Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Frey him!!

I may as well put in my two cents on the James Frey book controversy. When I first read about the book, it did not interest me at all. And when Oprah started raving I wondered what intrigued her about a memoir of degredation,addiction, and pain. I still was not interested, even with redemption. In fact I remember feeling slightly "guilty" that I did not want to suffer along with the author. Bottom line...if someone has been through a hell somewhat of their own making, is it naive to believe it would be a totally honest account? Or even that their memory would be coherent? What does bother me is finding out that publishers do not check the veracity of memoirs.


AnneD said...

Hi Susan. It really, really bothers me when writers fabricate memoirs. Bret Easton Ellis recently published a book of *fiction* and properly labeled it as such, even though he himself is the novel's protagonist and most of the details are autobiographical. That's somewhat confusing, but at least he is honest about what he's selling.

When I was doing magazine work some years ago, a fellow staff writer (I'll call her "Bea") wrote a wonderful article about a foreign-born refugee attending a prestigious U.S. university. Bea led the piece by quoting from a letter this young woman had written home to her parents about life at college, and she interspersed quotes from letters throughout the article. They were fascinating and moving.

Then, somehow, just before we finalized the layout for that story, it came to light that Bea had MADE UP all the letters in the article! She had to rewrite it all, of course, but I never trusted anything she reported after that. If I had been the editor, I would have fired Bea on the spot. How do people think it's OK to lie to their readers? And don't give me the creative license crap when something is presented as nonfiction.

Betrayal -- that's all it is, plain and simple. (In my humble opinion!)

susan said...

i see that oprah finally came to her senses and apologized today for this mess.. that's good.

Jrose said...

Working in TV news for 12 years has taught me NEVER to lie about the facts. How could this get past book editors, tv producers and talk show hosts. I must say Oprah really gave it to him today.