Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Memoir Fakes

I have had about enough of these people who write fake memoirs and pass them off as real. It started with that Frey person who wrote the Million Pieces of My Split Personality book and duped Oprah into thinking it was real. He described his descent into substance abuse and street life. One horror story after another so unbelievable that if it hadn’t happened you would say it was contrived. Guess what? It was contrived. Today I read about two other fake memoirs. One was written by a woman who claimed she was a Native American foster child raised in South Central Los Angeles and that she had run drugs for gangs but overcame it all and went to a college in Oregon. Turns out the author is an Anglo (she’s Episcopalian) and was raised in Bakersfield or somewhere by her own parents and has never been to Oregon. She was outed before the book was launched. The other fake memoir was written by a woman who described her childhood in Nazi Germany as a Jewish girl who hid out in the forest and was cared for by wolves. Come on, people! Did some editor actually believe this happened? Was it one of the editors that turned down my fiction because it was contrived? Anyway, turns out the Jewish-wolf-girl author is actually Christian and she spent the war safely and comfortably in Brussels. Would someone tell these memoirists that you have to suffer to sing the Blues? There are no shortcuts. I’m outraged. Here these privileged individuals are passing themselves off as ethnic minorities to make a buck with some reality-show drama memoir. More institutionalized racism. If they want to imagine a story then they need to put it out there as fiction. Then let the editors reject their manuscripts as “contrived” along with the rest of us.

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