Supposedly publishers publish books they know will sell and sell big. These include new titles by bestselling authors, tie-ins to blockbuster movies, and books by or about celebrities. I can’t argue with the first two choices, but I do take exception to the last, namely, what elevates a person to celebrity status? A hiker who manages to survive for a week while lost in the woods? A plane crash survivor? A pilot who lands his plane safely in the water? I would say yes to all of those. Maybe their stories don’t qualify for entire books, but each has done something that makes telling their tale worthwhile.
What I don’t think qualifies as a celebrity is a husband or wife who signs a contract to write all about his or her spouse because that spouse is a recently disgraced public figure. The latest to capitalize on publishers’ quests for juicy tell-alls is Jenny Sanford, the wife of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. You know, the guy who flew off into the sunset to be with his Argentine lover without bothering to leave emergency contact information should his state suddenly need his impeccable leadership. What he did was despicable on so many fronts. And don’t get me wrong: I sympathize with his wife, just as I do Elizabeth Edwards. But that doesn’t mean I want to read a 214-page book about Mrs. Sanford’s trials and tribulations. Seriously, doesn’t the American reading public deserve better?