Sunday, March 9, 2008

GENERAL STUFF: A Brief History of Lies

There has been a rash of publishing "memoirs" that turn out to be not true. Let's go over this, shall we?

Love and Consequences, by Margaret Seltzer, aka "Margaret B. Jones"
A "hood" story, written by a white suburban girl.

A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey
All about drug addiction and recovery. To be fair, it is labelled and sold as a work of fiction.

Sarah, by Laura Albert, aka "J.T. Le Roy"
All about a young boy who was forced into a world of cross-dressing prostitution by his mother.

The Blood Runs like a River Through My Dreams, by Tim Barrus, aka "Nasdijj"
"Navajo" author about how a child dies of a seizure disorder -- to quote, a "rez-to-riches" story.

Misha, by Misha Defonseca
A young girl avoids the holocaust by living with wolves. (And, TY/VP --> It is about penguins, btw. It was published by Penguin. LOL... you weren't completely wrong.)

The LA Times has an interesting analysis of the situation, right after Seltzer's book came out. And the NYTimes has an interesting quote from the author of Misha:

She fetched a heavy sigh. “If you didn’t have an amazing story, you didn’t

Hm. Maybe we just really like to believe that there's a great real life story out there. As we become separated from genuine experience -- thank you, postmodernism -- we need to find what we classify as real life, and not just real life, but really tough life to believe that it exists. It helps us identify with ourselves, finding emotions in others that we can then plant in ourselves and feel like we understand.

Of course, it's all fake and images and mirrors.

We don't really experience them, and I think the fact that so many are producing stories that do not reflect their own real life is telling... It's a convenient lie, and we're all happy until it comes out as not true, and then we all get to be offended by it, but, in the end, maybe we still think we felt something then.

Because, in the end, silence and melancholy -- much like in Shopgirl -- doesn't sell as many books.

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