Freyed at the edges

From James Frey’s Powell.com essay, written before The Smoking Gun blew the facts in his Oprah-backed bestselling memoir, A Million Little Pieces, into a million little pieces:
“I wanted to be the first me. I wanted to write in a voice that was new and different, consistent with the voice that I felt in my heart, consistent with the voice that I heard in my head.”

As everyone knows by now, TSG’s lengthy, plodding but thorough expose kind of makes you wonder how many voices Frey was hearing in his head and whether all of them were whispering, “Just make it up, buddy, and there’s four million copies sold in paperback right there.”

In a long-overdue return to form, Neal Pollack nails both the Frey fiasco and the J T LeRoy fraud:

It’s been a hard life because the cops won’t start–I mean stop–beating me up. The other day, I spilled coffee on the passenger seat of my 2006 BMW Convertible. That pissed me off so much that I stopped off at the closest Catholic church and hired a bunch of bums to gang-rape a nun. That’s how much of a bad-ass I am. Meanwhile, the rumors that I’ve been hiring an actress to play me in public are only part true. I did hire one, but I killed her after I made her give me a blowjob under the table at the Paramount backlot commissary. If you’re wondering where all the records of my various crimes have gone, well, they were destroyed in a fire a few years ago, a fire that spread across neighborhood police stations in every state. You didn’t hear about that fire because of another fire that night, this one afflicting newsrooms.
And yes, it’s true that an Egyptian princess found me in the bullrushes and raised me as her own son. The fact that I was 16 when she found me didn’t stop me from fucking her, hard, and then killing her to claim her throne. As soon as that was over, I sent Gus Van Sant, who is making this blog entry into a movie, a dried elk’s penis as proof.
If any of you question any of my claims, you’re an asshole. Actually, you’re an asshole anyway, and I’m going to kill you if I get drunk in your presence. I’m sorry about all the bad things I’ve done. Now buy my books.

All the Babu has to say is that there’s a word for when you make your book up: fiction. And there’s a long, long set of words for when you make your personality up; just ask the men in white coats to whisper it into JT LeRoy’s shell-like ear.

James Frey has this to say about the controversy:

“This is the latest investigation into my past, and the latest attempt
to discredit me. In an effort to be consistent with my policy of openness and
transparency, I thought I should share it with the people who come to this
website and support me and my work.
So let the haters hate, let the doubters doubt, I stand by my book, and my
life, and I won’t dignify this bullshit with any sort of further response.”

I still prefer his previous comments on writing:
“If I am in pain, I want the reader to be in pain. If I feel joy, I want the reader to feel joy. If I feel sick, I want to make the reader sick.”
Two out of three ain’t bad, James.


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One response to “Freyed at the edges”

  1. Rabin Avatar

    Haven’t read the book, not my style of writing. But i hear that if this book had been titled a work of fiction, like some suggest, then i’m told it still would be a great book and be widely read. Now if 4 million people have read this book and a vast majority of them have apparently liked it, i wonder, how does it matter if the writer faked his life or not? I’m told that people need to believe that a man who has gone to the pits of hell has come back to live a normal life. Now if redemption is what they wanted to see, it is all around them, yet they seek it only in tiny well marketed packets. Who cares if the story was real or not when instant gratification is all that is sought. Like i said, it isn’t my kind of writing 🙂

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