Is Sarah Palin's biographer too close for comfort?

A journalist writing a biography of Sarah Palin is now also her next-door neighbor.

Carlos Osorio/AP
Sarah Palin was none too happy to discover that her new neighbor is a journalist writing a biography of her.

Sarah Palin has a new next-door neighbor – and it turns out that he's also her biographer. Journalist Joe McGinniss – best known as the author of "The Selling of the President" about Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign – has rented the house next to the Palin family home in Wasilla, Alaska, for five months while he works on a biography of Palin scheduled to be published by Broadway Books.

Palin is none too happy about the new arrival to the neighborhood. In comments posted on her Facebook page, she wrote that she returned earlier this week from "endorsement rallies and speeches in the Lower 48" to discover that the new face next door was that of her would-be biographer. "Yes, that Joe McGinniss," she wrote, posting a photo of what she said was his back. "Here he is – about 15 feet away on the neighbor's rented deck overlooking my children's play area and my kitchen window."

(It's a pretty safe bet that she didn't really mean it when she added, "Maybe we'll welcome him with a homemade blueberry pie tomorrow so he'll know how friendly Alaskans are.")

McGinniss so far has made no public statement about his temporary residence alongside the Palins. But his publisher Broadway Books told the Associated Press, "McGinniss will be highly respectful of his subject's privacy as he investigates her public activities."

McGinniss has also written a book on the oil pipeline in Alaska and last year he wrote a piece for Portfolio magazine on Palin and efforts to build an oil pipeline in Alaska.

On Facebook, Palin offered her own opinion of McGinniss's work. "Knowing of his many other scathing pieces of 'journalism' (including the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they'd ever encountered)," she wrote, "we're sure to have a doozey to look forward to with this treasure he's penning."

Most likely, he'll be penning it with little to no input from the Palins themselves. "[Y]ou know what they say about 'fences make for good neighbors'?," Palin wrote. "Well, we'll get started on that tall fence tomorrow[.]"

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

Is McGinniss's move the legitimate effort of a biographer to gather information – or an inappropriate invasion of the Palins' privacy? Join the Monitor's book discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

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