Friday, January 13, 2006

Freyapalooza

So, it's been an interesting week for James Frey, millionaire extraordinaire who, courtesy of Oprah, skyrocketed into literary stardom in 2005 with "A Million Little Pieces". I've been following Freyapolooza with a significant amount of interest for someone who hasn't even read the book. So I'm left in a conundrum: buy the book and help finance Frey's new summer home, or leave it on the shelf and form an opinion from second hand accounts. I hate to feed into the process of further rich-ifying (no, not a word, but neither is "truthiness") Frey because of the current scandal - sales remain high since TSG's revelations - but, as I revealed earlier this week, I have an *ahem* problem with book buying. (Maybe Frey should write his next book about recovering book-aholics. THAT I'd have to read). Plus, I hate to debate an issue with only half the facts. For the record, I picked up his book at the grocery store a few months ago, flipped through a few pages, and immediately put it down. The writing just seemed awkward and sloppy, and the sense that he was full of shit jumped right off the page at me. But I was cranky that day, so maybe it's brilliant. What do I know?

So, I said in my last blog that I was going to watch James' stint on Larry King on Wednesday, and I did. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I saw someone tap dance around an issue as poorly as he did. My favorite moment was his assertion that the "emotional truth" of the book was still valid. What the hell is an emotional truth, and how does it differ from the real truth? Because, seriously, I do not know what that means.

After the Frey interview, his publisher announced that further printings of the book would contain a disclaimer about twisted facts and whatnot, which sounds about as funny as Michael Jackson saying he won't have anymore sleepovers with children. Good to know guys, good to know.

I was also really struck during Oprah's dramatic call-in moment when she revealed that she hasn't read his other book. I find that one of the oddest details of this whole brouhaha. If James Frey is such a captivating author - keeping her up at night reading about his shenanigans and all - why wouldn't she run out and buy that one too? From what I understand, the story continues in "My Friend Leonard", so it would make sense to me that James' reader base would want to stay with the story. But I'm cranky today, so maybe that's totally normal and it's just me.

So, basically, it's my feeling that Frey's pants are engulfed in a five alarm fire, but I'm still in a position of not having read the book. So, what to do? Any thoughts?

Truthfully, (and I say this with all the truthiness in the world), I'll likely end up buying it secondhand so that I can experience it for myself without having to give James a dime.

Maybe I should start an Abebooks.com recovery group and then write about it, making up blood spattered fights over who gets the first editions and people passing out while reading The Iliad.

Cheers and have a great weekend,
Maia

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