Seriously, I think I’m wasting my time writing a novel. The fame and fortune these days is in fake memoirs.
Case in point: today’s New York Times story on Herman Rosenblat, an actual Holocaust survivor who’s not-so-forthcoming memoir Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived isn’t so true at all. In fact, it’s apparently just a sappy, completely false account of how Rosenblat met his wife (Click here, here and here for The New Republic‘s investigative reports that led Rosenblat to admit his fraud).
For at least the last decade, Rosenblat and his wife have been peddling this tale of how he was a boy in a German concentration camp (true) and she was a girl who tossed apples to him over the fence (false). Then years later they met on a blind date (apparently true) and discovered they already knew each other from the camps (apparently completely bogus).
“[Rosenblat’s tale is] the single greatest love story, in 22 years of doing this show, we’ve ever told on the air,” said Oprah Winfrey, who has had Rosenblat on twice and already has some experience with bogus memoirs.
Cynical lying and fraud aside, guys like Herman Rosenblat and James Frey really seem to understand that in today’s cultural landscape, cynical lying and fraud can, if properly managed, turn into fame and fortune that far outstrip schmucks like me who still believe that memoirs are the realm of checkable facts and novels are for made up stuff like self-dentistry and girls who toss apples over death camp fences.
I mean, Frey’s A Million Little Pieces is still in print and for sale! And while Rosenblat’s actual memoir may be toast, he’s still got a movie deal in the works. Clearly, people who sell lies as facts know how to get things the done. The rest of us are mere pretenders.