From the comments section: "It is very curious that this book was reviewed by Ms. Kakutani, the lead book critic at the Times. I wonder if her decision to review the book was at all influenced by the fact that Ms. McGrath, editor of the book in question, is the daughter of Mr. McGrath, who, as the article states, works at the paper (and used to, I believe, be the editor of the Book Review, which the article does not state). Perhaps the Public Editor could comment on not only on how the lead book critic of the Times decided to review the book but also on the paper's decision to feature the author in the House and Home section without doing some pretty basic fact checking."
Although some of the scenes she has recreated from her youth (which are told in colorful, streetwise argot) can feel self-consciously novelistic at times, Ms. Jones has done an amazing job of conjuring up her old neighborhood.
Novelistic. Conjuring. Yes, hmmm, you could say that.
Ms. Seltzer said she had been writing about her friendsí experiences for years in creative-writing classes and on her own before a professor asked her to speak with Inga Muscio, an author who was then working on a book about racism. Ms. Seltzer talked about what she portrayed as her experiences and Ms. Muscio used some of those accounts in her book. Ms. Muscio then referred Ms. Seltzer to her agent, Faye Bender, who read some pages that Ms. Seltzer had written and encouraged the young author to write more.
I know Inga Muscio, and she is probably so pissed that she's planning on killing this woman.
I like how she wanted to "give a voice to people who don't get listened to". By pretending to be them. Yeah, right. If she really wanted to get them a voice, she'd help THEM write THEIR memoirs. But there's no money in that, is there?
My "totally just made this up but I believe it anyway" theory: Lack of storytelling in our culture. I think we've erected a huge barrier between "true" (logical, prove-able, scientific) and "false" (emotional, metaphorical, spiritual) and we no longer think one's allowed to combine the two; we've also seriously devalued the "false" part of that spectrum. I suspect that a lot of memoirs (and history) in the past were as much fiction as truth, and I think there was more of a sense that one could learn from stories even if they weren't factually "true" -- there was kind of a middle ground of "emotionally true." Which I think is where most good religions (and literature) hang out.