Can We Ever Forgive Lee Israel?

This week in class we watched and discussed the film, Can You Ever Forgive Me?. The topic of the movie was very interesting and surprising. I was surprised that Lee Israel did the forgery in the first place but also that she was able to get away with it for such a long time. As a writer she should have known how wrong and dangerous that was and that she was not only affecting herself but also the bookstore owners and collectors. I feel like even though she was desperate, she should have known the importance of original work and I think that she probably wouldn’t have wanted the same thing to happen to her. I was also very surprised by the punishment she got. For all that she did, it did not seem like the punishment matched the crime. I was expecting her to go to jail for some period of time but she was put on house arrest. She is also told to go to alcoholics annonymous but in the movie she is seen at a bar drinking. I don’t know how accurate this part is or if it was just done for the movie but I’m wondering why she wasn’t being more careful. I’m interested in reading more about her and seeing what was done for the movie and what actually happened in real life. It’s interesting to me how movies kind of have to alter a story to make it more scandalous or intriguing when the original story itself is already so crazy. I’m also wondering if Lee Israel was forgiven and by who and more of the legacy she left behind now that she’s dead. Did this whole thing make her more popular or well known and is that a good thing? I think it shows that you can still do bad or wrong things and become well known. It’s not for the right reasons but at the same time she was getting her name out and it probably made people want to read her work. In a way did doing something wrong actually help her more than it hurt her? I had never heard of Lee Israel before but now I’m very curious about learning more about her and I also want to read her book. I would like to also hear from the people she was tricking to understand better how they figured it out and what gave it away.

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