Thursday, October 12, 2006


Well, I wasn't able to start posting again in September because of a particularly nasty combination of renovation-itis and a lingering case of pretty-much-feeling-like-hell. This, my friends, makes me a liar. That being the case, I thought I'd update everyone on the state of affairs with a few other - admittedly more famous that me - liars.

#1 Kaavya Viswanathan. It's certainly not surprising that Kaavya has headed back to Harvard, seeing as how an internal review found that their plagiarism rules only applies to work submitted to the university itself. Slightly more interesting? She's now a student advisor. Great to know that she's molding young minds. At Harvard.

#1 James Frey. James and his publisher, Doubleday, have settled the lawsuits brought against them by cranky readers who feel that they've been gypped by reading Frey's fictionalized non-fiction account of his recovery from addiction. I have to be missing something here, because books are already refundable. The only significant difference is that Doubleday will honour the full price of the book, even if it was sold at a discount. What's the price delta here? $10 CDN? $20? Who in the world would launch a lawsuit over $20? If someone can clue me in to what I'm missing here, please post it in the comments.

James has also given his first interview since Freyapalooza, and he seems to have a few bones to pick with, well, everyone. (Except Oprah, because making her angry is Bad.)

First, he disputes the notion that the publishers didn't know that details in the manuscript were alerted (and they dispute this right back at him):

Once he had signed with Doubleday, reportedly for an advance of $50,000, the process of editing altered the book - now billed as a memoir - further, timelines shifted, characters were erased, segments rearranged. "So the idea that nobody at the publishing company knew it was a manipulated manuscript is an absurd idea," he says. "I remember somebody at the publishing company told me that if the book's 85% true there's no problem. Certainly that standard wasn't then applied to it later."
Secondly - and he's always made this assertion, but I'll throw it in here for posterity:

The absence of criminal records is because he had them (legally) destroyed before he published the novel. "I mean, if I wanna go be a teacher, do I want all that stuff to exist?" he asks. "It's not an uncommon thing to do."
And, finally, he's angry at everyone, everywhere (except Oprah, because that's Bad):

(W)hen Frey's American publisher and agent dropped him, and Warner Brothers elected not to make the film of A Million Little Pieces, he was surprised. "My agent just called me and said she couldn't work with me any more because she felt her integrity was being questioned," he says, and frowns a little. "My publisher called and said they were cancelling my new contract simply because they didn't want to honour it." The most curious thing, he says, was that despite the scandal they had made, were continuing to make, an enormous sum of money out of James Frey. "I mean, that's sort of the irony, y'know? My agent said her integrity was questioned, but it wasn't questioned enough for her to stop taking the money."
Well, that's what happens when you sign away 15% of your work in a legally binding contract. Finally, in a delightful twist of irony, both of his memoirs are still holding strong on the New York Times Bestseller list. Gotta love it.

If my lies paid off that well, I'd spend my whole life with my pants on fire. Until that happens, I'm back in the saddle, posting again every Thursday. Hope all is well with you and yours, and that the leaves from your trees aren't blanketing your entire garden. Like mine aren't. See? This lying thing is addictive.



piika said...

haha there's no such thing as bad publicity..... I HATE OPRAH!!!!! is that bad?

Maia said...

Nope :)