The Packager and the Plagiarist, Continued

I thought Kaavya Visnawathan was tough on the Today Show this morning. Katie Couric played the strict mother; she wanted her to break down like a good 19-year-old and admit she had copied straight from Megan McCafferty. When Visnawathan didn’t crack and said the dog ate my homework—yes she had read Megan’s books many times over, but any resemblances are strictly coincidental—Couric said, “Why did you come on the show?” Visnawathan insisted it was to explain herself. Couric said, “Some would say you didn’t explain anything.”

The anchor did a good, sophisticated job. While the “writer”‘s tough performance (and the media’s fawning backstory to the comedown) only upped the ante. When Visnawathan said she wanted to talk to McCafferty to apologize—for what, unconsciously unintentionally lifting?&#151she seemed to be jumping about 10 steps ahead in the James Frey playbook. It was bogus and unearned, and will only sharpen the swords of envy.

Compare Visnawathan’s heartfelt debt to McCafferty to this from the Crimson

But when The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J. asked Viswanathan about the inspiration for her book last week–before the similar passages were reported–she responded, “Nothing I read gave me the inspiration.”