Well, I watched Oprah this afternoon in a show which featured James Frey. And boy, is she pissed. I have to say that I was impressed with her for admitting she was wrong for what she said during her call into Larry King, and wrong for her disregard of the truth in this matter.
Frey, on the other hand, looked a little like he wanted to cry.
I'm very curious to see which way this will spin next - and if Oprah removing the magic of her book club approval from Frey will affect him and his sales. The truth of it is, Oprah has changed publishing in a very interesting way. Her seal of approval means tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and, for Frey, millions of additional sales for the writer in question. It launches them into an international spotlight as literary superstahhs. All was well until the Jonathan Franzen incident - the 2001 dustup in which Oprah rescinded her Book Club offer to Franzen. From this point forward she choose only dead writers, and was only lured back to publishing the living after an impassioned plea from Word of mouth, a writer's organization.
I still think that the controversy will continue to propel consumer sales, at least in the short term, and I'd love to hear from someone out there who's bought the book in the last week or so, and why.
So the Oprah show pretty much amounted to a smackdown, which was nice. And the book? I'd still like to read it someday. But only secondhand.