Dear Publisher
The New Yorker|September 24, 2018
Dear Publisher

I ’d like to make you aware of a few tiny errors in my daughter Joanie’s riveting memoir. I’m certain that you will want to correct the following for the paperback edition of “The Whore of Babylon.”

Patricia Marx

PAGE 1: Joanie’s father and I did not abandon her. We were in our bedroom closet. In those days, Joanie’s favorite game was hide-and-seek.

PAGE 3: Joanie’s father, may he rest in peace, did not “stagger around the house in a drunken stupor every night.” Joanie well knows that Marvin limped because he had polio as a child.

PAGE 9: Caroline was not a “foreign exchange student who overstayed her visit.” She is Joanie’s older sister.

PAGE 18: It is not true that we loved Caroline more than we loved Joanie. The reason Joanie was not served cake and ice cream at Caroline’s fifth-birthday party was that she hadn’t been born yet. By the way, Caroline is a tenured professor of chemistry at Yale!

PAGE 24: I never tried to drown Joanie’s kitty. I put him in our Maytag because the label on Fluffy’s collar said to “machine wash in cold water, tumble dry.”

PAGE 39: We did not send Joanie out onto the streets to beg when she was seven. Nor did we dress her in “rags so tattered” that neighbors took her into their homes and offered her “handouts.” It was Halloween, and Joanie was going as a hobo that year.


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September 24, 2018