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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What A Tangled Web We Weave...

"Lies, lies - using lies as alibis..."  Lies - En Vogue

I am a person who is fortunate to say that I have worked in two of the best places in the world. One - a record store and two - a book store.  Besides the amazing books, I was able to make a lasting friendship with one of my coworkers as well.  And the books??!!  That was a big part of the joy of working there.  I like to consider myself an avid reader.  Although I must admit that it has been a while since I have held a jewel worth discussing in my hand.  With school reviving my thirst for literature, I find myself compelled to visit a Barnes and Noble very soon.  But the question is - what to look for?  What do I feel for?  I was fortunate back in September, to receive an advanced copy of "Them" by Nathan McCall.  Is the author ringing a bell?  He would be the author of the memoir "Makes Me Wanna Holla."  It was a memoir recounting his days as a young gang banger, right to his adult days as a prolific journalist.  That was a great read for me at the time.   And now here I am with his new novel, but have not passed page 35 as yet. However,  I am not sure that this is what I feel for at the moment.  

The lies seem to be flowing to and fro in the literary world lately.  Reading my daily listing of online newspapers, I came across an article about another author caught in a lie.  Apparently there is or should I say was a memoir by Margaret B. Jones called "Love and Consequences" that was released recently.  It was about the author growing up half-white and half-Native American in South Central LA.  She wrote about living with Big Moms - her black foster mother, loosing her brother from the bullet of a Crips' member's gun and selling drugs and possessing illegal firearms for the Bloods.  Now here's where the lie comes in - girlfriend is WHITE.  Not half white as stated, but Caucasian.  She was never raised in poverty, but grew up in a well to do area of San Fernando Valley, CA - with her biological family may I add.   She also lied about the university she attended!  And would you like to hear the kicker?  The person to tip off Riverhead Books (affiliated with Penguin Books), the person who put her on blast, was her SISTER.  How did she find out you may ask?  By reading an article in the New York Times.

The author then had to reveal to the Times that her "memoir" was fully fabricated (no, really?) Yet, she had the nerve to say "For whatever reason, I was really torn, and I thought it was my opportunity to put a voice to people who people don't listen to."  is what she told the Times. Well Ms. Jones, if that was the case, why didn't you just say that it was a work of fiction rather than lie to everyone and say it was a memoir?  Why lie time and time again, to the publisher, to the editors, to the book company and to the readers, about it being your life story?  You could have been straight forward and say that it was a fabrication on your part.  But it is a mesh of stories from people's lives that you have stolen to make your own.  Yes, they are true stories, they are stories from experiences friends had from an anti-gang outreach program that she used to take part in.  And now from all of your lies and deceit, there is no book tour for you (cancelled) and no book deal for you (book has been recalled).  Too bad, so sad.

And ladies and gents, she's not the only compulsive liar on the market right now.  Another author Misha Defonseca, claimed that she was Jewish and wrote her memoir "Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years".  I think the title speaks for itself.  However the difference here is that the book has already been translated into 18 languages and was being prepared for a US release.  Because the genealogical researcher was finding discrepancies in his research, is the only reason Misha De Wael (her real name) came forth to finally admit that she is not Jewish and her whole story (living with wovles after her parents were abducted by Nazis and murdering a German soldier) was fabricated.  Her excuse?  She started to identify with being Jewish because of the mistreatment she received from her grandfather and uncle.  They saw her parents as traitors, because her parents where resistance fighters who were killed by the Nazis.  Ummm...SAYWHHAAT??

So obviously absolutely no one has learned from the James Frey "A Million Little Pieces" debacle, not that it wasn't a good book, because it was.  So much so, that I ended up reading "My Friend Leonard" too.  But what I am saying is, why the lies?  Can this be avoided?  Obviously in the long run, the truth will come out.  The truth, if stated right out of the gate could have prevented public humiliation, standing by hopelessly while your "creation" is being torn apart to shreds and massive recalls and apologies.  

Lies...they always have a way of playing catch up.

On that note, here is the incontestable video of the day:

See you soon...

Tha Connoisseur 

1 comment:

ad said...

Hmmm... Try Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.
Pure fiction, I promise.