Author Adriana Schmeidler’s provocative new book was a fictionalized tale of her struggle with eating disorders. Provocative partly because of its subject matter and partly because of the way it commingled the serious health risks of “the Nervosa Twins,” anorexia and bulimia, with a light and breezy comic tone.

Accordingly, the book’s publisher–mindful of the enormous success of Schmeidler’s past three books–decided on an aggressive advertising campaign. With the mantra that no press could be bad press, and attempting to trade as much as possible on Schmeidler’s newfound literary fame, they made her the centerpiece of said ad campaign. “Adriana Schmeidler Must Diet” trumpeted the ads, which featured the waifish author looking decidedly malnourished. The implication, naturally, was that a woman as slight as Schmeidler had no need of a diet.

The publisher had expected–indeed, they had counted on–a firestorm of protest. Schmeidler herself had a few reservations, but ultimately saw the novel’s comic tone and controversial content as the best way to start a national conversation on a topic she held near and dear.

What none of them had counted on was a simple printer’s error: the ad copy went to print and banner ads reading, instead, “Adriana Schmeidler Must Die.”

And it was only a matter of time before someone took her up on that apparent request.

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