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.