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The Man Who Conned Oprah - Is James Frey ("A Million Little Pieces") A Fake?

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The Man Who Conned Oprah - Is James Frey ("A Million Little Pieces") A Fake?

Old 01-09-06, 08:03 PM
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The Man Who Conned Oprah - Is James Frey ("A Million Little Pieces") A Fake?

The Smoking Gun has a very long and detailed story questioning a number of things in his book.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive...amesfrey1.html

With Oprah turning her legion of viewers on to him, it will be interesting what happens. My mother just picked up the book yesterday, so I am thinking of reading it after her.
Old 01-09-06, 09:22 PM
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I, for one feel vindicated.
As a bookseller (and after reading the ARC) I have always had a sinking suspicion that parts of the book were fabricated for dramatic effect.
When people would ask my opinon I would usually take what he's saying with a grain of salt ( like the other über tell all bio god MR. Pelzer).
So, I'll add this to my list of pop culture authors based on events today:

Frey (poser wanna-be)
J.T. Leroy ( out & out fraud )



Originally Posted by movieking
The Smoking Gun has a very long and detailed story questioning a number of things in his book.

http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive...amesfrey1.html

With Oprah turning her legion of viewers on to him, it will be interesting what happens. My mother just picked up the book yesterday, so I am thinking of reading it after her.
Old 01-10-06, 12:02 AM
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A bunch of girls I work with have all been going nuts over this book. Personally, I never really saw the interest. I mean a story about a guy with a bad life that turned it around, sounds great. A book with pages full of description about vomit and so on, seems a bit far fetched to me.

Of course what do you expect? If Oprah plugs it, then millions of women in this country will go nuts over it.
Old 01-10-06, 12:04 AM
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No problem here. He made a ton of cash by spinning a story. Good writers do that!
Old 01-10-06, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DonnachaOne
No problem here. He made a ton of cash by spinning a story. Good writers do that!
But he's not a good writer. The dude doesn't even know the difference between a common and proper noun.

Anyway, thanks OP for the Smoking Gun link. Interesting stuff. Wonder how Oprah is going to spin THIS PR nightmare.
Old 01-10-06, 02:08 AM
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this thing will never hit the mainstream media....they are in love with Oprah

Its a shame too..this asshole is going to get away with this, and be rich just because the world worships Oprah.
Old 01-10-06, 06:52 AM
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You should see the crapstorm on his messageboards at www.bigjimindustries.com (wait, he isn't full of himself, is he?) quick before he deletes the posts he doesn't like.
Old 01-10-06, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by krazydawg005
this thing will never hit the mainstream media....they are in love with Oprah
Oh no? Maybe it's time to get rid of that tinfoil hat.
Old 01-10-06, 11:06 AM
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It'll be interesting for me when I return to work today. HOPEFULLY I'll see a spike in sales ( the title was going at a steady clip in Dec. with a few book groups chosing it as a selection).
I don't know what the fall out will be, but if memory serves the last time you had a fraud on this large of a scale ( Clifford Irving ) you had jail time. I HIGHLY doubt that will happen ( considering now how he NEVER spent any real time in lock up); but the calssy thing would to fess up , donate part of the profits of the book to the Hazelden Foundation & try to put an end to it ASAP.
It strange, yesterday when I got wind of this via PW - all I could think of was Milli Vanilli.

Literati Vanilli if you will.

Last edited by funkydjmcescher; 01-10-06 at 11:08 AM.
Old 01-10-06, 11:49 AM
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I'm just wondering what the plans will be for the movie that's currently in the works. They'll probably just change the wording in the trailer to "Inspired by the life of James Frey."
Old 01-10-06, 04:15 PM
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I havent read the book, but to me it just sounds like he embellished his stories for dramatic effect. I think most people do that in their autobiographies. The fact is its not exciting to say I was high and got sick. So they go into a little more details, that may have not happened exactly like that, but you get the point. I mean, people want to hear a grand story, and the exact truth is usually a little boring. Hell, guys have been doing this shit for years.
Old 01-10-06, 05:03 PM
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The book itself is not what most people have issue with I believe, it's the fact that he repeatedly represented it as completely factual on Oprah and in various print interviews. It is known that the first time he shopped it around to publishers as fiction he was passed over, so he rethought the whole marketing angle and came up with this "my real true factual life as a drug addict scumbag" thing.
Old 01-10-06, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by FantasticVSDoom
I havent read the book, but to me it just sounds like he embellished his stories for dramatic effect. I think most people do that in their autobiographies. The fact is its not exciting to say I was high and got sick. So they go into a little more details, that may have not happened exactly like that, but you get the point. I mean, people want to hear a grand story, and the exact truth is usually a little boring. Hell, guys have been doing this shit for years.
That's what I thought at first until I read the Smoking Gun piece. Definitely not a case of just embellishing some otherwise bland stories...the dude flat out makes some of the most important details up.

The interviews in TSG with the people Frey came in contact with are hilarious, particularly the cops' take on events in the book.
Old 01-10-06, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by FantasticVSDoom
I havent read the book, but to me it just sounds like he embellished his stories for dramatic effect. I think most people do that in their autobiographies. The fact is its not exciting to say I was high and got sick. So they go into a little more details, that may have not happened exactly like that, but you get the point. I mean, people want to hear a grand story, and the exact truth is usually a little boring. Hell, guys have been doing this shit for years.
ELAINE: Oh, what didn't you like about the first chapter?
PETERMAN: Well, it started out nicely: "I'm returning some pants." A very identifiable problem..."I set of down a train tunnel."...But that's where the story takes a most unappealing turn.
ELAINE: Oh, no, no! That's where it gets interesting! Don't you see? The - the train is bearing down on you, you - you dive into a side tunnel - and you run into a whole band of underground tunnel dwellers!
PETERMAN: It just seems so cliched, and obvious. It's not interesting writing.
ELAINE: Yeah.. yeah. I know. Um...how about if, instead of...diving from the train, you...uh, you, I don't know, you slip and, and fall in some mud, and...ruin your pants?
PETERMAN: The very pants I was returning. That's perfect irony! Elaine, that is interesting writing!
Old 01-10-06, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by AGuyNamedMike
You should see the crapstorm on his messageboards at www.bigjimindustries.com (wait, he isn't full of himself, is he?) quick before he deletes the posts he doesn't like.
His site's been down most of the day. What a surprise.

There's a difference between the normal "embellishing" that some authors do in their memoirs and what Frey did. Among other things, he made up a months-long stay in prison and wrote himself into a car crash tragedy that took two lives. He made those events fairly central to the telling of his story, he didn't just mention them in passing.

As others have said, it will be interesting to see what Oprah makes of all this. She'll probably stick to (intentional) fiction in the future.
Old 01-10-06, 08:17 PM
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I assume all autobiographies are fictionalized and embellished. So, this doesn't change anything.
Old 01-10-06, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
I assume all autobiographies are fictionalized and embellished. So, this doesn't change anything.
You're kidding. (Right?)
Old 01-11-06, 12:23 AM
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James Frey will be on Larry King Live Wednesday the 11th. Hopefully King doesn't take it easy with him.
Old 01-11-06, 07:26 AM
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Well, he has ripped out his entire message board and replaced it with some dinky java based chat app. I guess the comments were just too much for him to leave up, heheheh.
Old 01-11-06, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TimeandTide
You're kidding. (Right?)
No, I'm not. I assume that people will try to make themselves look as good as possible. It's certainly not journalism. I do take offense if they lie about others -- I guess lying about yourself involves others, so it's very similar.

But honestly what does this guy have to fear? Can he get sued? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure he's already a millionaire. He's a lot better off than before he conned Oprah.

Oprah just needs to move on and get Dave Chapelle on her show.
Old 01-11-06, 11:08 AM
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Chappelle on Oprah? Don't you know she is why that he is not on TV anymore?

http://www.chappelletheory.com
Old 01-11-06, 12:14 PM
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Ron & Fez had this guy on at length the other day, and from the interview it seemd as though he was a semi-regular guest. Curious what their take on this is.
Old 01-11-06, 01:16 PM
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Random House has just released a statement that they will refund the purchase price for customers who bought the book directly from them (normally such purchases are non-refundable), and advising others -- if they are so inclined -- to return it to their retailer.
Old 01-11-06, 02:17 PM
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Ahh man, that refund deal makes me feel sick. Tell me this isn't a damned shame. But I've got to say, I saw the original showing of Frey on Oprah and again last week--and something didn't add up. I don't know, couldn't put my finger on it....
Old 01-11-06, 07:24 PM
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The real problem as I see it, is that Frey used the publicity to routinely deny AA and the twelve step program as a recovery tool. If you research addiction or talk to a doctor who specializes in it, 95% say that some sort of 12 step program or treatment is, in the vast majority of cases, the only way to recovery.

So, this guy, who may not actually be an addict, certainly not to the extent he claimed, is "inspiring" other addicts to forego the advice of experts...and just "hold on". Even if you disagree with aspects of current addict theory (I've see the Penn and Teller Bullshit! episode too), this is a pretty damn serious thing and is certinaly a much greater moral violation than just imbelishing his biography.

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