Monday, February 4, 2008

Baeh controversy

You may or may not have heard that an Australian newspaper reported has questioned Ismael Beah's facts in Long Way Home. I have been following the controversy with interest, especially after James Frey's eventual admission that parts of his A Million Little Pieces were exaggerated. Of course the thing about true stories is that there supposed to be true! If Beah made honest errors in his time line, why not just admit it and move on. After all, memory under normal circumstances; and war can hardly be considered normal, can be sketchy. If, however, he was exaggerating for the purpose of capturing our attention as was James Frey, this is a whole other matter. Still, if the latter is the case, then it says an awful lot about readers today doesn't it? A story can't just be terrible or tragic, it has to be so horrendous that it shakes us to our very core. Otherwise it simply isn't worth our time. How very sad for us.

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