sloppy sloppy sloppy

[asa book]0316059889[/asa] Every once in a while plagarism raises its head outside of the classroom. This time the accused is a young woman whose a Harvard undergrad, whose first novel (How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life) apparently borrows pretty directly from Sloppy Firsts, a novel that came out a year or so ago.

[asa book]0609807900[/asa] The sad details, if you care to look, are here, along with a comparison of the contested passages.

I see the similarities, and because there are quite a few of them, my guess would be that the courts are likely to decide in McCafferty’s favor. Which would mean considerable difficulties for Viswanathan, beyond legal and financial ones. Will she write another novel? Will she get it published?

What bothers me is how it all came to happen. This is obviously a bright kid, but then she was seventeen when she signed her first book contract. Seventeen. Seventeen is Mars. Seventeen is a universe all its own, no matter how smart you might be. And how does a seventeen year old working to get into Harvard even think about selling a novel? Where is the motivation? WHO is the motivation?

What I find really interesting about this is not so much the plagarism, but Viswanathan’s backstory.