That’s what Samuel Freedman of the New York Times calls Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard sophomore now in the midst of a plagiarism-fueled meltdown over her (or should that be “her”?) novel, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life.”
Freedman’s not so much commenting on Viswanathan’s sticky-fingered writing style, but, rather, the fact that she paid some $10,000 to $30,000 to a consulting outfit in order to help her get into Harvard — the equivalent, he says, of the steroids that Bonds claims he didn’t take in order to boost his home-run output.
Still, given that Viswanathan is now being accused of having lifted more than 40 passages from Megan McCafferty’s first two novels (Harvard Crimson coverage here; Boston Globe coverage here; Boston Herald coverage here), it would seem that Barry Bonds’ single-season home-run record of 73 is within her grasp.
Globe columnist Alex Beam, who dubs Viswanathan the “Queen of Schadenfreude,” predicts that the agency that helped her “conceptualize” the novel is going to wind up being accused as the guilty party. But if Beam is right, wouldn’t that mean that Viswanathan didn’t write any of “Opal Mehta”?
McCafferty herself is reported to be devastated by all of this, but she comes off as rather jolly on her blog. I would think she would be.
Meanwhile, the Weekly Dig has some fun today with my deathless prose. I admit to being dense enough not to have gotten it until I’d read a couple of paragraphs.