I don’t get too many emails about my expose of Steinbeck and my debunking of “Travels With Charley,” but most of them are pretty smart and supportive.
Then I get really silly/dumb emails like this one:
“You sad, sad man. Why couldn’t you leave it alone AND us with our reading pleasure ? What’s next, the REAL invasion of Poland or the TRUE story of the Omaha Beach landing? It’s history and doesn’t need the bones laid bare.”
I hope this is from a 12-year-old, but if not, here’s my annoyed response.
“Perhaps you don’t mind if famous writers make up books and pass them off as true accounts; perhaps you don’t think there’s anything wrong about a major publisher, Viking Press, making tens of millions of dollars selling a book under false pretenses; perhaps you would rather remain ignorant of the truth about “Charley” so that you can continue to believe your romantic notions about a book that is not only full of fictions and lies but is not a very good book; I’m a journalist who set out on a mission to faithfully retrace Steinbeck’s route but quickly learned that his book was mostly fiction and a lot of carefully crafted lies. There’s nothing sad about what I did or who I am. In the real world, this is what honest journalists do — follow the facts as they find them/see them and report the results honestly. If you can’t take the truth on this silly book like a man/woman, what do you do when you find out the truth about things that matter. Unless you’re about 12, I’d say it’s time to grow up.”