Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Literary Dumbo

So, see this woman? Her name is Margaret B. Jones, a half Native American woman who went through foster care and ran with gangs in South Central. She wrote a memoir about it and got a rave review in the New York Times.

Her real name is Margaret Seltzer, a prep school kid from the valley who got busted by her own sister. You can read about it here. Her books were pulled from shelves.

She cries alot now saying she just wanted to give voice to people she tried to portray in her book. She is a dumbo. First off, those people have voices and are being heard. Read Push by Saphire or American Son by Brian Ascolon Roley.

Second, she should have called it a novel. Susan Straight writes about people of color or the disadvantaged all the time, but she would never try to pass as something she wasn't.

Third, I was happy to read that it was her sister who pulled the plug--glad to hear that someone in that household was raised right.


Peter Varvel said...

"You didn't know there were people out there with consciousness so low--MY GOD!"
~ Bette Midler

Cheryl said...

Susan has also been really active in supporting young writers of color and writers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. To me that's the difference between being an exploiter and being part of a community. It's saying, "This culture has given me something and I'm going to give back and make sure there are a wide range of voices for readers to listen to."

mr jp said...

Shame on her, to pass off fiction as non-fiction.

Didn't her publisher know this ? How do things work in the publishing world anyways ? i'm not sure ..

Sundry said...

Love the title of this post. It's so whimsically belittling, and she deserves no better.

It bugs the heck out of me that good fiction is being passed off as memoir because some of the reading public feel they are wasting their time reading fiction. (I've had people say this to me!)

Liberal became a dirty word a while back, and I'm urged to call myself a progressive. [shrugs] Now the same thing is happening to my aspirations to write literary fiction. Good fiction raises us above the facts and lets us deal with higher truth.

Susan Strait is a terrific example.