“Odd Man Out”: The Blogosphere Reacts to NYT Article

Earlier today I posted an entry about an article in today’s New York Times which alleged that “many portions of [Odd Man Out] are incorrect, embellished or impossible.”

Several professional blogs have reacted to the story. Here are a few.

Orange County Register

OC Weekly

Portfolio.com

Regarding the latter, blogger Jeff Bercovici wrote:

Of course, for now, the author is sticking to his script, insisting there were, at most, a “handful of details” he might’ve invented to fill in memory gaps. But we’ve all seen how this plays out. The publisher — Viking, in this case — will dig in for a couple days as pressure mounts; then it will flip, toss McCarthy overboard and apologize to all and sundry.

Some of these bloggers have referred to A Million Little Pieces, author James Frey’s biography about his recovery from supposed alcoholism, drug addiction, and crime. The 2005 book, which earned Frey an appearance on Oprah, was exposed by TheSmokingGun.com to be a fraud.

Police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey’s book. The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw “wanted in three states.”

Bercovici wrote last December about a phony Holocaust memoir and commented:

With the book business in a deep swoon, no one is going to seriously consider adopting measures that could add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of publishing a title. And the lesson of Frey’s “A Million Little Pieces” was that readers don’t necessarily care whether a memoir is true as long as it packs a punch.

Still, while across-the-board fact-checking may be off the table, publishers interested in avoiding future humiliations would do well to take a page from the world of journalism. Here’s a little piece of advice every reporter hears not long after starting out: When a story sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Bercovici noted that the fake Holocaust book and another work about life in gangland L.A, that also turned out to be bogus were both published by Penguin — the same subsidiary of Viking that published Odd Man Out.

His December column was titled, “Phony Holocaust Memoir Won’t Be the Last.”

He was right.


UPDATE 7:45 PM PST — More articles on the New York Times revelations:

NBC Philadelphia “Baseball’s Million Little Pieces.

Village Voice “Times Pounces on Bogus Memoir, But Still Protects Another”.

The Sporting News “Baseball Memoir Turns Out To Be Fiction”.

DeadSpin.com “Crazy Baseball Memoir Probably Didn’t Happen”.

PowellsBooks.Blog “Mound of Lies”.

Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf.

Examiner.com “Matt McCarthy’s Baseball Memoir Stirs Questions About Truth-Telling”.

Can’t Stop the Bleeding “First Do No Harm To Easily Checked Facts: The Times on Matt McCarthy’s Memoir”.

About.com “Odd Man Out book under attack.”

IrishTimes.com “Doctor’s tall tales fail to stand up to examination”.

The Common Man “Faulty Memories”.

The Perpetual Post “Odd Man Out, or Who Do You Trust?”

Examiner.com “Washout pitcher’s book revealed to have massive errors”.

IvyGate “Kaavya Meets Aleksey Meets A Million Little Pieces”.

LibraryJournal.com “Another Memoir in Trouble? Baseball and Lilacs”.

SantaFeNewMexican.com “Anti-Fan: Despite advice, I forge ahead”.

BookListOnline.com “The New York Times: It Giveth and It Taketh Away”.

Yahoo! Finance “Odd Man Out is this year’s all-star baseball book”.

InsideCatholic.com “What’s The Truth Worth, Anyway?”.

Along with plenty of posts on amateur blogs across the nation …

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