It’ll be a few months, or years, before Margaret Seltzer (aka Margaret Jones) follows James Frey’s methodology and scores herself another book deal, after her faux memoir Love and Consequences was outed as a big fat fictitious piece of made up manuscript. Sad, then, that she’ll have to live off the fumes of her New York Times review and House & Garden profile. And there’s also her Amazon.com reviews: 13 in total, which collectively rated the tome 1 start out of 5. Harsh.
Now let’s weigh that against what the experts in the publishing community thought of the book.
“So sympathetic and unsentimental, so raw and tender and tough-minded that it???s clear to the reader that whatever detachment she learned as a child did not impair her capacity for caring. Instead it heightened her powers of observation, enabling her to write with a novelist???s eye for the psychological detail and an anthropologist???s eye for social rituals and routines???[a] humane and deeply affecting memoir.” ???Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
???A powerful story of resilience and unconditional love.??? ???Entertainment Weekly
“I spent every minute that I could steal with this book, and the morning after I had reached the last page, I felt lost, as if a trusted friend had suddenly moved away. Margaret B. Jones slices into the heart of South Central Los Angeles and spills her tangled life onto the page. Love and Consequences is raw and harsh and lovely. I’ve known poverty and hardship, and yet reading Margaret’s story was like visiting a parallel universe, one emboldened with hope and shot with danger. My God, Margaret is brave.” -Barbara Robinette Moss, author of Change Me Into Zeus’s Daughter
“An important book, full of pathos and wisdom. Margaret B. Jones, contesting every bit of the way, catching at everything that might save her and those she loves, writes with pitiless intelligence and scathing honesty.” -Susanna Moore, author of The Big Girls and In the Cut
“A must-read for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of contemporary American culture. Love and Consequences is a moving love letter to those who didn’t survive gang life, and a well-crafted inspiration for those who still have a chance to escape. Margaret Jones uses her own life to tear down the walls between South Central and the world beyond.” -Rebecca Walker, author of Black, White and Jewish and Baby Love
why can’t she just publish it as a novel? as long as she depicts life in the ghetto in a realistic way then what’s the problem? I live in the hood. i don’t really fit in but it ain’t as bad as many people think.
What’s with this compulsively pedantic demand for “authenticity” in literature? Jones has written a piece of fiction couched in yet another fiction. This is more than art: it is approaching a Gesamtkunstwerk. Yet the shocked, shocked pedants are treating it as it were a doctoral dissertation. Lighten up!
The demand for authenticity in a memoir is neither compulsive nor pedantic. A memoir is simply a truthful recollection on one’s life. Leave the truth out and you don’t have a memoir