What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Frozen was my second LA Theatre Works pick.  After loving God's Man in Texas, not only for the compelling story, but also for the production itself, then learning about this story dealing with serial killers, I was interested in hearing it.  When I finished it I thought man...I don't know how I feel about this.  But then I let it float around in my mind for a bit before writing this post and now, a week later, I find the play is still on my mind. 
The thing that bothered me about it is the plagiarism charge which has clouded the work.  Here's the story which involves, coincidentally, one of my most favorite people, Malcom Gladwell.  Dorothy Lewis, as you read in Gladwell's piece, accused Frozen's author, Lavery of plagiarizing her book.  Indeed, Lavery lifted some of it word for word, as you read.  I was horrified at first.  But when I read in this from Lewis, in Gladwell's article, "It was as if someone had stolen--I don't believe in the soul, but, if there was such a thing, it was as if someone had stolen my essence."  I thought...what a pompous jerk.  That doesn't excuse what Lavery did, but it didn't endear me to Lewis who obviously believes she is far, far above silly fools like myself who do, in fact, no only believe in the soul, but know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the soul exists.  Call me irrational or overly emotional for suddenly finding Lewis to be a toad, but hey, I'm not a professional reviewer, I'm just saying what I feel here.  By the time I read this in Gladwell's article, "Dorothy Lewis, for her part, was understandably upset. She was considering a lawsuit. And, to increase her odds of success, she asked me to assign her the copyright to my article. I agreed, but then I changed my mind. Lewis had told me that she "wanted her life back." Yet in order to get her life back, it appeared, she first had to acquire it from me. That seemed a little strange." I was cheering.
I also loved this from Gladwell, "There is a quote by Gandhi, it turns out, using the same two words, and I'm sure that if I were to plow through the body of English literature I would find the path littered with crimes of evil and crimes of illness"
I was reminded of the Golden Girls episode in which Blanche become furious with her sister when she thinks that her sister has written a steamy new novel based on her life.  It also reminded me of this, a far more important piece of work than anything Ms. Lewis will ever write.  (yeah, I guess that should be Dr. but I'll just leave it as Ms.)
I kind of want to say to Ms. Lewis, "Hey, since you don't have a soul, it couldn't have been stolen.  And since in the end, you think we all just rot away in a pine box, who cares?"  It makes me think maybe Ms. Lewis was looking for the bucks, not the essence.
So...Ms. Lewis...time to call the WAAAAMBULANCE!
Now, on to the play.
Frozen is told from the perspective of three people. Nancy, the mother of a ten year old girl who was murdered by a seriel killer, Ralph, the seriel killer and Agnetha, a psychiatrist who studies seriel killers and has interviewed Ralph. 
It is a truly moving play and I wonder if maybe Ms. Lewis is just jealous that she, in all her Dr. glory sold out and wrote a cheeseball book that was sure to capture the interest of the lovers of true crime paperbacks sold in airport newstands instead of either sticking to academia (where the soul is, apparently a laughable matter) or coming up with an authentic, thoughtful product from her time spent kissing Ted Bundy (no lie) and hanging out with other damaged souls, oh I mean, she would called them, what?  Damaged Essences?  I've also read in review of Ms. Lewis's book (which I won't bother to link to, because hey, it's my blog and I don't want to link to her book) that she spends a lot of pages talking about her gastrointestinal problems.  How intellectual. 
Kudos to Lavery.  The shame goes to Lewis for plagerizing Gandhi. 

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