Monday, March 03, 2008

Author admits boring memoir is fantasy

Hohum County, Nevada

In a tearful statement here today 62 year old Emanla E. Rymton, author of a critically and commercially unsuccessful memoir about the joys of growing up in 50's America, admitted that her memoir, All Things Nice, is a complete fabrication from beginning to end. Ms. Rymton said "she didn't know what possessed her to publish that ghastly thing as my life story" but said that while she herself had never experienced any of the events in the book, the stories in it were drawn from the reminiscences of fellow residents of her old-age home. "I guess I just got sick of listening to them talk about all the pretty dolls they had", Ms. Rymton said.

Published last year, All Things Nice tells the story of an idyllic childhood in the suburban mid-west, spent playing with dolls, giggling about boys, and dreaming of white weddings and washing machines. The book, which the only critic who read it described as a 'saccharine snore-fest', and which is currently being made into a movie starring Lindsay Lohan, was an instant flop across the country, selling a total of 14 copies in the first month, including the three copies someone stole from Ms. Rymton's room.

It seems however, that the childhood Ms. Rymton describes never happened. Ms. Rymton never lived in a suburb outside Chicago, never owned a complete set of Barbies and did not spend her days cutting pictures out of Woman and Home to stick in her tinsel-and-ribbon filled scrapbook. Nor was Ms. Rymton ever a cheer-leader, in fact, she never even attended high school.

The child of a Mr. and Mrs. Rymtonski, a Jewish couple forced to flee their native Poland after the Nazi occupation, Ms. Rymton was orphaned at the age of 6 months when her parents were both killed in a mining accident in South Dakota. The rest of her family having vanished in the Holocaust, Ms. Rymton spent her childhood in a series of foster homes, where she suffered physical and sexual abuse, before running away to the Alaskan wilderness at the age of 12, where she proceeded to establish a working rapport with the grizzly bears and survived by hunting elk. A career as a drug-runner followed, then a stint in the CIA during the Nixon administration, followed by twenty years running covert operations for the Canadians in Northern Mongolia (as part of the series of top secret espionage missions described in Warren P. Aren't's thrilling book The Cold Shoulder War: The Race to be the Less Insignificant Neighbor).

When asked why she had chosen to conceal these facts, Ms. Rymton said that she felt like she needed "a different voice, a voice people would listen to, would respect, would understand". She also says that she apologizes for any disappointment her readers may feel upon learning of her true past, but that it was never her intention to trivialize the sufferings of the survivors of American suburbia, whom she described as "the true heroines of my story".

The revelation of the book's fictional nature caused little consternation, since no one has actually read it, but Simple and Huckster, the publishers of the book, issued a statement immediately following Ms. Rymton's expressing "their disappointment at being made the victims of this hoax, as well as of being deprived of this woman's real story, which we might actually have made of a profit off".

Ms. Rymton's statement is the third in a series of such revelations that have shaken the publishing industry recently, the other two being Margaret B. Jones' Love and Consequences and Misha Defonseca's Misha.

P.S. This just in: The reporter behind this news story just issued a statement saying that the entire report is a fantasy. In a tearful statement to his fellow journalists...

5 comments:

Space Bar said...

Heh!

Re Eskin's piece on Misha, Granta did an entire issue called Truth+Lies. Have you read it?

ggop said...

Her sister blew the whistle. That's pretty ethical (or intense sibling rivalry?)

lekhni said...

Perhaps their books might have done just as well if they had been labelled fiction. The books will sell if they are readable, right?

Who am I kidding? I guess this disease is caused by the publishers who'd like authors to be marketable and have unique life histories :(

Anonymous said...

What next? They are going to claim the Bible is fabricated too??
Inshallah!

But on a related note I was disappointed when I came to realize that Henri Charrière's papillon was mostly fiction. Ah the naivete of a 14 yr old...

Falstaff said...

SB: No, hadn't read that. Thanks.

ggop: Both perhaps? It's nice when these things go together.

lekhni: Oh, I don't know. I think memoirs and fiction writing have different audiences, and different standards.

anon: You may want to see this