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March 4, 2008

Memo to Authors: If You Lie in Your Memoir, You WILL Be Caught

Posted by admin

I just finished reading the piece in The New York Times where Margaret B. Jones admits that her memoir, Love and Consequences, was fabricated. She was not "a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods."

Okay, reading this I have a few questions for Jones:

1) Have you ever heard of James Frey?

2) WHERE were you when Frey did his "called on the carpet" appearance on Oprah?

3) Were you REALLY surprised that your sister came forward with the truth on this? Or did you think you could get your family excited about this being your story? Or did you just think they would be tickled that you were published no matter WHAT the story?

4) Did you ever think....hmmm...this could be a powerful fiction story? I do not need to make it MY story!

Hmmmmm...I wonder if this means that Jones/Seltzer can now cross her big sister Cyndi off her holiday shopping list?

Remember the line "I have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale?" Well, now it might be changed to "I have a memoir to share with you."

I also am really annoyed that ink and review attention was given to this fabrication and not given to another worthy book and now more ink (yes, even here on this blog) about this topic will circulate around the business while truly wonderfully --- and honestly written --- memoirs and fiction never will get the attention they deserve as we dissect why these lies were fabricated and how they got published.

Bottom Line Note to Authors: Don't lie these days. You WILL get caught. Whereas before you just had to worry about the likes of Woodward and Bernstein tracking you like bloodhounds you now can be tracked by "investigative reporters" who can be found everywhere and their reporting is swift and merciless. And some of them might even be relatives. It's just not worth it.