Know the book? James Frey’s ‘A Million Little Pieces’? The memoir of his trip to hell & back via alcohol and crack addiction? The one that was wholly and entirely debunked?
James Frey dreamed up an intricate composite of lies that don’t even pass as convincing fiction, slathered it onto 400+ pages, and then marketed it out as the greatest macho sob story ever told.
His defenders claim that he “manipulated facts.” That is certainly not an accurate assessment. In order for that to happen, the facts would first have to resemble the truth. So many of these things just did not happen. He’s been debunked. Sure, exaggerating his DUI story could conceivably be construed as “manipulation of facts”, if that marked the apex of his swollen-headed fantasies. (Although it is gleefully funny that he transformed a solitary charge of DUI with no witnesses to the incident but himself and the arresting officer– an incident that didn’t even facilitate the use of handcuffs– to charges of Assault With a Deadly Weapon, Assaulting an Officer of the Law, Felony DUI [a charge that didn’t exist in that state at the time], Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest, Driving Without a License, Driving Without Insurance, Attempted Incitement of a Riot, Possession of a Narcotic with Intent to Distribute, and Felony Mayhem…all charges that required police backup, a beating with billy clubs, handcuffs, and a plea bargain to three years in state prison, five years probation, $15,000 in fines, 1000 hours community service, permanent revocation of driving privileges in that state, and a permanently marked record. HA!) He pushed the envelope so far and got so caught up in his own fantasy world that he made a clown of himself. He’s a macho hooligan, and a complete literary dunce. He has butterfingers for brains. He took a huge gamble, and he didn’t get away with it.
Yet another one of his defenses is that he was high all the time, and therefore doesn’t remember things accurately. Of course addicts’ memories aren’t reliable. So? He also claims to know that he was only sober for six days in a four-year span. Really. He wasn’t aiming for accuracy. He was aiming for fame, sensationalism, and capital. True “hardcore” addicts, as James Frey himself would call them, don’t have to manipulate facts much to generate a novel full of depressing and horrific experiences. Oprah picked the book for her club, and it spread like wildfire. (She later had him back on the show and tore him to shreds, along with his publisher.) If America was looking for raw and soul-bearing authenticity, they were had. Badly.
Moderately manipulating facts and calling it “truth as I remember it” in order to make a story marketable is not the same as elaborate lying. There’s being economical with the truth, and then there’s James Frey. A fictional book admits that it’s exactly that…fiction. It’s not a lie. This is a lie of stunning proportions, and everyone I know bought it.
Most readers (unfortunate souls), especially non-addicts, bought into his propaganda before the big “exposure.” However, even the first page was the biggest fucking hilarious lie I’ve ever read! It was laugh-out-loud hysterical, and disgracefully transparent. Come on America, James Frey has an embarrassingly limited intellect. Kudos to The Smoking Gun website for exposing the truth, but really, was it necessary? It seems explicitely obvious that the majority of Frey’s writing was elaborate bullshit. Sadly, the exposure of lies that weren’t so outwardly obvious to uninformed readers (like being involved in the deaths of two classmates) reveal how low and contemptible Frey is for fictitiously involving himself in such factual tragedies.
The game is up, we’ve all had our laugh, and he made millions as he laughed his way to the bank. Oprah is my hero for uncompromisingly calling Frey out so publicly. He lied to a nation and made millions. He deserves every ounce of ridicule he gets.