What can you say of a girl of nineteen who took a single false step. That she is young. That she is ambitious. That she took a short cut to fame. Yes, you can say all this about a young Harvard sophomore called Kavyaaa Viswanathan, She is the only child a doctor parents who trained her from childhood to enter the portals of a great institution of higher learning--Harvard. She is by all accounts a bright, well groomed sophomore. Unfortunately for her her book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got aLife which was published recently by Little Brown and Co has strirred by a hornet's nest of intellectual property right issues. Simply put issues referred to as plagarism.
A few weeks back the Harvard Crimson published a story saying that Kaavyaa had lifted certain passages from another young adult writer Megan McCaffert's novels Sloppy First and Second Helping. A perusal of the two books does suggest similarities in language but there is no passage that is a straioght lift from either book. Kaavyaa has stated that she had read the two books by McCaffert and had "internalised her language". She issued a public apology and her publisher Little Brown and Co withdrew all copies of the book. I managed to get a copy as I live in a different country and even here the distributors are withdrawing all copies of her book. Kaavyaa received an advance of 500,000 US $ and she was forced to return that amont. Personally speaking I feel that this young girl has been punished enough. Her name and reputation in tatters, Kavyaa should now be left to purue her studies.
The alarming part of this entire sequence of events is that Harvard University is seriously considering action against her. We do not know what the Deans and Professors of Harvard have in their minds. But this I know that 19 is too tender an age for ones's life to be irrevocably damaged. I appeal to all those concerned to have mercy on that girl. Punisher her if you will. But dont for God's sake damage her forever.