Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Unbelievably Fascinating Lives

When George W. Bush starts on his memoirs next year, he could find inspiration in a new trend--faking it.

The latest made-up life story is by a 33-year-old Valley girl named Margaret Seltzer who concocted a critically praised account of life in South Central LA as a half-white, half-Native American girl in a drug and gang culture, published last week as "Love and Consequences" by Margaret B. Jones.

The love et al were fake, but the consequences real as her publisher had to withdraw all copies from the book stores. Before that, it was a Holocaust memoir and two years ago an Oprah-touted best-seller about drugs and addiction by James Frey that turned out to have been invented.

Since our 24/7 news culture has made real life seem so drab, it's understandable that a new generation of writers would be compelled to invent alternate realities, but when I was a book publisher, we called it fiction.

Ms. Seltzer now admits she wrote her book "sitting at Starbucks" in South Central and drinking in the atmosphere. President Bush has been doing the same in the White House, and there is no reason he shouldn't be able to turn out a narrative as gripping as hers. But he will have tone down Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales if he expects anybody to believe it.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Robert!

It's a lucky and wise man who keeps such vivid memories of youth and beauty.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, dammit, wrong post.