Saturday, May 06, 2006

Oh Kaavya, say it ain't so!

Huda is well aware of my fascination with the Kaavya scandal. Kaavya got a $500,000 contract to write two books and a movie deal to boot. As she stood on the precipice to become the next"it" girl, and her first book hit the bookstores, news exploded that she plagiarized. At first it was just Sloppy firsts she "borrowed" from and the publishers were just going to revise and repackage but now now glaring knock offs from the works of Salman Rushdie to Princess Diaries have been discovered and the book is out of print.

Here's what gets to me: Kaavya had no book when it all began. Her wealthy parents wanted their snookums to go to Harvard and hired a firm that specializes in kids to get to the school they want (services run upwards of 30,000). Write a book? Yeah that might get you in. So the firm hooked her up with Alloy publishing which helped her create the concept, outline the entire story and co-write the first four chapters. None of this would be known if it hadn't been for the scandal. Why would they hold her hand, you ask? It had nothing to do with writing but everything to do with image. Indian-American teen writing prodigy! How exciting and exotic! She will sell many many books! I feel duped. I would have read this book thinking "wow so young and such writing" when infact it wasn't her at all. Granted she must have had some talent but more important was the marketable image. Is book writing now like the singing/acting industry? As a wanna be writer I wonder if I'm going about this all wrong, instead of manuscripts I should be sending a cute picture of myself hoping a publishing agent will say "wow she's marketable" and then hope they'll hold my hand and babysit me through writing the book. Bitter? just a tad I suppose.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi I came here through a google search. I am trying to find the book!

Amani said...

What makes me sad, is that this scandal is going to make it much harder for Indians and other minorities to get book deals. Between her and James Frey, I may never publish a book :-(

Sylvia said...

I feel bad for her! She was still a minor when she did the contract!

Southern Masala said...

How sad. It's unbelievable the importance that people attach to ivy league school, especiallyHarvard, that they are willing to sacrifice everything, even their ethics, to get there. I never really cared about Ivy League. I'd rather be happy :).

Champ - Love Hound said...

I need your opinion about somethin' on my blog, do check it. *Smiles*

God bless you.....

mystic-soul said...

The whole thing just left bad taste in mouth !!. I hope one day she writes honestly "what actually happened behind the curtain". It appears the she was only 'pawn' of many players !!

mezba said...

What a shame.

When I write, I am CREATING something. When people read it, if it's not MY work, then what pleasure can I derive from it? I guess she was never a real writer to begin with, just someone out to make fame and forture.

Mia said...

I feel so sorry for her. I'm not trying to justify what she did but man you gotta wonder what was going on in her head. Didn't she realize she would get caught eventually? It's not like she stole a sentence her and there from an unknown author or blogger...lol I actually blame her parents. I can only imagine the amount of pressure she must have been under to live up to their dreams for her.

I actually read the book and picked up on some of the "stealing" because I had read several of the books she had plagiarized from but I thought surely I am mistaken. What I don't get it how no one in the publishing company picked up on it.

Enyur said...

Well there's goes her career! I must admit, I'm actually interested in reading her book though...I'm sure someone will make money off of this incident too.

Aisha said...

anon: amazon has books last i checked they'd come down in price

Amani: I thought the same thing! I was like great, now we'll all be looked at a little funny. But still we got people like Jhumpa Lahiri to give us some positive streotype spin control :0)

Sylvia: she was only 17, that's true.

SM: Yes! I never even heard of such firms before though. Unbeliveable

Champ, next study break I'll head over there:)

Mystic, that is very true, I feel bad she's takin all the heat for it when all the other people in the game are letting her. They are just as much to blame I think.

Mezba, yep just so ppl can look and say "aint she something?" not for the love of writing.

Mia- so you could tell the differences? They were obvious? If you, (and I'm assuming you're not a book editor/publisher/etc?) could figure it out how could they not have? I'm thinking they thought no one would notice?

Enyur, I do want to read it, I ordered it actually... we'll see how it is. I heard its not that good though.

hamesha: said...

"I feel duped...Is book writing now like the singing/acting industry?"

I feel duped in retrospect! Thanks for the post, I read about this twice in the Times and knew there had to be something, but it disappoints me all over again. Why??!?!

In a certain way I feel disgusted with bestsellers now...

Enyur said...

You know, I wanted to buy a Million Pieces too when that whole thing happened (the author's lies yada yada), but now I've lost interest in it...but let me know what you think about this book and whether it's worth reading.

Mia said...

Aisha because she stole primarly from "teen" books I guess. I guess the peeps who were doing her book had never bothered to read teen books. Also it wasn't even a sentence or two from what I heard it was actual paragraphs.

When the whole Million Pieces thing happened I couldnt even finish reading the book.

Aisha said...

Hamesha, yeah it makes you wonder if its really about the writing ya know?

Enyur, I was going to read that till the scanal and then lost interest. I dont know why I wasnt curious to read it as I am over this one. I will let you know how it is:)

Mia- if you click on the links "sloppy firsts" and "princess diaries" in this post you can see side by side comparisons of her knock offs from the books! The similarities are absurdly similar.

Chai Anyone? said...

very controversial front page news for a while now. sad though. really.

rehtwo said...

It irks me that people pay practically the amount of tuition at these schools in order to get their kids admitted to one. There isn't anything wrong with Harvard, and going there does bestow some advantage, but it's probably not worth a 30K investment to get in if you wouldn't otherwise. I hate seeing 12-year-old kids being dragged around Ivy campuses by parents convinced that their little darling MUST attend in six years.

Zak said...

You have to admit..her story would now make a great book..!

opinionatedinjerzee said...

i still think they need to kick her out of Harvard!!

momyblogR said...

How funny that you post this. A couple of days last week I read that book, lol!

It was fine, nothing fabulous by any means. I swear, how do people do something that is clearly wrong for profit?

I vote you send in a picture and write a book. You certainly won't need anyone holding your hand, your ability is obvious. And I promise to it read and NOT return it, lol!!

Aisha said...

chai it is sad..

mommyblogr, lol thanks for the vote of confidence!! :)

Rehtwo, do you really see this? I bet you do at MIT... wow. I can't imagine that kind of pressure. The thing is... I would be very happy if my kid ende dup at MIT (hypothetical kid that is) or Harvard, etc. BUT I'm not willing to do anything and everything to get it...

Opin, you know, I agree with you. She used the book deal agent stuff to get in. Would they have accepted her without it?

Zak- lol yes a "tell all" might sell well!

Tee said...

I hadn't heard about this. Wow, that burns me up, too.

I am also annoyed by celebrities who all of a sudden write "award winning" books. (Like Madonna's children's books.) Sure, maybe the books are good, but how many of us could writer good or even better books but just don't have the backing? It isn't fair.

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