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The McCafferty Series

[In the photo (L to R) on my desk: 'Sloppy Firsts' by Megan McCafferty, 'Second Helpings' by Megan McCafferty, 'Charmed Thirds' by Megan McCafferty, and 'How Opal Mehta got Kissed, got Wild, and got a Life' by Kaavya Viswanathan]

Just received the three Megan McCafferty novels in the mail from Amazon.com .
When the Opal Mehta book became controversial two months ago, I was filled with a sense of curiosity as to exactly how much similarity there was between the Kaavya Viswanathan's Opal Mehta book and 'Sloppy Firsts' and 'Charmed Seconds', the two books by McCafferty from which Viswanathan is said to have "borrowed" some sentences. So first, I went out on a treasure hunt looking for any Opal Mehta copies that might still be lying on shelves somewhere or on the net. In my anxiety to get the book, and rightly so before it was called back by the publishers, I ended up with two copies of the book. (So if any one of you want a like-brand-new copy of Opal Mehta, no longer available in the market, contact me, and I'd readily sell a copy at an exorbitant price ;-) ). Then, I ordered Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings from Amazon, since they didn't seem to be available in India. In the process, my eyes landed on Charmed Thirds, the newest McCafferty book, and I got a copy of that as well.

I still have to read the McCafferty series before I can comment on textual similarities with Viswanathan's book. But I did see another similarity the moment I saw the books: the girls. All covers of McCafferty's novel sport a girl's legs/thighs or in case of 'Second Helpings', the body upto the lips; but NEVER shows the complete face. The Indian Time-Warner edition of Opal Mehta, which I have, too shows a girl up to the lips (not whole face) on the cover and a girl's legs on the back cover (see pics on left).

A lot has already been said on Kaavya's acts of plagiarism, and I won't belabor the point. I will add one comment though: as it appears from newspaper reports, no whole sentence exactly matches between Kaavya's and Megan's work, only certain paragraphing constructions and vocabulary are similar. Just goes to show you how stringent intellectual copyright laws and their implimentation are in some parts of the world as against India. One such example:

From page 7 of McCafferty'’s first novel: “Bridget is my age and lives across the street. For the first twelve years of my life, these qualifications were all I needed in a best friend. But that was before Bridget'’s braces came off and her boyfriend Burke got on, before Hope and I met in our seventh-grade honors classes.

From page 14 of Viswanathan'’s novel: “Priscilla was my age and lived two blocks away. For the first fifteen years of my life, those were the only qualifications I needed in a best friend. We had first bonded over our mutual fascination with the abacus in a playgroup for gifted kids. But that was before freshman year, when Priscilla'’s glasses came off, and the first in a long string of boyfriends got on.”

(from The Harvard Crimson, full article and more examples HERE)
Generally, when Dad ordered my SAT books from Amazon.com, he would opt for the faster (and more expensive) shipping methods. However, this time, since there was no great urgency for the McCafferty books, I opted for the slowest method of international shipping (which cost me $22 anyways). That was over two months ago. And I got the books today. Now I know what a wise decision it had been to get the SAT books via Express delivery.

[Those who want to read more on the Viswanathan controversy, search it up on google, or go NYTimes, Newshour, Harvard Crimson or Another Blog's Post]

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