I don’t know if you have heard about the controversy surrounding an Author pushed by Oprah Winfrey. The validity of the Memoir, a Million Little Pieces by James Frey is being called into question. It has been discovered by The Smoking Gun that he has embellished quite a bit of the material in his book.
I read this book and loved it. I resisted buying it for a long time because it was an Oprah book club selection. I know that what Oprah has done for the book world is incredible, but the fact that there are hoards of people out there that ONLY read what Oprah tells them to read is a bit unsettling. Because Oprah put her stamp of approval on this book, it has sold a trillion copies and has been on top of the New York Times best seller list on and off for ages.
It was one of those books that I consumed like a large meal. After I finished reading it, I went right out and bought the follow-up, My Friend Leonard IN HARD COVER. I read it over a period of a few days and started to cry when I realized I was almost done with it.
Now that I know that a big chunk of it was made up, do I feel foolish and betrayed? No. It was still a good book.
I am also used to this kind of thing happening, because my brother is a compulsive liar in much the same way that Frey’s book translates. My brother would take a small bit of truth and blow it up for dramatic effect; suddenly a simple fact of a rear-end car accident turns into a full-blown fatal wreck where a beautiful young girl dies in my brothers’ arms. Honestly. It makes for a good story that stirs certain emotions and sympathy for the storyteller & no one gets hurt in the process.
I feel bad for James Frey in much the same way that I feel bad for my brother when he gets caught in a lie. Too bad my brother does not have Oprah to come to his defense.