Thursday, February 23, 2006
My Friend James
I love Oprah. I love her show, I love her clothes, I love her unwavering integrity. So when Oprah takes time out of her busy schedule of making celebrities cry and giving shit away to publicly admonish the writer whose moving memoir brought her to tears, I tune in.
Yes I’m talking about the already talked about to death James Frey and his controversial book, “A Million Little Pieces” where he recounts his life in rehab as a crackhead, an alcoholic and a criminal. I shamefully admit, I did not even know of the book until I heard 2 girls discussing it in the locker room at my gym one January evening.
“Can you believe that?!” One girl asked.
“I know! And just imagine how Oprah feels! She’s probably so upset.” The other girl retorted.
My ears perked up. Oprah? Someone hurt Oprah? Not my girl! I had to find out what all the hype was about. And I did. Sure enough, thanks to Larry King Live, The Daily Show, CNN, Fox News, The Evening News, Oprah, Best Week Ever, The Soup and Barbara Walters, within a week the whole world knew James Frey and his little book.
In case you missed it, notorious website The Smoking Gun outed Frey as a frat-boy liar when they dug up some old police documents that proved Frey “wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details” of his book including his 87 day long prison stint. James lied. And not only that- he lied to Oprah.
So I read the book...Not only is it good, it’s great. The story is emotional and heart-breaking, the characters are real and sympathetic, the writing is addictive and so real that it sucks you in like you’re shitting blood, you’re getting a root canal without anesthetic, you’re broken, lost and searching for hope in a hopeless world. The specifics may not be true, but the story of humanity and loss of humanity remains real. What really bewilders me is not his embellishments (for without which, a good writer does not make) but the fact that people are so up in arms over this.
Since when does America care about the truth?! And why is it over how many crack pipes this guy smoked in Ohio and not whether a country really deserves to be declared an enemy of war? Where are our priorities people? I don’t care if this guy did his time in Rikers Island or Ridgemont High, he gave us a good story.
Final Word: Everyone is going to have their own opinion. Why Frey did not publish his book as a novel is beyond me or maybe it just further proves his point. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Besides the fact that he lost a contract with Doubleday, James Frey probably doesn’t give a rat’s ass what Oprah, Larry or the rest of the world thinks and frankly, neither do I.