Thursday, January 26, 2006

Frickin Frey

I don't know about you, but I don't feel betrayed.

I'm currently about to finish James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" and I've gotta say-I don't really care that he didn't spend 3 months in jail or that he can't recall in detail his dental surgery. It's a good read, and it inspired me.

And isn't that what a good book is all about?

Granted, Frey's style of writing is very "natural" and written the way someone would think. Perhaps if, prior to reading it, I learned that some of it was fiction, I would be put off by this-but I really doubt it. Quirky books are all the rage these days-just look at Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" (which I loved) and Mark Haddon's "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time". The language patterns used help add flavor to otherwise flat characters.

And you are right-neither of those books were sold as "memoirs". But do you really care? Do you personally feel betrayed because parts of the book were embellished? When your uncle catches a fish "THIS BIG" do you dis-own him when you see he only caught a minno?

If someone with a drug problem was inspired by the book and it prompted them to change their life-that is the important thing.

If, when reading a chapter of Frey's scattered thinking, someone felt comforted by the fact that their life was not as bad-that is the important thing.

If his words opened a single mind-that is the important thing.

The book should not have been billed as a memoir. But it was. Deal with it. Read the words and be inspired-because even if part of it is true- knowing that Frey did indeed overcome a drug and alcohol problem is enough for me.


megan said...

Amen Mags... This book, embellished or not, will stay on my list of "Top 10" favorite books. I was lucky enough to read the book about a year or two ago, long before Oprah and the controversy. I simply bought the book because I liked the cover. When I finished it I knew it was good, I knew others would like it, but for some reason it didn't "explode" with popularity until Oprah highlighted it on her show, go figure. So, I say read it and enjoy it!

Read the sequel too: My Friend Leonard (just as good)

Mags said...

Megan, I was thinking of you in particular when I wrote this last night and the conversation we had. In fact, when I saw the news article about Oprah and how she ripped Frey apart this last time, I almost called you.

Oprah needs to get over herself. I hated that the article (which for some reason I didn't link to-damn) said that Frey's career will not likely recover.

That's a shame. Hopefully his recovery and program are strong enough that this won't throw him back to using.

Hamel said...

I only question why in the world he presented it as non-fiction.

Did he blatantly lie for his own personal gain, be it financial, pity, or something else?


In the big scheme of things, does it matter?


It's sad this is so newsworthy. Is this *really* what's important in the world right now? If Oprah was so high and mighty, she'd be pushing books from small publishers that don't have the money to expose the world to wonderfully talented authors. Oprah's pushing stuff from major publishing houses, for the most part. No big news there.

Mags said...

Hamel, I think he said he originally wanted it to be fiction, but I'm not sure I believe him. In any case, I agree with you about Oprah. I am not really a fan of hers, but this just makes me dislike her even more.

Hamel said...

Great story on Yahoo News about how many analysts said Oprah confronting Frey was more about protecting her "brand" than truth.