Janie B. Cheaney

Janie is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine based in Missouri. She writes novels for young adults, is the author of the Wordsmith creative writing series, and reviews books at RedeemedReader.com. Follow Janie on Twitter @jbcheaney.

Their so-called lives

| When popular mémoir turns out to be wholesale fiction
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 4/05/08, 12:00 am

Daniel Dafoe's Robinson Crusoe was, as we say today, "based on a true story": the ordeal of Alexander Selkirk, shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Chile for five years. In fact, when the book first appeared in 1719, the public believed it was a true story and Crusoe an actual person. Credulous readers could be excused on the ground that they were experiencing a new genre. Fiction, until this time, had taken the form of legend, myth, and epic poetry: Realistic, book-length fiction was unknown, or otherwise known as "lying."

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Alliance Defense Fund

Unfriendly visitors

| Schools of social work demand a conformity that lasts beyond graduation
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 3/22/08, 12:00 am

Mrs. B. is an appreciative person, with a good knowledge of how to use canned beef."

"Girl has not fallen but is on the brink."

So a turn-of-the-century social worker, known as a "friendly visitor," described her clients after making her rounds in the crowded slums. Presumably kindhearted, she could also be testy: "Visitor absolutely disgusted and tells [client] for all she cares they can starve if unwilling to follow good advice."

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Carolyn Cole/© 2008 Los Angeles Times/Reprinted with permission

Fighting over scraps

| What a scrapbooking scandal says about human nature
by Janie B. Cheaney
Posted 3/08/08, 12:00 am

Lying, cheating, cover-ups. What did they know and when? It was such a scandal, it made headlines in the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, plus a feature story in Newsweek. But most of the coverage barely concealed a smirk, for the scandal had occurred in the soft-focus, buttons-and-borders, female-dominated world of scrapbooking.

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