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Archive for December 31st, 2008

       Yes Oprah is rich and powerful, yes, people hang on her every word…but, with the recent memoir, “Angel at the Fence” written by Herman Rosenblat; some people are looking to point blame at Oprah after finding out that the memoir was based on a falsehood.   Come on, don’t blame Oprah!

        Look the thing is…Oprah gives her endorsement to books that move her.  So what, if this book was written as a work of fiction the story would still be good.  The alleged falsehood of how the couple in the book met; upon which the premise of the book was based, is not any reflection on Oprah.  Herman was a survivor of a concentration camp.  He told a version of meeting his wife as having taken place when the “angel” would bring him apples and bread to the fence of the concentration camp…virtually keeping him alive and helping him to survive the experience.  

         In truth,what was promoted as a love story extraordinare was a lie; they actually met on a blind date many years after his experiences in the concentration camp.  It is a terrible thing to tell everyone a lie about the roots of his marriage; expecting others to perpetuate the myth…just to sell a book.  The Rosenblat’s son did not agree with the falsehood and says he didn’t want anything to do with it. But think about this, when people that his family knew learned of the the writing of the book…and were complimentary….how did his parents expect him to act?  Was he supposed to swallow the truth and pretend that the story being told was the truth?  Or was he to contradict his parents whom I am sure he loves?  What a predictament to put your child in!

         Even though the beginning of the Rosenblat’s relationship is said to be untrue…Herman’s experiences of survival in the concentration camp would have been a very good memoir; one which would have stood up well enough on it’s own, without the lie.  But, the lie is on the author…not on someone who read the book and recommended the book to others not knowing the truth.

          So, again I say…don’t blame Oprah for something in which she had no way of knowing was untrue.  If anything, it should reflect back on the publishing industry.  They are responsible for how they publish and package a book.  If they are going to put a description of the book as a memoir…then they have the responsibility of determining whether or not it is in fact a memoir.  Still, a memoir is a recollection of how one remembers events from their past…and unless the person in charge of publishing the book was there in the past…there has to be some free benefit of doubt that the author is telling the truth.  Ultimately, it is the author of the book that is responsible for whether or not the truth is being published.  In this case, no one else carries the weight of the falsehood more than the person who KNOWS IT IS A FALSEHOOD! 

        The sad thing is that this experience and others like it…only make it tougher for writers to break into an industry that is already famous for being difficult to get published in.   Who deserves to lose the loss of respect over this book for an abuse of trust…the publishers, the author, Oprah or the agents , or the publicity people?

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