Oprah Makes Me Sick
Regarding fiction author, James Frey's visit with Oprah yesterday...
Oprah says she was duped by Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces. Frey admitted to MAKING-UP (Oprah: "Lying, James, lying!") parts of his story.
It's a memoir. Who said, "A memoir is the most outrageous form of fiction"? Smart observation. From watching Oprah's show (and all the pundits who followed on the cable news oulets), I've come to realize that the term 'memoir' has many different meanings to different folks.
The guy altered the details. So what? How does this effect anyone? He made the book more readable. Are addicts all over the world now going to stop "holding on" because Frey stretched the truth? Does he still get points for those that continue to keep the faith? What happens to all the kids that believe they can fly after closing the book on Harry Potter ? Wait'll they find-out that J.K. Rowling based her hero on an unemployed cousin.
Look, it's no secret Frey shopped the manuscript as fiction. If the reports are true, he was turned-down by seventeen different publishers.
Then Nan Talese entered the picture.
If anyone should be scrutinized, it's Talese. Some say that it was Talese who decided to market the book as non-fiction.
Wasn't it fun to watch Nan distance herself from the book on Oprah? Just think: yesterday's show would never have happened if Nan had simply added the words, "some events have been altered to protect certain identities."
How about Oprah making herself out to be the victim in all of this. She screeched at Talese for being derelict in her duties as publisher for not properly vetting the book. Hey, wait a minute-- shouldn't Oprah have vetted the book, too? Wasn't Oprah accusing Talese of commiting the same sin that she, Oprah, is guilty of?
One last thought: Oprah shredded Frey on live TV yesterday for portraying a false image of himself to his fans. You know what I'd love to do? I'd love to grab the guy at Hermes in Paris and ask him if he saw the same Oprah clawing at his locked door that we see everyday smiling from our TV sets?
(A portion of this column appeared in the LA Times)