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Deborah Feldman accused of fabrication in her Hasidic memoir


The Pub Lunch newsletter tells me there could be another ‘made-up’ memoir. Deborah Feldman’s book, Unorthodox, is a detailed account of her Hasidic childhood and how she eventually rejected the Hasidic way of life.

Pub Lunch writes:

“…a number of serious charges have emerged as to whether Unorthodox stretched the truth on multiple fronts, including the timing of when Feldman’s mother herself left the community; a sister whose existence is never mentioned; and a description of what is called a homicide that was, in fact, deemed a suicide by the coroner and New York State police.”

The NY Daily News has more details.

Sadly fake memoirs are nothing new. In fact they have been around for years. A famous example comes from the late 18th century when Thomas Chatterton wrote a number of poems and then claimed that they had been written by a 15th century monk named Thomas Rowley, and that he had merely transcribed them. Chatterton kept up the story until his death. And then there were the Hitlier diaries, and Go Ask Alice, and JT LeRoy, and James Frey.

Our feature on book hoaxes and literary frauds details the history of fakes in literature.

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Richard Davies

One Response to “Deborah Feldman accused of fabrication in her Hasidic memoir”

  1. Had Ms Feldman behaved in Beth Jacob of the Lower East Side ( a way more moderste school, absent of hasidim), and not gotten kicked out for terrorizing the teachers, she could have gone the Beth Jacob route (a way more moderate school than the Hasidic school she ended up in) all the way and gone to college, as more Beth Jacob girls do today, than not!

    Then Satmar (a Hasidic school) takes the reject in, and she mocks them!

    $imon & $chuster did in depth research, obviously, into the info she offered and her omissions (ahem).

    All $imon & $chuster has to say is that the book is a personal memoir. (Doesnt neccessarily have to be an accurate picture obviously. Details and facts can be omitted to increase the salaciousness of the book being marketed).

    Anything for more dough.

    Hey, can I sell $imon & $chuster the Brooklyn Bridge? Perhaps theyd buy it, if they thought they could gain monetarily.