What would it be? I don’t know.
But I wonder at the audacity of the people who try to pull off these literary frauds these days. Although I doubt the latest perpetrator (Margaret Seltzer, writing as Margaret B. Jones) thought her sister was going to turn her in.
It probably wouldn’t be such big news if it weren’t for the endorsement the book got from O Magazine, as reported in “Oprah’s mag gushed over memoir of fake gangbanger,” by Larry McShane of the NY Daily News.
A second memoir hailed by Oprah Winfrey’s media empire was exposed as a fraud when author Margaret B. Jones – who claimed to be a biracial gang-banger – was revealed as Margaret Seltzer, a well-to-do San Fernando Valley girl.
Love and Consequences was published last week to generally rave reviews – and on her MySpace page, Jones/Seltzer trumpeted the plug from O, The Oprah Magazine.
Publisher Riverhead Books was forced to recall 19,000 copies of the book yesterday after Seltzer admitted her gripping tale of running drugs for a South Central Los Angeles gang was a work of fiction.
Maybe I should market the lunar colony novel I’m trying to write as a memoir … no, I guess that wouldn’t work, would it?
The article noted that Seltzer’s book “was the second memoir revealed as a hoax in the past week,” the first being Misha Defonseca’s 1997 Misha: A Memoir of the Holocaust Years. Ms. Seltzer’s sister reportedly contacted The New York Times and told them of her sister’s fakery, which “included bogus photos, letters and even fake foster siblings, whom she produced to verify her story.”
But catch the way the story ends:
“One cannot protect oneself 100% from a dedicated hoaxster any more than one can protect oneself 100% from a dedicated terrorist,” said Sara Nelson, editor in chief of Publishers Weekly.
Ms. Nelson’s statement may be arguably true, but her analogy is a poor choice. A literary “hoaxster” (hoaxist?) really doesn’t equate to a terrorist, in morality, intent, or effect.
Now, off to work on my fake memoir … er, novel.