The controversy swirling around this book is baffling to me.
For now anyway.
Until the smoke clears and the feeding frenzied blogging world is stuffed full. Then maybe the facts will emerge.
Apparently parts of this guy’s non-fiction book have been fabricated.
But, the book isn’t a journalistic piece. It’s a memoir. And, I thought, subject to hazy details and hedged boundaries.
Maybe he did outright lie. I don’t know. That would be disappointing.
But I read on another blog that people couldn’t imagine how this guy’s story could be true–how could he remember these intricate details of his pain while in such pain, so screwed up on drugs and then withdrawal?
I say that’s when you do remember ever inch of bizarre, intricate things. Not everything around you. But certain aspects of life would be forever embedded in your being.
With all that said, my sister and I did talk about how we thought it was crazy that he wasn’t given pain medication during his root canal. Not that they’d have given him a roadie for the trip back to rehab, but that was way beyond brutal. True or not, who knows. I still think his tale was disturbingly riveting. Says something about me, I’m sure.
10 thoughts on “Million Little Pieces”
*Tears up idea to write non-fiction memoir posing as a long lost member of the Czech royal family*
As I understand it, James Frey didn’t just plump up a few details or flesh out hazy memories. He made stuff up wholesale. According to police reports — you’d figure there would be documentation showing all the times he was locked up — he’s been in jail only for a few hours in his whole life.
Here’s the complete report, researched by The Smoking Gun: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/jamesfrey/0104061jamesfrey1.html?link=rssfeed
Me again. I’m reading through this Smoking Gun report. Interesting stuff — and funny. It’s a little wordy so you have to get well in for the real refutation of Frey’s memoir.
The spoke to the actual police officer that Frey says he hit (lightly) with a car. The officer was never hit by anyone with a car. Here’s a relevant section of the report comparing in summary actual police facts with the book’s account:
There was no patrolman struck with a car.
There was no urgent call for backup.
There was no rebuffed request to exit the car.
There was no “You want me out, then get me out.”
There was no “fucking Pigs” taunt.
There were no swings at cops.
There was no billy club beatdown.
There was no kicking and screaming.
There was no mayhem.
There was no attempted riot inciting.
There were no 30 witnesses.
There was no .29 blood alcohol test.
There was no crack.
There was no Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Assaulting an Officer of the Law, Felony DUI, Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest, Driving Without Insurance, Attempted Incitement of a Riot, Possession of a Narcotic with Intent to Distribute, or Felony Mayhem.
And though he would later vividly write about being consumed by an internal rage that he named like a pet, Frey was somehow able to keep “the Fury” in check on that drunken October night in Granville. As Patrolman Maneely reported, he “was polite and cooperative at all times.” (Click here to see Frey’s Granville mug shot.) Frey’s arrest was as mundane as they get, as vanilla as the arrestee himself, a neatly dressed frat boy five months out of school and plastered on cheap beer.
In fact, he was processed and released so expeditiously, it makes you wonder when Frey, then 23, had the time for a gripping bit of suicidal ideation as described in “A Million Little Pieces”:
Right after my arrest in Ohio, while I was sitting in Jail, I started thinking about my life. I was twenty-two years old. I had been an Alcoholic and drug Addict for a decade. I hated myself. I didn’t see a future and the only thing in my past was wreckage and disaster. I decided that I wanted to die.
As we sat with Dudgeon and Cartnal in police headquarters, TSG asked the sergeant if he had ever been hit by an automobile during his 17 years on the force. “No,” he said. Would that necessarily have been something he would recall? “I think I’d remember that, yup,” he answered, laughing. “There are certain things in your career that stand out to you, like the first time you did an arrest…”
“Or the first time you’ve been hit by a car,” Cartnal interjected.
Read the full Smoking Gun report here: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/jamesfrey/0104061jamesfrey1.html
Did you see in that Smoking Gun article where they claim he originally tried to sell the book as fiction? Interesting. I don’t get why this suprises anyone though. As J.A. Konrath said in his blog, anyone is surprised an admitted drug abuser and felon lied? I understand why people are upset, but I don’t think this changes anything. In fact, this hullaballoo will probably serve to spike his already impressive sales.
Thanks Cindy and Jaye–You both seem to have a lot more useful info than I did…very odd situation.
SHHHH….Mindy, I won’t tell anyone about your plans for the story about your childhood in with Chech royal family…Just write it. You can decide if it’s fiction or non once you see what the market wants…hehehe…it’s at least worth a short story.
So, do you think this means I should take the part where I perform surgery on my premature son out of the NICU book? I was under the influence of drugs at the time. I think it happened. Sounds good anyway. heehehe.
thought for the day…When one laughs at one’s writing too much, is it a problem?
Not me, of course. A friend of mine. That’s it. A friend.
The book AMLP’s …is riveting. I am not nor never was addicted to even cigarettes. However, as I read this gut-wrenching tale..I realized that I had not complelely yet learned to control weight-gain and MORE disturbing, my past CONTOL-freak actions confronted me, the pain I may have inflicted on loved ones, the selfishness of past deeds that I had felt were justified, came marching through my mind. If a person reads this book and does NOT “SEE” himself and his past ..more clearly..then THAT person is LILY-WHITE or completely stone -cold unwilling to LOOK at what drives them.
EMBELLISHMENTS be damed ! This WRITING is mesmerizing. This story is a reference book for PAIN. And all AWARE people who wish to thrive ,emotionally, must confront themselves… and this memoir is as deep as therapy. BLESS this author and the folks he may have saved , the suicides he may have prevented AND the people of allages that he nudged into maturity. … A very SENIOR CITIZEN
Thanks Mary Ellen. I agree, about somehow seeing my self in this guy’s book when I’ve never comitted a crime or lived a life anything like his. I think it’s one of those things about books, people love one text and then hate another. I don’t know. I’m trying to think if I’d have liked it as much as fiction.
Certainly an interesting topic to discuss in your housewife’s cafe. I just hope all this hype doesn’t simply drive up sales on his book.
My concern is what this did to Oprah’s faith in people, and hoping this doesn’t ruin it for other new authors – esp women, who want her to highlight their book, and then she decides to cancel it all – as she once did before.
Here’s the link where I went into detail about The Smoking Gun report and Oprah’s call back to James Frey = did anyone see that episode last week? whewooooh!
Boy – did Oprah let him have it!
I sent my copy of “A Million Little Pieces” to
c/o Harpo Productions
1058 West Washington Blvd
Chicago IL 60607-2103
I think Oprah should be more carefull before recommending a bogus non-fiction book.
I would really like her to reimburse me as well.
How about, “A Million Little Refunds”.
Wouldn’t it be fun if the Post Office had to deliver
A Million Little Packages to Oprah’s studio?
P.S. Media mail is only $1.59
and Notice of delivery is .60.