Church-bashing memoir a fake

I found this article interesting – I wonder how many people who believe the original allegations will ever hear that they have been debunked?

**Mis lit: Is this the end for the misery memoir? **

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 05/03/2008

As two ‘mis lit’ memoirs destined for the bestseller lists are revealed to be works of fiction, Ed West reports on the almighty backlash against a classic of the genre

It was a childhood tale of woe that touched the public’s heart. Kathy O’Beirne’s 2005 memoir, Kathy’s Story: A Childhood Hell Inside the Magdalene Laundries, painted a relentlessly grim picture of growing up in 1960s Ireland. Entitled Don’t Ever Tell in Britain, it shifted 400,000 copies, making O’Beirne the second best-selling Irish non-fiction writer of all time, after Frank McCourt, whose Angela’s Ashes had been no laugh-a-minute either.

O’Beirne told of being tortured by her labourer father, experimented upon in a psychiatric hospital, and raped by no fewer than four priests and a policeman. Then there was her spell in a Magdalene laundry, one of Ireland’s notorious Church-run homes for “fallen women”, where, aged 14, she gave birth to a daughter. A reviewer at the time wrote: “Her story is so horrific, it is almost unbelievable.”

Which, upon reading the book, was the reaction of Hermann Kelly, a Derry-born journalist. “Alarm bells started ringing,” he says. “Even in the introductory chapter, every single thing is black and white. If you were a betting man, the statistical probability of someone having so many terrible events in their life stretched credibility.”

According to Kathy’s Real Story, Kelly’s exposé of O’Beirne’s book, published in the UK next week, Don’t Ever Tell is not so much misery memoir as a great work of fiction.

It’s worth reading the entire article.

All I can say, it took long enough to expose this.

Thank God.

This isn’t new. Many misery memoirs have been fake. Try “Rebecca Brown, M.D.”, “Elaine”, Alberto Rivera, That woman who was exposed back in '01, I can’t remember her name, who told of life in a commune, Mike Warnke, “Lauren Stratford”, and many more over the decades. Then there were the early ones, including but not limited to Maria Monk. People have always wanted to know what a different life is like and how it would be possible to survive great misery, and there have always been people who have trouble telling truth from fantasy and fears.

And a late entry from the NY Times:

In “Love and Consequences,” a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.

The problem is that none of it is true.
Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.

I don’t understand why “misery memoirs” are so popular in the first place. Does it make the reader feel better that someone else’s life is so terrible?

While we’re at it, don’t publishers have fact-checkers on staff anymore? Or were they all downsized during mergers?

And what about Naomi?

Misery memoirs make people feel like hardship can be overcome, and like someone understands that the world is unfair. It can also just be exciting, the tension of wondering how the person will get through it.

Here is another one:

Massachusetts author [Misha] Defonseca, who wrote “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years,” admitted Thursday through her lawyer that her memoir was fabricated. Published in 1997 by [Jane] Daniel’s one-woman operation, the book told the tale of a little Belgian Jewish girl who trekked across Europe on foot during World War II, searching for her deported parents and eluding capture by hiding with packs of friendly wolves. The book was a bestseller in Europe, translated into 18 languages, and the basis for a hit French movie now showing across the continent. After documents emerged that discredited Defonseca’s story, her Belgian lawyer issued a statement admitting that she isn’t Jewish and that she spent the war safely in Brussels.

Author Misha Defonseca admits Holocaust memoir is a fake

They may help people feel that hardship can be overcome, but how will they feel when they find out it was a fabrication? Hopeless??

:eek: :eek: :eek:

Stuff like this:
*]But what makes the O’Beirne saga so troubling, Kelly believes, is that it fuels Ireland’s obsession with clerical sex abuse, and the abuse-claim industry. O’Beirne herself accused Fr Fergal O’Connor, founder of the homeless hostel Sherrard House, of raping her in the 1970s. The investigation took a year, during which the 77-year-old University College Dublin professor was prevented from visiting his own workplace. Yet Fr O’Connor was virtually crippled by arthritis when the alleged crimes took place, unable even to shake hands because of the pain, according to a friend. The priest was exonerated two days before his death.[/LIST]- quite apart from the wickedness of making such false assertions, is terribly stupid, because it’s going to make well-founded accusations of abuse that bit more likely to meet with disbelief :frowning: And that does nobody any favours.

I used to work part time at a bookstore and you would not believe how popular misery memoirs are. We sold lots and lots and lots of copies of Dave (A Child Called It) Pelzer’s memoirs. Even fiction is not immune. There’s a writer, Lurleen McDaniels, whose books were described by a collegue of mine as, “the dead teenager novels”. They are massively popular with the emo girls.

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