Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Not-so-true stories: 7 authors who were charged with deceit

The recent Greg Mortenson scandal sparked MSN to publish a list of the most famous deceitful authors. Here are the top three:

"1. James Frey
The most famous of recent memoir-fabricators is Frey, who was lambasted by Oprah Winfrey after he admitted his book "A Million Little Pieces" contained embellishments. The Smoking Gun called into question his dramatic account of hitting a police officer with his car while high on crack, as well as other details. Future editions of the book contained an apologetic note from Frey, and his career continued. Most recently, the film adaptation of his young adult novel "I Am Number Four" (a collaboration Jobie Hughes) hit screens in February.

2. Herman Rosenblat

After her trouble with Frey, Winfrey should have been on the lookout, but who could doubt Herman Rosenblat? His "Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived" told the emotional tale of how he survived Buchenwald thanks to a young girl who visited daily to pass him food through the fence. Years later, the two met again on a blind date in New York City, and married. It was "the single greatest love story" Winfrey had ever told on the air, the talk show host proclaimed. Unfortunately, it wasn't actually how Rosenblat met his wife, though he was a concentration camp survivor. Ultimately the books cancelled.

3. Margaret Seltzer

Writing under the pen name Margaret B. Jones, Seltzer penned a memoir about growing up in the rough neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles, where she ran drugs for the Bloods. She even described how her foster-brother Terrell was gunned down outside their home. But Seltzer never lived in foster care; she grew up in Sherman Oaks, far from the mean streets she described. She never sold drugs. She wasn't even half Native American, as her character claimed. In the end, her own sister called attention to the fiction."


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