Let’s Talk About RHONY’s #BookGate: The Great Ghostwriter Debate of 2014

Source: Bravo TV
Source: Bravo TV

Today I was emailing back and forth with a friend (shout out!) about the latest fight on Real Housewives of New York City. This whole thing between Aviva and Carole is really so bizarre. I cannot even with Aviva this season, and it’s only the second episode. I think she might actually be crazy. Not fun crazy like I-forgot-my-underwear Sonja, either. Like actual crazy.

If you haven’t heard, Aviva has published a memoir, one she originally asked for Carole’s help in editing.  My guess is that Carole blew her off – because, you know, editing a book is an actual job that people get paid for and not something you do for an acquaintance. Under the guise of a casual lunch to discuss writing, Aviva gets Carole talking about her book. Carole questions whether or not Aviva had her memoir ghostwritten. Now, for a memoir by a non-professional writer, this wouldn’t be very weird. As Heather brings up later in the episode, not everyone can write, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a story to tell.  Aviva says she wrote it herself. It was “like writing an email,” she says, which, no. Then she accuses Carole of having her memoir ghostwritten. You know, the one about losing her husband to cancer and losing two very close friends in a public, tragic accident. You know, the one that took her five years to get out. OH NO SHE DIDN’T. But she did – and even worse, she went on to tell each housewife that Carole had a ghostwriter, one by one in a gross and calculated display of what I can only assume is jealousy.

Did Carole come off a little high and mighty? Sure she did. But you know what? She defines herself through her writing and when someone equates a “long email” to that, it’s effing insulting.  Especially when the writing in question is something as deeply emotional as Carole’s first book.

So I don’t know for a fact whether or not Aviva had a ghostwriter. I honestly don’t know for sure about Carole, either. But let’s just take a look at each memoir’s opening page and see who the real writer is.

From What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love by Carole Radziwill

Source: Carole Radziwill
Copyright Carole Radziwill

Now, from Leggy Blonde: A Memoir by Aviva Drescher

When I was growing up, my parents had a country house in Delaware County in upstate New York near Oneonta. It used to be a barn. From the outside, the building looked pedestrian in this rural setting. But when you entered the house, you entered a world of ultracozy urban sophistication. My parents renovated it into a 1970s-style retreat with shag carpets, a pit fireplace, water beds, and Danish modern furniture. They dug a pond for swimming, and kept a chicken coop. As a child, few things were more gratifying than reaching into the trap door of the hen house and pulling out a still-warm egg. We had pigs and riding horses, and the garage housed a pair of snowmobiles.

My dad, George, was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn, who had become a successful Manhattan accountant. My mom, Ingrid, was German, a child of wartime who had come to America as a teenager and eventually became a model and Pan Am stewardess. She used to joke that he wanted her for the free travel. Dad was rough around the edges, always cursing and usually shocking people. Mom was elegant and refined, a stunning blond classic beauty. She was constantly saying, “Gorsghe!” with the sweetest German accent whenever he was inappropriate. They met when he was sleeping with one of her model roommates. It was love at first sight. By the time Dad told Mom about his wife and three children, she was already hooked. (Dad’s first marriage ended soon after. He had three young children, my half-siblings. Barbara, the oldest, lives in Oklahoma and has four children. Michele has one child and lives in New York. Her husband runs the Brotherhood Synagogue on Gramercy Park. Billy is an on-again-off-again drug addict and lives alone in Florida.)

Copyright Aviva Drescher

I mean I guess, “it used to be a barn,” is just as elegantly descriptive as, “at the edge of the floor where parquet meets the green lawn like Jay Gatsby on the terrace gazing out,” right?

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