In retrospect, it should have been obvious that Margaret B. Jones was a literary fraud. Weren't the characters in her memoir about growing up a foster child in South Los Angeles, "Love and Consequences," just a little too archetypal to be true? Could anyone believe that Kraziak, the original gangster who recruited her to sell drugs for the Bloods gang and provided history lessons to his young charges, was a real person and not, say, a modern Fagin? Or that her foster mother Big Mom, a hardworking single grandmother raising five kids and scraping by through willpower alone, wasn't a composite of every mother-in-the-inner-city character ever invented by Hollywood?
It should have been obvious, perhaps, but it wasn't. Certainly it never occurred to her publisher, Riverhead Books, to make even the most rudimentary check into her background, which would have quickly revealed Margaret Jones to be a character created by one Margaret Seltzer. Seltzer, who as Jones claimed to have entered the foster system after a sexual assault at age 5 and went so far as to invent an ethnicity for herself -- half Native American and half white -- is in fact all white and grew up with her biological family in Sherman Oaks.