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.
2 thoughts on “Novels are for fools”
On the positive, bravo to the investigative reporters.
The Rosenblat story is so sad. Why is Atlantic Pictures making a film based on a lie? Why didn’t Oprah check the story out before publicizing it, especially after James Frey and given that many bloggers like Deborah Lipstadt said in 2007 that the Rosenblat’s story couldn’t be true.>Genuine love stories from the Holocaust do exist. My favorite is the one about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt – the beautiful young art student who painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on the children’s barracks at Auschwitz to cheer them up. This painting became the reason Dina and her Mother survived Auschwitz. After the end of the war, Dina applied for an art job in Paris. Unbeknownst to Dina, her interviewer was the lead animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They fell in love and got married. It’s such a romantic love story. Another reason I love Dina’s story is the tremendous courage she had to paint the mural in the first place. Painting the mural for the children caused her to be taken to Dr. Mengele, the Angel of Death. She thought she was going to be gassed, but bravely she stood up to Mengele and he made her his portrait painter, saving herself and her mother from the gas chamber. >>Dina’s story is also verified to be true. Some of the paintings she did for Mengele in Auschwitz survived the war and are at the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum. The story of her painting the mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the children’s barrack has been corroborated by many other Auschwitz prisoners, and of course her love and marriage to the animator of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the Disney movie after the war in Paris is also documented. >>Why wasn’t the Rosenblatt’s story checked out before it was published and picked up to have the movie made?? I would like to see true and wonderful stories like Dina’s be publicized, not these hoax tales that destroy credibility and trust.