Another fabricated memoir

This time, it's “Love and Consequences,” the already acclaimed story by Margaret B. Jones (actually Margaret Seltzer) about growing up in South Central and running drugs for members of the Bloods. Except it's exactly that - a story. Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA, is recalling all copies of the book and has canceled Seltzer’s book tour. She has never lived with a foster family, nor is she half Native-American, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Seltzer actually grew up in Sherman Oaks with her all-white biological family. Seltzer apparently fessed up during an interview today with the NYT. "I was really torn and I thought it was my opportunity to put a voice to people who people don’t listen to,” Seltzer said. (I hope she comes up with a better reason than that.)

Sarah McGrath, the editor at Riverhead who worked with Ms. Seltzer for three years on the book, said she was stunned to discover that the author had lied. “It’s very upsetting to us because we spent so much time with this person and we felt such sympathy for her and she would talk about how she didn’t have any money or any heat and we completely bought into that and thought we were doing something good by bringing her story to light,” Ms. McGrath said. “I continue to feel deeply sad about what’s happened here, but there’s a huge personal betrayal here as well as a professional one.”


Ms. Seltzer added that she wrote the book “sitting at the Starbucks at the corner of Crenshaw and Stockyard. People would come in and say, ‘What are you doing?’ because I would be sitting there all day every day. I would talk to kids who were Black Panthers and kids who were gang members and kids who were not gang members.” Ms. McGrath said that she had numerous conversations with Ms. Seltzer about being truthful. “I can’t tell you how many conversations she and I had about the need to stick with the facts,” Ms. McGrath said. She added: “She seems to be very, very naïve. There was a way to do this book honestly and have it be just as compelling.”

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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