Your Reactions to the Margaret Jones Blowout

By Neal Comment

nonbook.jpgFishbowlLA continues its coverage of fake memoirist “Margaret B. Jones by rounding up online reactions to the revelations about Love and Consequences, and wonders whatever happened to the video “Jones” (Margaret Seltzer now) shot driving around South Central with her agent, Faye Bender. If anybody managed to download a copy, we’d love to see it…

GalleyCat readers are saying plenty about the situation, too. Noting that the most popular response in our online poll about why these fake memoirists keep getting published is “Why let facts get in the way of a potential bestseller?”, one editor who asked to remain anonymous emails:

“Editors don’t set out to publish fake memoirs. They fall in love with a story, they see something universal in it, something worth sharing, and then they work their hearts out to publish it right. For people to think that they’re essentially just running a game on the public… well, it’s disgustingly cynical.”

He also strives to deflate all this hoopla, by noting that the majority of memoirs don’t have these kinds of problems. “Every once in a while, something like this happens, and then the papers write it up. And why do they write it up?” he asks rhetorically. “Because it’s news. It’s unusual that it happens… And then something like this comes to light, and suddenly it’s: ‘Oh, they’ll just do anything to make a buck.’ Burns my ass.”

“Fake memoirs continue to be published because editors are so much more receptive to them than they are to fiction,” insists an unnamed tipster, who points out that editors were cool about A Million Little Pieces when it was a novel but loved it as memoir. Another reader is curious about just when Seltzer’s name started showing up on the online bookstore pages for Love and Consequences along with Jones, and a lot of people are wondering whose name was on the contracts…

And then there’s the FishbowlLA reader whose email got forwarded to me. “Of course they knew this was bullshit all along,” this reader claims. “I did just from reading the Times review and looking at her picture.” How fabulous for you—and you can see into people’s souls, to boot! You must be very popular at parties.

And can you believe people still want to blame Charles McGrath for everything that gets written about books at the Times, ever? (That Vulture post is really sharp, too: you should read it!)