1/27/2006

Memoir or Make-Believe?

OK, folks. We're back from our trip to the corner bodega for toilet paper and Ramen Pride - and we brought along a little gift:

The Truth to Power Challenge

In the middle of watching Oprah's emasculation of James Frey yesterday and reading about the disclaimer slapped onto "Running Wth Scissors," we thought it would be worth taking another look at so many of the memoirs that have inundated our bookshelves in recent years. (Not that we've read any of them, mind you. We can barely get through the Post every morning.)

The Prize: To the investigator who uncovers the best lies in the most memoirs, lunch at Michael's with an actual book agent.

So, here's a list of memoirs to start. Over the next few days, we'll start adding details that are worth verifying from each one. Just Email me at msbaram@yahoo.com

My Friend Leonard (James Frey)
* DOES LEONARD EXIST? (There's speculation that Frey lifted much of his material from dead novelist Eddie Little's "Steel Toes" and "Another Day in Paradise")
* ARE THERE 6 GIOVANNI DI PAOLO WORKS AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO?
* WAS FREY A DOORMAN AT A BAR ON CHICAGO AVE?
* DID THE CHICAGO BULLS EVER BEAT THE KNICKS BY 30 POINTS (AND UP BY 18 AT THE HALF)?

More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction (Elizabeth Wurtzel)
* DID WURTZEL GET COCAINE DELIVERED TO HER IN THE LOBBY WHILE SHE WAS LIVING AT THE DOUBLEDAY EDITORIAL OFFICES?

Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking and Everything Else I Love in Life Except Sex (Susan Shapiro)

Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood (Koren Zailckas)
* DID 6 AOP SORORITY PLEDGES GET SO DRUNK THAT TWO OF THEM WERE HOSPITALIZED AND THE SYRACUSE CHAPTER WAS CLOSED?

Magical Thinking (Augusten Burroughs)

Running With Scissors (Augusten Burroughs)

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir (Nick Flynn)

The Sexual Life of Catherine M. (Catherine Millet)

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Dave Eggers)

The Kiss (Kathryn Harrison)

Liar's Club (Mary Karr)
* KARR GOES INTO AMAZING DETAIL ABOUT ASPECTS OF HER LIFE AS A 9-YEAR-OLD (SEE REVIEW IN MENTAL HELP NET'S BOOKSTORE) - HOW MANY ARE TRUE?

Out of Time (James Fountain)

Teacher Man: A Memoir (Frank McCourt)

Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)

Girls of Tender Age: A Memoir (Mary-Ann Tirone Smith)

Oh, The Glory of It All (Sean Wilsey)

My Life (Bill Clinton)

How to Make Love Like a Porn Star (Jenna Jameson)

Goat: A Memoir (Brad Land)

Chronicles, Vol. 1 (Bob Dylan)

Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles (Tony Swofford)

True Notebooks (Mark Salzman)

The Secret Life of Cowboys (Tom Groneberg)

I Bought Andy Warhol (Richard Polsky)

Stolen Lives: Twenty Days in A Desert Jail [Oprah's Book Club] (Malika Oufkir)

Personal History (Katharine Graham)

It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life (Lance Armstrong)

The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Andrew Solomon)

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (Anthony Bourdain)

The Dirt: Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band (Tommy Lee)

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about Thomas De Quincey? - Confessions of an Opium-Eater, my ass! He probably did a little snuff back at boarding school... and that was it.

1/30/2006 05:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Create more jobs for starving fact-checkers. After all, the publishing houses need them!

1/30/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In his book, Tony Bourdain fairly well lays out the whole, "yes, I went to prep schools and had lots of advantages growing up." disclaimer.

What he glosses over - or outright avoids - is the juicy stuff that should have been in the book, like how he got hooked on heroin and how he came off it.

I doubt there's anything in that book that would come under too much question. He's careful to tell you when he's changing a name to protect the innocent, like Bigfoot, the chef Bourdain claims once killed a man.

2/01/2006 02:09:00 AM  

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