Monday, March 03, 2008

Another Faked Memoir

What the hell is going on? Is the world short of supposed inspiring memoirs? Did the whole Frey thing not scare people away from this sort of thing?

Gang Memoir, Turning Page, Is Pure Fiction
In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child who went on to live a gang-banger’s violent life, wielding guns and running drugs for the Bloods.

The problem is that none of it is true.

Margaret P. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in well-to-do Sherman Oaks, in the San Fernando Valley of California, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in North Hollywood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the
University of Oregon, as she had claimed.

And no one suspected anything? No one thought that the whole think was a little far-fetched, coming from someone clean-cut? Who was the editor who didn't bother looking into it:

Sarah McGrath, the editor at Riverhead who worked with Ms. Seltzer for three years on the book, said she was stunned to discover that the author had lied.

McGrath? Boy, that name sound familiar.

Over the course of three years, Ms. McGrath, who is the daughter of Charles McGrath, a writer at large at The Times, worked closely with Ms. Seltzer on the book. “I’ve been talking to her on the phone and getting e-mails from her for three years and her story never has changed,” Ms. McGrath said. “All the details have been the same. There never have been any cracks.”

Yes, that Charles McGrath, former editor of the New York Times Book Review. Nice.

Some have suggest that the memoir is supplanting the novel, but I think these sorts of things must being turning folks away from the genre. The real question is why? Why on earth is this necessary? What does it mean that someone is willing to cover this sort of thing up, instead of calling it fiction? Does fiction have that bad of a name? Geez.

And what does it mean that Drudge is linking to this story?

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