POLITICS
01/02/2014 02:51 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Linda Tirado, Viral Poverty Blogger, In Final Stages Of Book Deal

Linda Tirado is in the final stages of securing a book deal based on her essay about poverty that went viral in November, Tirado and her agent, Mollie Glick, told The Huffington Post. The book, to be published by the Penguin Group, will be called Hand to Mouth and will be a memoir of her time on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

Tirado's essay, titled "Why I Make Terrible Decisions, or, poverty thoughts," was initially posted as a comment on Gawker and later featured on The Huffington Post. It's been read several million times. Tirado quickly launched a GoFundMe page to solicit money to turn the essay into a book.

She raised more than $60,000, but the outpouring of support led to a backlash from critics, who declared Tirado's essay a "hoax." She defended one key claim -- that her dire situation had led to a mouthful of missing teeth -- by taking to YouTube and pulling out some of her fake teeth. The Nation magazine published records of her receiving public assistance to prove other elements of her tale.

The fallout morphed into farce when CNN and The New York Times included her story in their annual roundups of sloppy reporting and Internet hoaxes without themselves doing any real reporting on her story.

Tirado's critics have said she is disqualified from writing about poverty because she is no longer as desperate as she once was. But defenders at Gawker, who knew her before Internet fame, have noted that as recently as this past fall, a small group of commenters chipped in to help keep her electricity on, indicating that she was far from wealthy when she penned her piece.

At HuffPost, Tirado's story has inspired an ongoing series of dispatches by and about the working poor.

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