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Posts Tagged ‘memoir’

       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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        There is a new biography coming out, called:  Here’s the story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice.  It is being released for sale tomorrow.  Over the years, it appears that Maureen McCormick, the actress who played Marcia Brady on the Brady Bunch television show in the 70’s lost her identity to the character that she played on that show.

         Having grown up during those Brady Bunch years…i know that Maureen was a television icon during that time because of the character that she played.  She was a trend setter.   Many young girls wanted to be Marcia.  The Brady Bunch was a huge part of the culture in the 70’s…even though the show was only on for about five years; it influenced a whole generation of young people and their families.

        As we now know, many childhood actors have gone on to have troubled lives because of the unique set of circumstances growing up with such an unhealthy balance of power, between the lifestyle of a child actor and normal growing up circumstances.  When a child actor makes the kind of money they do, has all kinds of adults jumping to their whims, has masses of people hanging on their every word and action…the balance of power in raising a child from youth to adulthood can get warped a bit in the entertainment business.  Many of the actors/actresses don’t listen to positive advice or instruction…they surround themselves with yes people and hangers on.  Too often we hear of young people in the industry who get into legal trouble or trouble with drugs/alcohol addictions because they don’t have an authority figure to keep them from making such mistakes.  Their relationships enter into difficulties because they don’t know if they are being liked for who they are or for who they play on television.

           I am looking forward to reading Maureen’s memoir; as i have heard bits and pieces over the years about her struggles after the Brady Bunch years.  I can’t imagine that it was an ideal way to grow up.  However, Maureen McCormick is now 52 years old.  I hope that by reading the story…that it instills in others some kind of wisdom in helping others not to repeat the mistakes that so many have made in similar journeys.

           Often times in these types of memoirs…much of the time and attention is focussed on the misdeeds, as opposed to the lessons learned; i hope that is not the case in this book.  It would be nice to have some success stories in the media on overcoming the odds of loosing yourself to your television character’s image.   In any case, there is a whole generation of people who will be interested in finding out how things progressed for the actress who gave so much enjoyment through her nemesis. 

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