David Davis adds to the critical chorus in his review of Odd Man Out for the Los Angeles Times. Click Here to read the review.
Davis interviewed McCarthy the day afterThe New York Times published a scathing review that concluded many parts of the book were “incorrect, embellished or impossible.”
Much of the article covers familiar territory for those of you reading my posts covering the Odd Man Out controversy. What’s new are previously unrevealed details about how the book came to be published:
He says he was inspired to write “Odd Man Out” after former colleagues began making contributions on the field. Guys like pitcher Joe Saunders and second baseman Howie Kendrick, who now play key roles for the big-league team in Anaheim.
The book, McCarthy says, came from two Mead notebooks of material he kept during the 2002 season, writing at night and during mind-numbing 17-hour bus trips. Four years later, he began to shape the narrative. He showed a draft to a college friend, Sports Illustrated staff writer Ben Reiter, who gave it to Chris Stone, the magazine’s baseball editor. Stone steered McCarthy to Scott Waxman’s literary agency, which sold it to Viking.
Reviewer Davis posed this question:
Still to be determined is McCarthy’s legacy. Will he be remembered as this generation’s Jim Bouton and Pat Jordan, authors, respectively, of the baseball classics “Ball Four” and “A False Spring”? Or, is he the latest iteration of James Frey, author of the faux memoir “A Million Little Pieces”?
His answer came at the end of the article:
The controversy appears to be driving sales, with “Odd Man Out” climbing the bestseller lists. But with McCarthy’s credibility undermined, it’s clear that this book is no “Ball Four” or “False Spring.”
UPDATE March 14, 2009 11:00 PM PDT — Los Angeles Times blogger Carolyn Kellogg comments on why “memoirs should be honest,” to use her words, citing McCarthy’s book as an example.