Chris Uggen's Blog: another big phony

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

another big phony

despite a student's recommendation, i never got around to reading margaret b. jones' gang memoir, love and consequences. as it turns out, the "refugee from gangland" appears to have made the whole thing up.

via the times:

In a sometimes tearful, often contrite telephone interview from her home on Monday, Ms. Seltzer, 33, who is known as Peggy, admitted that the personal story she told in the book was entirely fabricated. She insisted, though, that many of the details in the book were based on the experiences of close friends she had met over the years while working to reduce gang violence in Los Angeles.

“For whatever reason, I was really torn and I thought it was my opportunity to put a voice to people who people don’t listen to,” Ms. Seltzer said. “I was in a position where at one point people said you should speak for us because nobody else is going to let us in to talk. Maybe it’s an ego thing — I don’t know. I just felt that there was good that I could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it.”

oh, i get it -- sort of a noble thing. one can't help but think of james frey, who fictionalized a good bit of his memoir a couple years ago. still, it bears repeating: there's nothing more pathetic than a pretend badass.


At 4:41 PM, Blogger Phil BC said...

Oh deary me. I caught this story this morning in one of our dailies. It comes hot on the heels of the big scandal in Belgium. You've probably heard - Misha Defonseca wrote 'Surviving with Wolves', a childhood Holocaust memoir where she supposedly was protected by a pack of wolves after the Nazis had taken her parents. It was a commercial success.

I doubt her penitence will include giving all her profits back.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger christopher uggen said...

i dunno, phil. it looks like the press took all the books back, so maybe they'll sue to recoup some of their losses.


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