Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Million Little Pieces (pt 2)

So today there's some controversy about one of my latest book recommendations "A Million Little Pieces" There are some allegations that parts of this story may have been fabricated and/or embellished in the book. The author is sticking by his original story, Oprah hasn't commented so far. So here's what I have to say on the matter:

1 - According to the book, the rehabilitation center that James Frey went to had a success rate of 17% - meaning that is the percentage of people who never relapse back into their addictions. So since he has worked so hard to turn his life around (because even without the crime - his life was no picnic) I still find his story to be inspirational. Kicking drugs and drink and going on to become a bestselling author? Good enough for me.

2 - If parts of the book are embellished, I'm willing to bet that the publisher suggested it. Publishers are the ones who are all about selling and pushing the right angle, and getting books noticed. I doubt that James Frey thought it was a good idea to write all kinds of negative things about himself and his past.

3 - The book has already sold about a bajillion copies, so I'm pretty convinced that this won't kill the book. In fact, controversy (good or bad) almost always spikes book sales - so I'm willing to bet that the book and his new one "My Friend Leonard" will only sell more copies now.


Blogger JodyTresidder said...

Sorry, but your apology for Frey is full of holes. Charles Dickens had the number on self-abasing con merchants like Frey over 150 years ago. In Dickens' "Hard Times" there's a character - Josiah Bounderby - who gets on in society by shocking people with his "frankness" about his dreadful life story as a hooligan and the son of a drunken mother. He is so outrageously upfront about his own past awfulness - and so matter-of-fact about the bits we'd today call his "victim status" (i.e. his bad upbringing) that no one calls him on it. Because Dickens is a moral novelist, Bounderby is eventually found out - his mother is revealed as a blameless parent.
So there's nothing new about Frey. And it was he who conned his publishers - even if they were, in their turn, extremely lax for not checking the factual evidence for his "memoir".

5:43 AM  
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