Lying and Consequences: Author Admits Memoir is Made Up
Jarrett Martineau | March 3, 2008 at 05:43 pmby
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Aww, but it makes such a good story...
Seriously, it's hard to feel bad for folks like Margaret B. You're not doing yourself any favours by telling other people's stories as though they were your own. No matter how good the stories.
In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South Central Los Angeles as a foster child who ran drugs for members of the Bloods, an infamous gang. The author’s biography on the back flap says she graduated from the University of Oregon.
The problem is that none of that is true.
Ms. Jones, a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, actually is all white and grew up in Sherman Oaks, in the San Fernando Valley of California, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in North Hollywood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. She is still a few credits short of a diploma from University of Oregon.
Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA that published “Love and Consequences,” is recalling all copies of the book and has canceled Ms. Seltzer’s book tour, which was scheduled to start on Monday in Eugene, Ore., where she currently lives.
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 tells 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.