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.