lie, did increase my desire to read it).

She just really wants you to buy her book. She's the best christian so supporting anything she or her whoredaughter does for money is what God wants us to do. Debra just wants us to come to heaven with her, guys!

Selling things and using religion as a prop.

I'm pretty sure Jesus flipped a table and beat some guys with a whip over something similar.

Reality TV has ruined me because every time I hear about the kerfuffle with Jesus flipping tables and casting shitty people out of the temple, I instantly assume he yelled "PROSTITUTION WHORE-AHH!" while flipping the table like Teresa Guidice.

Great review. Except for the fact that Debra sleeps naked. Why would that even be necessary to mention? (On her part, not yours).

There were so many moments in this book that made me feel like I needed an adult. Here's just one passage that I'm sure will haunt me for a long time:

"This was the first time James and I had phone sex. He was very experienced with phone sex and didn’t appear shy in any way. James was loving and sexy. He created amazing visuals, so the phone sex was successful. He told me I almost killed him with phone sex. Then we laughed. He mentioned this to me several times over the next few days. I found that fascinating. James was very experienced and he talked about his member very freely in detail. It really scared me in many ways, and I have never been sexually oppressed. We shared openly our desires and feelings and enjoyed the release."

Danielson, Debra ( ). Vapor (Kindle Locations 600-604). . Kindle Edition.


Reminds me of Leonard's mom on Big Bang theory where she tells penny she is responsible for her own orgasm lol

"The phone sex was successful."

I cannot stop laughing at that ridiculous phrasing.

God fucking bless this familly for managing to be so beyond stupid and self centered that they collectively couldn't even be bothered to learn the only language they speak.

LOL. $250,000 orgasm.

Yes. That is the visual I wanted. Excuse me while I go vomit my lunch.

How awkward. I wonder if Debra and Farrah have read one another's books. Gross.


Whoever was stuck editing that book, I am sorry. Reading the phrase "phone sex" four times in less than ten seconds, with Debra's voice unfortunately narrating in my head...I don't think I am capable of sexual feelings of any kind, ever.

"Okay Debra...just close your eye bags and listen"

I'm picturing the description of James' mad phone sex skilz being read aloud in Debra's monotone and LMAO.

This is funnel cake on the 4th of July level delicious. Holy shit I did not expect her to give me 1) more shit to laugh at her family for and 2) a seemingly honest account of how fucking stupid she is with her own money.

I also didn't realize she hadn't gotten her MBA until 2011. She always portrayed herself as a "successful businesswoman" with a high degree of education so when I heard she had an MBA, I figured she'd had it all along.

Homegirl, it's been awhile <3

I know! I've been swamped lately with crazy family/life stuff. There are so many articles to catch up on!!

Well i think she always had an MBA, just not an Executive MBA. There is a difference between the two, with an Executive MBA being better. (I actually do not know but i am assuming so). I read on here by a commenter that she worked corporate at AT&T for like 30 years and made bank due to the establishment of cell phones and that is why prior to MTV she was rolling around in a Mercedes roadster with a fur coat and nice house. So she was a successful business woman and educated...but still a bat shit crazy woman who raised a monster.

I'm going to look to see if she has a LinkedIn account.

That fur looked pretty skanky and the Mercedes was probably leased. The house could have been mortgaged to the hilt. Deb and My-kole seemed like the kind of people who would run up huge credit card debt and get themselves into a financial jam by living above their means.
I'm always surprised by how many people assume that having a big house and a fancy new car means that someone is stinkin' rich. The very rich, especially old-money types, are often real tightwads who live simply and drive older cars.
Look at the Teen Moms. Every time you turn around they're driving a different car and they're usually broke.

She should probably sue the idiot "school" that gave her a degree, but didn't teach her enough to NOT give $ to a complete stranger. YEESH. Now the contest to see who is the bigger idiot is neck & neck between Farrah & Debra!

So she sent $250K to a guy she had never met, over the course of approximately 4mths. Fuck people are dumb. I don't think I would give out $50! Just because he got you off over the phone Deb, doesn't mean that he's a nice person! And then she brags about it. Deb, he was probably laughing at you!
Also, Myyy-cuuullll seems to be the root of all problems here. He cheated on Debra, and put down her physical appearance. He was emotionally vacant for Farrah. We mostly blame Debra for Farrah. Maybe Myyy-cuuill needs to wear most of the blame. He's fucked up both of them.

I have a feeling Debra was a pill long before she met Michael. They're both horrible people and parents.

Maybe. Maybe not. Debra always seemed like the aggressive one in the relationship, not Michael. I'm not saying he hasn't done his share of fucked-up shit because it's clear both he and Debra messed Farrah up tremendously. But I don't know if I entirely buy her claims that he abused her and tried to get her to do drugs and shit. Maybe he did and what we saw on "Teen Mom" was her fighting back? Who knows with these people. They're all attention whores who will say and do anything to stay in the spotlight. And sadly it's working because they make for some great conversation.

She seems like a complete control freak. I always figured she wore the pants in the family because Farrah mentioned that it was her mom who told her to start calling her own dad "Michael" instead of daddy or dad or whatever because Debra didn't want Farrah's older sister who has a different father getting confused or feeling left out. It just seems odd that a father would be completely okay with giving up the title of father from his only daughter just because his wife told him to so I assumed she called the shots in that house.

I agree Rae, it always came across to me that mycole was very whipped. Debra seemed like a total control freak.

Michael always came across as more sympathetic than Debra on the show, but then Debra's crazy as a box of frogs. None of his dealers or former girlfriends have come out of the woodwork to dish about his druggy, cheatin' ways, so who knows if Debra's stories about him are true.
Who was her other husband/baby daddy? Why have we heard nothing about him?

If you can let yourself get scammed out of $250,000 like that, you kind of deserve it...
Where did she get that kind of money to begin with?

Borrowed out of her 401(k). So I'm reasonably sure that now the IRS is in her ass deeper than James Deen.

OMG! Really, 5th Baby Daddy?!? I cannot believe they give MBAs out to people like this. Give your 401(k) money out to a complete stranger...then you have to PAY IT BACK! People, DO NOT DO THIS. Never, ever, borrow on your 401(k), like, EVER. I don't even have a business degree, and I know this. Debra, Debra, Debra. This is why you have to have your ho daughter sell her asshole to buy your facelifts....

Didn't Farrah get scammed out of a bunch of money in the first season of Teen Mom? Like mother, like daughter.

Yeah when she bought that car but she had to send the guy money to send her the car. And she drained her bank account. Then BLAMED the bank for her stupidity! She was on the phone yelling at the guy from the bank, saying the bank needed to give her money back.

Worse, actually. She was SELLING a car and got scammed through wire fraud.

"On a recent episode, aspiring model Farrah (mother to baby Sophia) lists her car for sale online. She receives an offer of $8,000, which includes $3,000 for shipping. The buyer sends Farrah a check and tells her to wire part of it to an account for shipping. Farrah does so, only to discover that the check is fake – after $3,000 of her own money has already been cashed."

I still don't understand how Farrah got scammed. How does it make sense to send $3000 to the person who is buying a car off you?

I've long given up on trying to understand why any of these girls do the things that they do.

Farrah probably doesn't even know what "make sense" means

I agree! At no fucking point did she think "hey, maybe I should check up on this guy I am sending literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars too." Because that would just be too logical.

I'm with everyone else, I would question a stranger asking for $50! Jesus. Like mother, like daughter I guess.

Farrah is selling her DNA in jewelry via a charity for fighting against sex trafficking. And of course, she brought Sophia into it like this was anything aside from a way to make more money.

It's for sex trafficking victims?

My god, she's going to say she was trafficked through the porn industry. I'm betting that's what her "horrible trauma" is all about. It would make sense with those texts that allegedly implied that she was allegedly prostituting, and her history of making bad decisions without considering consequences. It seems to make more sense than I want it to.

She's already claimed that she was "raped and coerced" during filming, even though Vivid apparently has really high standards for a porn company and go out of their way to make sure none of their actors are underaged or forced in any way. She also said she was raped while promoting the film and that James Deen may have gotten her pregnant. This is when Farrah was still claiming it was a leaked personal tape, and her allegations finally pushed Deen to rat her out and reveal her real intentions.

Yes, I know about the rape allegations, and about Vivid's $1 million lie detector offer. But apparently this horrific trauma is something that she hasn't spoken about yet? It's obvious that there is childhood trauma and hasn't talked about, but she seemed to imply a more recent trauma that she hasn't yet discussed on the reunion show. At least that was the impression I got.

Also I thought that the rape allegations were only during Vivid promotional parties. I never heard that she claimed she was drugged and raped during the film shoot with James Deen. I saw that video (just like y'all did, don't lie), and her consent of very clear. I don't know what claims she could even make about that.

I'm glad we're admitting to having watched Farrah's porno.

i tried to watch the video. i don't remember much of it because i'm assuming i was so traumatized it became a repressed memory. but i couldn't get past like, 2 minutes. her trying to sound sexy when she talked was just too cringe worthy and i just couldn't handle it.

Lol. I never saw the video because I like to think I have high standards, but I did see still images and GIFS and those were enough for me. I also heard a bit of Farrah's baby talk and, yikes, what a disaster.

As for Farrah's claims that she was raped during filming, I think she said that she was pressured and coerced into doing it. She basically said she had a gun to her head the whole time which, frankly, nobody bought the first time around. If she had just come clean and admitted that she hired a company and a professional porn star and made the tape for financial gain, I think people would make fun of her a teensy bit less than they do now haha. It was her denial despite evidence to the contrary and conflicting statements that made the whole thing such an idiotic situation.

I haven't seen it because I just don't have the money to pay for the therapy I'd need afterwards. But I've seen that awful still shot of the face she was making during... Does she consider that her "sexy face"?

I haven't seen the entire thing because I think a man having sex with a horse is wrong and I'm a lady of principles.

This is hilarious. This family is comedy-gold.

MTV could scrap Teen Mom OG and Teen Mom 2, then make a combo show of the most entertaining girls and their families. They could call it Teen Mom Trainwreck, starring Farrah, Jenelle, and Leah.

I would watch the shit out of that.

I know she never made it into the teen mom franchise, but can we throw Jordan in there too?? To balance it out and shit. And because I think she runs a close race with Jenelle for ultimate trainwreck.

Of course. No trainwreck show would be complete without a junkie stripper, afterall. Or we can add the DeJesus coven.

"Each time Debra
sends money she is upset and uneasy about the
whole situation, but James calms her by sending
her links to Alicia Keys songs and having phone
sex with her. "
RIP me, cuz I just died.

I'm and ouuuutt...of love (love) with-ah you!!