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Well, At Least They’re Honest April 25, 2006

Posted by David Card in Media.

The NY Times links back to its original puffery on Kaavya Viswanathan.

    Opal Mehta is the kind of girl who might get a half-million dollars for her first novel, completed during her freshman year at Harvard, followed by a movie deal with DreamWorks. After all, she started cello lessons at 5, studied four foreign languages beginning at 6, had near-perfect SAT scores and was president of three honors societies in high school. To appear well rounded, she took welding.

    Except that Opal doesn’t exist. She is the protagonist of Kaavya Viswanathan’s new chick-lit-meets-admissions-frenzy novel, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life,” which is being published this week, at the very height — or depths, depending on your point of view — of the college admissions season, when many high school seniors are receiving decisions. But the book and movie deals happened in real life to Ms. Viswanathan, now a 19-year-old Harvard sophomore, safely ensconced in her room at Kirkland House.

Little, Brown reportedly paid her half a mil for a two-book deal based on a few chapters and an outline. Oh, and one more thing. She’s a plagiarist.

    Ms. Viswanathan, who said she planned to become an investment banker after college, finished writing “Opal” during her freshman year, in Lamont Library at Harvard, while taking a full course load.

Bet she’ll fit right in on Wall Street.

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