Sunday, 3 December 2017

False Memoirs?

I see I visited the library last spring - no surprise there. However I took photos of a display about a group of books, with the title 'False memoirs? Decide for yourself'. I'd only heard of a couple of them, but was intrigued by the titles and the idea they might be questioned. The collection included:

The Girl with No Name, by Marina Chapman. This lady describes the experience of having been raised by monkeys. 

Papillion, by Henri Charriere. You may have seen the film, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. A surprising number of these potentially false books have been made into movies.

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson. This is a man telling about building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Controversy follows. Sad that his co-author committed suicide.

Worlds Apart, by Azi Ahmed. Muslim girl trained to be a housewife joins the SAS instead. Not everyone agrees with her account of that experience.

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote. Originally hailed as 'pioneering work in true crime genre', later there were some flaws uncovered.  

Sybil, by Flora Rheta Schreiber.   I remember the TV show starring Sally Field and I believe that many years ago I actually read the book. Turns out it was all a hoax.

Don't Ever Tell, by Kathy O'Beirne. About her experience of abuse at home and in Catholic institutions, and then being called a liar by family members. True or not true, it doesn't sound a very pleasant book to read. 

The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz, by Dennis Avey. Did he or didn't he?

Go Tell Alice, by Beatrice Sparks as Anonymous. Published in 1971 as an actual diary of a teenager on drugs, it is now thought to be anti-drug propaganda by Sparks, a Morman youth counsellor. I totally missed this book as a teenager and have only discovered it now - 46 years late to the party...

The Long Walk, by Slavomir Rawicz. We're talking really long walk: 4000 miles from Siberia to India. Easy to dismiss as unfeasible but if he didn't, apparently it is thought someone did.

Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey, by Blain Harden. So there are some inaccuracies. 

If these weren't enough I found this article which lists a few of them, plus others, including It's Not About the Bike, by that man I pretend never existed.

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