Monday, April 24, 2006

How Kaavya Viswanathan Got Caught

Numerous blogs (including Bookslut) are pointing to a report by Harvard's Crimson that sections of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life were lifted from other books, specifically Megan McCafferty's Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings.

I've read through some of the evidence and gotta say that some of the similarities are rather stricking, although most of them are so cliche that it's hard to condemn Viswanathan outright.

Now the fact that she lifted large parts of her story from teen comedies of the late 90s, particularly Popular, is a little more obvious.

The fact that she got a $500K advance for an entirely unoriginal novel is just heinous.

15 Comments:

At 12:12 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Wow. That's actually waiting for me at the library.

 
At 1:56 PM , Blogger Mike said...

So I could get maybe a 20k advance on any one of my numerous writings which if you know me are guaranteed original, and it'd be a bargain for the publisher... Out of my way!!!!

 
At 1:58 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

But are you (a) under 18 or (b) Indian? Because those are two big trends---which goes a long way toward explaining how a 17-year-old got that much money for that book.

 
At 2:08 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

I'm sure her going to Harvard didn't hurt.

 
At 5:15 PM , Blogger Liz said...

I'm on hold for that one, too. And I think I read an article about her... maybe in People?

 
At 6:06 AM , Blogger bdogg_mcgee said...

This isn't on topic, but I wonder if you're as excited as I am to see your boyfriend tonight?????

 
At 6:14 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

IF I was getting to see him, I'd be hugely excited. But I'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD or I figure out how to use iTunes and download it.

:-(

 
At 12:12 PM , Blogger Mike said...

I'm under 34 and Ukranian/Russian/Polish?Belgian, and those are a bunch of oppressed people throughout history, does that count?

 
At 12:43 PM , Blogger bdogg_mcgee said...

I will teach you how to use iTunes. I'm aghast that you won't be able to see him tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 7:30 PM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

i read that they're not going to print any more copies of Opal Mehta and they're refunding customers.

 
At 5:57 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Last I heard, they weren't going to pull the old copies but they would make changes in future printings and include an acknowledgment that some sections had been "inspired" by the other author.

 
At 7:45 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

wow. what a way to start her career. i don't buy for a minute that she wasn't copying. (she claims it was an accident.) i read megan mccafferty's books too and i'd never remember them word-for-word like that. then she claims she has a photographic memory...then wouldn't she remember where the passages are from????

oy.

 
At 8:24 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

The story keeps getting worse. So apparently she was working with this company---17th Street---that's basically a book packager. So it sounds like she may have had a whole lot of help with the book---as in, a committee of people helped her come up with the concept, plot, characters, etc. Shadier and shadier.

Now when am I going to get some credit for suggesting weeks ago that her novel was less-than-original? :-)

 
At 8:32 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Oh, apparently the publisher IS recalling the book.

 
At 8:38 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Alloy Entertainment. I saw they had partial copyright on the copyright page. Yikes!!!

 

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