Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Another Memoir Fake

Remember James Frey, author of Oprah Book Club selected memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," who eventually admitted he faked details about his drug addiction and recovery? Then, there was Misha Defonseca who somehow had the balls to entirely fabricate her experience as a survivor in "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years." (Defonseca is not even Jewish!)
Well, now there's Margaret B Jones (aka Margaret Seltzer) whose memoir "Love and Consequences" (released last week by Riverhead) about her life as a half-white, half-Native American being raised by a black foster mother ("Big Mom") and selling drugs for a gang in gritty L.A., turns out to be fiction. In this case, the author's sister ratted her out to the publishing company after reading a piece about the author in the New York Times. Apparently Ms. Jones/Seltzer, who is 100% caucasion (which seems pretty clear to me when I look at her photograph), grew up in a well-off area of the San Fernando Valley with her perfectly white Episcopal family, where she never sold drugs or lived in the foster care system. Oopsy.

Moral of the story for the publishing world: Enough with the reality T.V. literature, people. Any of these fakes probably would have been bitchin' novels. That is, if only you still published fiction.
(Not to put too fine a point on it, but Michiko Kakutani did rave about "Love and Consequence" in a review in the New York Times. Ahh, the irony.)

4 comments:

bookfraud said...

"enough with the reality T.V. literature, people. Any of these fakes probably would have been bitchin' novels. That is, if only you still published fiction"

i couldn't have said it better myself. what are the odds of frey or jones/selzer or defonseca getting published if they presented this stuff as a novel, no matter how bitchin'? about none.

it says volumes about the publishing business that in this day and age of james frey et. al that this could even happen. it boggles the mind -- but sadly, doesn't surprise me.

Gloria said...

I just wrote a post about exactly this issue, less pithy and witty than you, but basically saying that these never would have been published as fiction. However, I hold the writers themselves responsible for being greedy liars who by their criminal acts belittle all the suffering of real people in those situations. They especially provide fuel for Holocaust denial. There is no excuse.

Gloria, Writer Reading said...

Doesn't Ms. Jones look eerily like a mugshot of that homicidal British au pair Louise Woodward. They could be evil twins.

Lobster Face said...

Michiko Kakutani has questionable taste, now, doesn't she?