Magazine article Newsweek

Dear Diary-And Everyone Else, Too; 'I Don't Have Any Problem My Youthful Foibles Because I'm over Them Now,' She Says

Magazine article Newsweek

Dear Diary-And Everyone Else, Too; 'I Don't Have Any Problem My Youthful Foibles Because I'm over Them Now,' She Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Steven Levy

Megan wasn't invited to the party. Worse, everyone else in the world was there, except Megan and her friend Tonya. And that's not all. Megan learned that at the party "G," a guy Megan thought was her friend, was calling her "a brain" who "has no looks at all." And he said this in front of "the studs," the cool guys in the class whom he supposedly hated. Certainly a crummy way to begin the ninth grade.

So goes the angst-ridden existence of Megan Fitzmorris, who was 14 years old in suburban New Jersey that August day in 1987 when she documented this betrayal in the journal she'd been keeping since she was 10. Now she is Megan McCafferty, a 33-year-old mother, wife and published author, who found herself rudely thrust into the news recently. The attention came not for the third book in a successful series centered on the fictional diaries of young Jessica Darling (who bears some resemblance to her creator), but for the fact that some of that work found its way into a highly touted novel by Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan. (The 19-year-old Viswanathan has admitted that passages from McCafferty's "Sloppy Firsts" and "Second Helpings" were "inadvertently" included in "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life." The publisher has pulled Viswanathan's book and canceled a contract for a second novel.)

Following this literary contretemps led me to McCafferty's blog (meganmccafferty.com). There were no postings on how it felt to be a victim of plagiarism. Instead this so-called retro-blog had something much more interesting--each day visited the past, via an entry drawn from the author's real-life girlhood journals. Zits and all.

Some other bloggers delve into their past this way, and on pepysdiary.com you can find a daily posting from the celebrated diaries of Samuel Pepys. …

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