The P-Word

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life : A NovelI was reluctant to jump on the band wagon on what seems to be the hottest blog topic around these days but this incident has made the local news here. Harvard author, Kaavya Viswanathan two book deal was cancelled and her book yanked from the bookshelf. I had one thought: would this be a collector’s item? Kidding.

Plagiarism has reared it’s ugly head again. Ms. Viswanathan allegedly plagiarized from two or more authors and what a shame, too. So much for her writing career. What’s that you say? Do I hear snorting noises? What about Janet Dailey you say, who was accused and found guilty of the same thing and still publishes? Scandals like this don’t stay around—long, unfortunately. Another publisher, maybe after a year or so will give her a pen name and publish her again.

I know writing is hard, looking at a blank screen can be difficult but this is what you wanted to do, right?  Supposedly you had a talent for…stealing, NO! I mean, for writing, right? Why copy someone else and with the invention of the Internet, how do you think you can get away with it today? I find it amusing. I’m sure the authors involved and victimized in this incident do not. Amusing in that it was so blatantly obvious.

And plus, Publisher’s Weekly did a review where I snipped this part of the quote: “Viswanathan’s eye-rolling intelligence shines through on every page.” How interesting. However, the reviewers at Amazon.com have been less than kind.

In college, all my professor had to do was insert my paper into some type of software on his computer and it would highlight all the similar phrases and guess what you got if it came back with too many similarities? Yeah, F.

Where is the work ethic these days?

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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7 Responses to The P-Word

  1. jmc says:

    Eye-rolling intelligence shining through on every page? I read Opal Mehta last week. Ignoring the alleged plagiarism brouhaha and reading the book for its own merits, I thought OM was fairly average for a teen chick lit book. Where was the brilliance hiding? Was it lurking? Did I miss it somewhere? I don’t know.

    The press attention before the plagiarism seemed kind of excessive, more related to the Harvard factor, in conjunction with the fact that Viswanathan looks like a smart, together, pretty teenager who is easily marketed to other teens, especially Asian teens who don’t have a huge voice in publishing as far as I know.

  2. Jane says:

    I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. Yeah, she plagiarized. Yeah, I know that is wrong. But what harm has happened. Has McCafferty sold less books? Has anyone been financially suckered? I doubt Viswanathan is going to be writing a teen/chick lit anytime soon. Plus she is the subject of public humiliation. I am just uninterested in this story.

  3. Karen Scott says:

    Jane, I totally agree. The thing is, I’d never even heard of Mcwhatever her name is, now I’m more likely to take a look at her books in future. The only bad publicity is no publicity at all.

    To be fair though, I think though that the reason this doesn’t upset me whatsoever is because I’m not a writer. I might have taken a different viewpoint if I was in the ‘industry’. Maybe.

    As for the whole Janet Dailey thing, although she’s still writing and probably still doing well, whenever I think of her, I think of what she did, so Viswa will forever be tainted with the scandal of what she did regardless of how well she does in the future.

  4. Keishon says:

    I was amazed that this made my local news! I was like wha-

    Jane, I completely agree with you and hear what your saying. This isn’t my career tho so for some writers this is a big deal.

  5. jaq says:

    Someone over on AAR refered to the rising media furor as a clusterf*ck. Viswanathan should ask Frey to pass the Vasoline. 😛

  6. Jane says:

    I do see a kind of trend here. We readers are a bit nonchalant – who cares with the price of books these days and the shitty work that is being published anyway. It’s not like we expect anything different, right? And Industry wonks (authors included) are up in arms.

  7. Keishon says:

    There is a lot of shit out there in print.

    A plea: Save the trees. We’re loosing too many trees.

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