.. about her life as 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.(First chapter here.)
Except, as Motoko Rich points out,
The problem is that none of it is true. ... Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. 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.Ouch!
Jones was outed by her own sister. The books have been recalled, the promotional tour cancelled. Ms Jones side of the story is that she was just giving a voice to the kind of people who don't usually get listened to.
One wonders why the lack of faith in fiction? That is worrying me every bit as much as the epidemic (for such it is) of fakery.
I was interested in what Preeta said in the comments to the previous bogus memoir post:
I really think the reason we're seeing so many of these now is the whole confessional culture -- people *want* to read "true stories," and everywhere I turn I hear vapid comments like "I felt I could relate to this more because it was a true story." Certainly as a young writer in the US one is repeatedly told that nonfiction sells these days, write a memoir, write a memoir, it's what people want to read. Of course if you have any integrity you will resist the temptation to write a memoir unless you really have something to say about your own life, but then if more people had integrity the world would be a very different place indeed, and not just in terms of what sells in the bookshops :-) . Perhaps the more interesting question is, why is it that people these days feel they can only "relate" to true stories?!? Whatever happened to being able to relate to fictional characters?To even things up perhaps, Claire Armistead on the Guardian blog has an intriguing post about a work of memoir that has been published as a novel in the US; and another published as a novel in Russia and a memoir in the UK!
Armistead says that :
Of all the genres around at the moment I find memoir the most troubling - and at the heart of the trouble is the notion of a form of truth that is by necessity not the same as a got-out-of-bed-and-brushed-my-teeth reality. But who is to decide where the line lies?
A day on, Motoko Rich examines the fallout.