Thursday, January 26, 2006

Mr. Frey, Your Pants are Calling - Something About a Fire?

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 All was well until the Jonathan Franzen incident - the 2001 dustup in which Oprah rescinded her Book Club offer to Franzen.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.



Sandra Scoppettone said...

I tried to send you an email twice and both were returned. What's up?

Millenia Black said...

And I think it's that interest that will sustain the book's slice of bestsellerdom - folks who haven't yet read it will want to just to see what all the fuss is about. Just what did he make up anyway?

As I blogged yesterday, I actually felt sorry for him while watching the show.

Mr-Mystic said...

I think if we took a close look at a few other pseudo help books, we might find quite a few embelishments.

PS I am Diana Pakkala's husband.

Maia said...

Sandra - thanks for the head's up. Everything seems to be working fine now.

Maia said...


I really thought he was a weasel before the Oprah show this week, but I have to admit that I felt a little sorry for him too. I agree that people will keep buying the book - I certainly want to see what the fuss is all about, but I just can't give him any more money. There are so many writers out there struggling just to get by and he's soooo rich, and just going to get richer.

I'll swing by your blog and take a look.


Maia said...

Mr Mystic:

Hi there! Hope you and Diana are doing well, and happy birthday!

I agree with you that this likely reaches further than we know. Scary that so little fact checking is done with some of these books.
I actually wonder if we'll see an increase in fantastical memoirs and the like - it certainly worked like a charm in this case.

Take care,