Identifying Memoir Hoaxers

Margaret Soltan makes an interesting observation on her blog about all the recent memoir hoaxers. She writes:

Consider these author photos of a few (there are many more) recent memoir hoaxers. 
What do they have in common?  They all say:  Look directly at my big sad eyes.  I have deeply suffered.
Perhaps we can ask legitimate writers to assume a different pose.  That way we can identify the hoaxers.

The authors shown are, from left to right, Margaret Seltzer, Norma Khouri, Helen Demidenko, and James Frey.


Posted on Wed Mar 05, 2008


It's presumably just a reflection of the style of photo you want to promote a "triumph of adversity" type of memoir, the naked, vulnerable, nothing to hide, "Here I am" kind of look. I'd imagine if you looked at legit efforts, they'd feature similar photos. You'd hardly expect the portrait of addiction to sport something whimsical or chipper.
Posted by Dusty  on  Wed Mar 05, 2008  at  01:07 PM
For my first book, "There's No Meat In Mediocracy", my jacket photo was actually a picture of Elmo Lincoln, the famous actor, as a young man. As a result, I was never able to attend any of the numerous book-release functions, for fear of being exposed. There's trade-offs and sacrifice in any worthwhile endeavor. BTW, Elmo Licoln's estate tried to sue me, but when they found out I had only sold nine copies, they gave up. True story
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed Mar 05, 2008  at  11:22 PM
The expressions on the faces of those authors remind me of the publicity photos used by any randomly-chosen 70's rock group.

As my friend Alan Abel says, "A serious demeanor implies serious intent."
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Thu Mar 06, 2008  at  02:14 AM
Actually, Margaret Seltzer looks more as though she wants to make the viewer suffer - probably by inflicting an injury with those earrings. An insight into her motivation for writing?
Posted by Mr Henderson  in  London UK  on  Thu Mar 06, 2008  at  01:49 PM
Commenting is no longer available in this channel entry.