When Authors Go Rogue

About Three Cups Of Tea

In mid-March of this year (2017), I was recovering from jaw surgery. In the days before the surgery, I was shopping for comfort and convenience items. I was expecting the worst, and so was purchasing items that might make life more bearable. Namely, some new books. 🙂 One book was called Three Cups Of Tea, and the other title I had purchased was Autobiography Of A Yogi. From the moment I cracked the cover of Three Cups Of Tea, I was enamored. The book was about the journey of a man named Greg Mortenson. The first reason I loved the book was deep; the protagonist (Greg) was recounting his being forever caught in the fate of purveying cross-cultural acts of humanity. I swear that I was crying every other chapter. This book title was one of two that I purchased specifically to take my mind off of myself and my own predicament during my jaw surgery recovery. The writing style bringing me to tears seemed almost magical. And four weeks later, I finished the book so inspired, that I decided to look up the authors and learn more about them.

Bad Boys

As of now, it has been 30-days since I finished Three Cups Of Tea, a book billed as non-fiction. TOTAL Bummer! In my research and attempts to learn more — to get inside the head of such a brilliant writer — I learned some facts that disturbed me to-the-max. First, I found out that the book’s co-author, David Oliver Relin, had committed suicide. Two clicks later, I learn it’s because of all the sh*t he received, after it was revealed that MANY details of the book were completely fabricated. BUT, all those sweet tears I shed! Sheesh… what bad boys. The last 30-days since finishing the book have been strange, as I ponder the shared reality which makes writers and people who are writing, dishonest with each other. I guess everyone wants to tell a tale of wonderment. But still, curious if YOU have ever felt as cheated or disappointed as I did, with these authors?


YES. The authors had worked together and lied — by exaggerating details to make the book sale and gain publicity. This is not actually the first time I’ve read a “non-fiction” book that was later publicly discredited. But, for the sake of the subject matter of this book, which was centered around building schools for poor girls, this cheating on details was heartbreaking for me to consider. Granted, as an author judging another author, it is 1,000% still amazing how Relin wrote me into a frenzy. His genius was obvious! Perhaps, had he stayed alive to move on and adapt for a screenplay, I would still have watched a movie version of the printed story. However the genius may have affected me, I’ve learned (once, again) that I prefer my non-fiction writers to be in their higher levels of integrity.  

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