A Million Little Pieces: Not quite all James Frey's fault?

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A Million Little Pieces: Not quite all James Frey's fault?

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1twomoredays
Redigeret: maj 8, 2008, 8:46 am

I just read this month's article at Vanity Fair about A Million Little Pieces and how Frey is weathering the scandal.

Certainly enough print space has been wasted on this whole mess, but I found the reporter's take to be one of the few worth reading.

I haven't read Frey's book, but I certainly feel that to some degree the whole thing came about as readers and publishers trying to push memoir to be something its not.

Anyway, thought someone here might want to have a look.

2avisannschild
maj 10, 2008, 4:55 pm

Thanks for posting this link. The article didn't increase my interest in reading Frey (which is zilch), nor did it exonerate him in my eyes, but it does shed some interesting light on this complex issue. I did think it was a bit disingenuous of the author to wonder why Frey was singled out when other similar hoaxes have not attracted as much attention: presumably the other books in question didn't sell nearly so well! However, obviously Frey couldn't have known in advance just how much attention his book would get...

3twomoredays
maj 10, 2008, 6:42 pm

Well, both Sedaris and Burroughs have sold quite a number of books as well. They didn't make it to Oprah and I'm not sure number wise just how close they are.

I think part of the (over?) reaction to Frey's book comes from the nature of his memoir and the recovering from addiction part. I think it spoke to more people personally than either Sedaris or Borrough's stories did.

Certainly I agree that the way Frey mislead readers is wrong, but I think that the publishing industry had a hand in the whole mess as well and I think that was under-reported at the height of the scandal.

Anyway, glad someone enjoyed the link.

4maggie1944
maj 10, 2008, 7:05 pm

I don't know if this fits in with your discussion precisely however I do know, from personal experience, exaggeration and dramatizing and playing the diva is an understood stage in recovery talk in the 12 step meetings. I don't mean to say people who lie are just accepted as telling the truth but many people do lie and make their stories much more dramatic than they were. And then, later, there is a stage of recovery when a person recognizes that they really do not have to make their story bigger than it was in order to count. Even small, humble, not so dramatic recovery stories count, if they are true.

So Frey's book did not surprise me although when I read it my reaction was that he was full of "sh**". I am surprised that Oprah's producers did not see through him but maybe not many of them have had experience with recovering addicts.

5avisannschild
maj 11, 2008, 12:44 am

>3 twomoredays: Certainly I agree that the way Frey mislead readers is wrong, but I think that the publishing industry had a hand in the whole mess as well and I think that was under-reported at the height of the scandal.

I totally agree. That's why I thought this article was so interesting. The whole "bad boy" thing seemed tired to me though.

>4 maggie1944: It's interesting you should say that, maggie1944, because that was exactly the feeling I had when I watched the movie version of Running with Scissors (I haven't read the book). My feeling was that Burrough's hadn't made it fully through yet; he wasn't yet at peace with his story, or something. And that seems too bad. (But again, don't want to read his books.)

6maggie1944
jul 6, 2008, 9:30 pm

Sorry about taking a while to catch this discussion. Yes, I agree about Burrough, too. One "recovery" story I liked and felt it seemed quite possibly true is Bill Moyers account of his son's affliction. I am sorry I haven't got the title at hand.