It was my understanding that James Frey's A Million Little Pieces was a fictional account of Mr. Frey's journey from a drunk junkie to a sober author was a piece of fiction. Say what? Fiction, you say? Yeah, fiction. I came to the conclusion early on when I started reading the buzz upon the book's release and I'm quite certain that I read that it was a "fictional" account, furthermore, once I ordered in the book for the store, I had shelved it in the Fiction section. It was a small order, no more than 3 copies, because I've learned that "buzz" is a fleeting monster.
This past fall when Oprah recommended the title for her Book Club selection I thought to myself, "Jeez, Opy, a hard to read hideous book of recovery, you be whack!" I ordered in more copies of the book to satiate the throngs of Oprah fans wanting a copy of book that "will change their life", I still kept it shelved in fiction and then one day I found both A Million Little Pieces and it's sequel "My friend Leonard" shelved in the biography section one day, so I pompously yanked them from the bio section, went to the computer to check it's classification and it said biography and I said "what the fluck?" I wasn't sure when the classification change happened, it was fiction, I had read that it was a "fictional account" and I've got a brain like a fucking computer (okay, a low-end model, but a computer nonetheless), I know what I read.
Now, I'm not one for digging up facts, we'll continue leaving that to the Smoking Gun and their handy work, but I know what I read. After watching Frey on Larry King last night, I still think I'm right about the "fictional account" I'm not one to fall for weasels, that is, unless we've dated, and if that's the case, I was most likely drunk. What I think happened was that the power of Oprah, a willingness from publisher and author alike to make the "fictional memoir" a real memoir (mo'money), which now has proven to be a stupid move, or after Oprah's live statement standing by the book and author, it will continue to sell by the dozen's. It's a fickle world, who can say. What I do know is that the embellished truth is what we've come to expect from our own government, why not authors? What Random House and Frey did was ride the wave of popularity and they got caught up in it. Shame on them.
As for the book, it gave me a headache when I tried reading it two years ago, so I put it down and read DRY, Augusten Burroughs account of his recovery, a far more readable and hysterical account of what it's like when your sobering up and most importantly a story of love. A Million Little Pieces's exaggerations should not be an excuse for someone in recovery to go on a bender because the book wasn't entirely true. Suck it up bitches, you're in recovery because you drank your way to the gutter, not because Frey's memory took a creative writing course. Trust me, I've been in recovery multiple times (heh), it's a "no excuses" atmosphere and afterall it's just a "fictional account" of Mr. Frey's trip to sobriety, I read that somewhere over two years ago, I know what I read. No, it's not all right to embellish a memoir, I agree, but I don't think that was the books origninal intention. In my bookstore you'll find both A Million Little Pieces and My friend Leonard in the fiction section, sure, my booksellers fell for the "new classification of biography" but, they're not as savoy as moi, because as anybody who has been in recovery knows, you can't bullshit a bullshitter. Cheers!