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>I’m enjoying the juicy exposes of James Frey and JT Leroy, despite not having read a word by either. (Running with Scissors is my sole acquaintanceship with the sordid memoir genre, and I didn’t believe it for a minute.) Anyone else here old enough to remember Alleen Nilsen’s “The House that Alice Built,” a very un-library-literature-like look at Beatrice Sparks published in School Library Journal in 1979? It was great. There’s a good account of the Go Ask Alice controversy here.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing says:

    >Well, anyone who makes the Ophrahites, getting drunk on their own quick emotions, look even more idiotic, is doing a good deed. What is the fuss, anyway? Just stick the books in the fiction section with the rest of our lives and get on with things. I, myself, am very busy since my sled dogs all developed bursitis in their front left paws, setting up camp and tagging arctic rats.

  2. >Running with Scissors is–purportedly –about a family I know well. One of my son’s first girlfriends was a granddaughter. Very little of the book is true and the family is suing the author whom they feel has made awful mock of their lives and opened them up to the most awful rumors and innuendos in town. If he had called the book fiction (which it is) they would have had no recourse. But by claiming over and over it’s a memoir. . .

    Glad that you, a careful reader, nailed it, Roger.


  3. rindambyers says:

    >”Go Ask Alice” was/still is REQUIRED reading for high school students?

    No wonder so many teens and adults alike get fooled by stuff like this.

    WHATEVER happened in public schools to authors like Shakespeare for required high school reading?

    I can’t speak as an expert here. My sole experience with required reading in the public school system, high school OR gradeschool OR junior high school, was with “Lord of the Flies” and “1984,” and half the class walked out of class in protest before the second book was done–
    without any major fuss, I might add. I escaped to the high school journalism class where truly creative things were going on…

    I get more deeply grateful every day for my homeschooling experience and the fact that my parents, evangelical missionaries that they were, NEVER required or forced me to read ANYTHING…not even the Bible…

    Rinda M. Byers

  4. >Perhaps we ought to create a new category of books. A cross between fact and fiction. It can be called “Faction.”

  5. shewhousuallydoesn'tdothistypeofthing says:

    >That would pretty much be all fiction. Or all non-fiction. Who’s telling the story and who’s ox is being gored?

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