Am I wrong to want to read this?

  

  
When I read James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces I did so before the whole flap about the “truthiness” of it and Oprah’s spectacular, although somewhat self-serving, smack down of Frey in January 2006. As I watched the two-part interview that Oprah just did with Frey as she wraps up the 25th and final season of her show, there was a bit of context that I really wished that she had explored. I remember when I watched the famous smack down, I wasn’t all that concerned with Frey’s transgressions. All I could think at the time was how much I wish that Oprah or someone, anyone, in the media, had held the Bush Administration under the same bright lights of truth. By January 2006 even fair-minded Bush supporters realized that he and his henchman had lied, lied, lied to the American people and the world about Iraq. Yet those who sent thousands to die in a war against the wrong enemy get off scott free, while poor James Frey has to take an on-air beating. Don’t get me wrong, he deserved the verbal beating but the lying administration deserved worse. It is kind of like all of the malfeasance wrought by Wall Street over the dedcades and yet Martha Stewart is the one to go to prison. How about the entire leadership at Goldman Sachs. Why don’t they get a smack down?

But I digress.

Frey has a new book out that imagines Jesus coming back to earth. I like the premise and I like the creative (and provactive) book design.

I think I might actually buy it.

7 thoughts on “Am I wrong to want to read this?

  1. winstonsdad May 19, 2011 / 3:25 pm

    I m bit interested in this Thomas was discussed on uk tv last week and read extracts ,sounds like an interesting take on a old story ,all the best stu

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  2. Karen K. May 19, 2011 / 4:23 pm

    I am really turned off by James Frey, especially since I read this article in The New Yorker about his development company, Full Fathom Five. He basically has set up a script/book factory with unpublished young writers, with horrible contracts. He's a real piece of work.

    Here's the link if you're interested:

    http://nymag.com/arts/books/features/69474/

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  3. Ash May 20, 2011 / 1:14 am

    I was interested by this book too but his name just makes cringe. I totally agree with everything you said about context though, there are worse things in the world than what he did.

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  4. reviewsbylola May 20, 2011 / 11:05 am

    I had no idea Frey had a new book coming out. The premise certainly sounds interesting and, I admit, I appreciate Frey's chutzpah, so I will probably pick it up.

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  5. Thomas at My Porch May 20, 2011 / 11:46 am

    Stu: Given the author's in your face attitude, I am guessing this work won't be too precious as it might be in the hands of someone with a more reverence.

    Karen: I don't really like Frey as a person, but I don't have trouble with his writing factory. Any writer who wants to write books that are engineered purely to sell has already sold their soul. I mean FFF makes a point of selling shite that the masses will love. Anyone who knows that and hopes to cash in should understand that this is not a world where literary ideals and the ideals of the literary establishement are honored. Plus, all I could think of when I read the article was about the MFA students who were going into crazy debt to learn how to become writers–a field that only really pays off if you sell out or are a sheer genius. And most sheer geniuses didn't get MFAs. I know that might earn me some enemies among MFAs, but with every step into higher education we all need to come to terms with how much money we spend on our education and what our chances are of making money in a career based on that Masters or PhD. And I am not saying that people shouldn't pursue non-lucrative degrees, but they should be realistic about why they are doing it and the potential economic reality of that choice.

    Ash: His ego and attitude are cringe-worthy. And his voice is grating.

    Lola: I am almost impressed with what an unabashed huckster he is.

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  6. Alexandra May 20, 2011 / 11:50 am

    It was a major smack-down, that's why I'm surprised by the TWO part slot this time around. I would imagine he became persona non grata in that show.

    The design is definitely innovative, but I'll first hear the buzz before buying.

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  7. C.B. James May 22, 2011 / 10:17 am

    I read Million Little Pieces, even recommended it to my book club, after having seen Oprah announce it as her choice. Yes, I used to watch Oprah.

    But I figured it was fake. I mean root canal surgery without anesthesia, come on. I've been skeptical of memoirs ever since we found out West with the Night was ghost written. (A wonderful book by the way.)

    I also saw his smack down appearance on the show and really felt it just made Oprah look bad. You're right. It's just not that serious a crime in the big scheme of things. She's given so many worse people a free pass. Why be so hard on Mr. Frey.

    That said. I won't be reading this one. I thought the actual writing in Million Little Pieces was precocious at best. Full of little trendy gimmicks designed to sell lots of books.

    If he's the future of literature, I have a small stack of Henry James novels I still haven't read yet.

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