Memoirs and Faulty Memory
Apparently not. She was all white, grew up in a posh part of LA, never lived with a foster family, never did drugs, and never ran with gangs. The 33-year-old Margaret Seltzer admitted all when her sister, who saw a piece in the Times, dropped a dime:
“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.”No, the details were taken from people she had met while supposedly working to reduce gang violence in LA. Yup, putting a voice to people is important, particularly when you're getting a significant advance to do so and, presumably, not sharing it.
Aren't there giveaways, other than wanting to use a pseudonym and then be willing to have your photograph taken? The writing seemed to telegraph to some critics that something was going on:
Writing in The Times, Michiko Kakutani praised the “humane and deeply affecting memoir,” but noted that some of the scenes “can feel self-consciously novelistic at times.” In Entertainment Weekly, Vanessa Juarez wrote that “readers may wonder if Jones embellishes the dialogue” but went on to extol the “powerful story of resilience and unconditional love.”I know that book publishers are short-staffed - got to wring out every last penny for the corporate owners, after all - but, really, couldn't they invest in a fact checker to make even a cursory inquiry? Let's see: $30,000 to save many times that number and enough embarrassment to fill a small stadium. Seems like a smart investment to me.