Saturday, January 01, 2011

Getting details wrong

When a writer makes a serious factual error I'm thrown from the story. That just happened a few minutes ago while I was reading Luis Alberto Urrea's story "Amapola" in By Hook or By Crook and 27 More of the Best Crime & Mystery Stories of the Year (Tyrus Books, 2010). I'd barely started reading the second page of the story (page 504 in the book) when I stumbled across:
"We met in my senior year at Camelback High. Alice Cooper's old school back in prehistory--our big claim to fame, though the freshmen had no idea who Alice Cooper was."
Alas, neither Alice Cooper (the singer) nor most of Alice Cooper (the band) attended Camelback High. Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier), Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, and Dennis Dunaway attended Cortez High. Only drummer Neal Smith attended Camelback High.

Did the author do his research by listening to old Alice Cooper albums? In the song "Alma Mater" on the School's Out album someone (probably Alice) sings "But you know, it breaks my heart to leave you, Camelback, my high school."

So here's a tip for would-be writers: Don't rely on the information contained in song lyrics when there are other, more-reliable sources for factual information.

1 comment:

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Considering I have seen the Camelback reference in other publications,it is possible the author saw those references and did not rely on the song lyrics.