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Gang memoir exposed as fraud

March 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
"Love and Consequences" is the title of the supposed memoir. Between the lines is a story of deception that enabled the author Margaret Seltzer to get her book published and praised by critics. At least until Seltzer was revealed as a fake and the books ordered back to the publishing house.Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena cancelled a book signing scheduled for Thursday.

The grist for her story was plentiful, writing about life in South Central Los Angeles where just last week eight people including children were sprayed by gunfire. Seltzer, writing under the name Margaret Jones, said she was a mixed-race foster child who joined a gang and sold drugs.

The real story: She was raised in an upscale community of the San Fernando Valley, in Sherman Oaks.

Her education was not on the mean streets, but at Campbell Hall, a private school.

It is the second scandal for the publisher Riverhead Books.

Opray Winfrey had praised James Frey, author of "A Million Little Pieces," until she learned the story of his drug adiction was largely fiction. Booksellers wonder why the publisher was not more careful.

 

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