I take back most of the good things I wrote about James Frey
I still love the book “A Million Little Pieces,” but having carefully read the outstanding investigative reporting done by thesmokinggun.com, I’m pretty disgusted that someone would try to pass this book off as non-fiction when it is mostly fiction.
I just watched Frey on Larry King Live tonight. His defense was not impressive. He argued that only 18 of 452 pages are in dispute. The reason why so few pages are in dispute is because thesmokinggun.com only looked into his claims about being such a badass criminal, and those claims were only on 18 pages. He argued that the boundaries of how much you can distort in a memoir is something still being worked out. That this is “his story.” It is one thing to forget a few things. It is something altogether different when every single time the facts don’t match the story, the story grossly exaggerates the facts in a particular dimension. My guess is that just about every detail of this book that one looks carefully at will turn out to be false, except for the fact that he was an alcoholic and drug addict and spent time in rehab.
My suggestion is that the next printing should just call it fiction. It is a great book, it just isn’t non-fiction. I still will make my kids read it when they are 15.