You may wish to play “the hero” in your “own life,” as Dickens put it, but it’s all too easy to step off the heroic stage to find yourself a melodrama’s bit player — or worse, the villain.
Or, in a comedy, the fool.
Take Louise Linton, the Scots actress whose previous work has been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding her memoirs, In Congo’s Shadow, released a few months ago. In her book she relates her 1999 “gap year” experiences, in which she traveled to Africa and got caught up in the Second Congolese War.
THe book has been billed as “the inspiring memoir of an intrepid teenager who abandoned her privileged life in Scotland” and “a tale of lost innocence and one daring young girl’s bittersweet journey to the heart of Africa.” But some readers, from Zambia and the UK, “have taken to social media to claim there are inaccuracies in her story,” relates The Scotsman.
And have accused her of sporting “a ‘white saviour complex.’”
And, basically, told lies, #LintonLies being the hashtag.
You can see what she has stumbled into, here. Even if she told the truth to the best of her ability, she has written herself a role that others don’t like very much.
Her very role as storyteller may have betrayed her. For instance, last year she garnered attention for her “idyllic childhood at Melville — which has now inspired her forthcoming untitled horror movie.” Used to telling stories that work better when she is the center of attention, it’s no surprise that she may have, in her memoirs, fudged the truth a bit for dramatic effect. A little pride, a little drama, a little padding. And a lot more Significance.
Welcome to the big world, Ms. Linton. It’s a comedy.
Even when you don’t plan it that way.