The L.A. Times reports that the James Frey fallout continues. Apparently Frey sold a TV pilot to Fox, which the network has just pre-emptively cancelled before it was aired -- which has to be some kind of record, even for Hollywood.
Before Oprah Winfrey castigated Frey for "duping" her with his book earlier this year, the writer sold Fox a script for a one-hour, apparently tongue-in-cheek crime drama. According to the script, it's about Malibu-based private eye Donald "Insane" Tremaine, "former world champion surfer, PI, … Chevelle driver and lover of ladies."
We're going to go out on a limb here and assume that the character sprang entirely from Frey's imagination, in a process similar to that employed so brilliantly in his bestselling memoir.
A copy of the script obtained by Channel Island finds Tremaine in a Tijuana caper, hunting for the estranged daughter of a filthy-rich client, aided by his sidekick Marvin, a bald, cross-dressing loser.
Tremaine: "I'm going to Mavericks, Marvin."
Marvin: "Mavericks. The biggest, most dangerous waves in the world. Average wave is 30 feet high, some waves as big as 75 feet. What do they do when Donald "Insane" Tremaine, former world professional surf champion and big wave legend, shows up?"
Tremaine: "Not much."
With sparkling, sassy dialogue like that, we can't imagine why the pilot was killed.
The Devil is in The Lies
This man does not deserve your efforts "The last signing I went to, he was very supportive of AA..." I understand that you want to believe in this man, but I'm sorry, I just can't understand why. His book states, in a snide and dismissive way, that alcoholism isn't a disease. "I would like to stand up and scream this is bullshit, this is all fucking bullshit, but I don't. I don't believe that addiction is a disease. Cancer is a disease... Alzheimer's is a disease... Addiction is not a disease.
Not even close..." Or here's the blurb from his publisher's website: "In writing his shattering, beautiful memoir, A Million Little Pieces, James Frey does away with a lot of things: punctuation, standard grammar rules, 12-step programs..." How can this be considered supportive? But denying the disease concept of alcoholism doesn't just undermine A.A., it flies in the face of decades of clinical research, and just about any conceivable treatment method, other than his "Hold On," or more honestly, "Just Say No," philosophy.
To do so on the basis of his experience with one case, his own, is massively irresponsible. I have no problem with his finding his own path to recovery, but I have a huge problem with his invalidating others'. "When it comes to the struggle that Jim and so many of us face, the devil is definitely not in the details." No, the Devil is in the lies we tell ourselves and others.
By asserting that the truth is unimportant, that it's acceptable to lie to and manipulate others, that no one should be held accountable for his actions or his words, you give him aid and comfort. -- Norma Desmond
Frey is a Fraud
Frey is a fraud and should be punished. By his fabrications, he has stolen food off the plate of some more talented writers who for various reasons have been overlooked by the publishing establishment.
C'mon! People need to be smarter than this! People wonder why politicians lie and forgive this? Hey, if it's fictional, it should be called fictional! I made the mistake of actually wasting money on buying this book. From page one, it was a waste. I caught him on Oprah and -- sorry -- couldn't see how this could have been a guy who supposedly lived a hard life.
Even addicts from wealthy backgrounds have a hardness about their appearance -- I mean it really takes a toll on one's system. I would like the media to also stop referring to the children of corporate executives as middle-class (if you make over six figures, you are probably not middle-class). Frey's background was upper-middle class if not upper-class.
I am sure a lot of graduates of some of the small liberal arts schools around the nation recognize his type - the boasting preppie - the same guy to treat townies like shit, pick a fight, and run off leaving his friends to restore the peace. Like the blood-thirsty cook on the aircraft carrier (there's a reason why he's a cook), he is nobody that you can count on.
I echo another's comment about sounding like a vet of AA, having had family members who were members and counselors. As my cousin, who is a substance abuse counselor, says, "When they stop trying to top each other with tales of excess, then the real recovery begins." Hell, some people last 10 to 15 years in AA before they finally stop exagerrating and get better.
Frey deserves our contempt, abuse, and scorn.-- hhfjbaker
Publisher's Note to Be Included
News from Doubleday & Anchor Books
The controversy over James Frey's A Million Little Pieces has caused serious concern at Doubleday and Anchor Books. Recent interpretations of our previous statement notwithstanding, it is not the policy or stance of this company that it doesn’t matter whether a book sold as nonfiction is true. A nonfiction book should adhere to the facts as the author knows them.
It is, however, Doubleday and Anchor's policy to stand with our authors when accusations are initially leveled against their work, and we continue to believe this is right and proper. A publisher's relationship with an author is based to an extent on trust. Mr. Frey's repeated representations of the book's accuracy, throughout publication and promotion, assured us that everything in it was true to his recollections.
When the Smoking Gun report appeared, our first response, given that we were still learning the facts of the matter, was to support our author. Since then, we have questioned him about the allegations and have sadly come to the realization that a number of facts have been altered and incidents embellished.
We bear a responsibility for what we publish, and apologize to the reading public for any unintentional confusion surrounding the publication of A Million Little Pieces. We are immediately taking the following actions:
We are issuing a publisher's note to be included in all future printings of the book.*
James Frey has written an author's note that will appear in all future printings of the book.
The jacket for all future editions will carry the line "With new notes from the publisher and from the author."
*Customers should find the Author's Note and Publisher's Note in copies purchased from Amazon.com after April 15, 2006.
Took it Too Clearly to Heart
Though Frey claims not to have needed 12 Step programs, on one level his deception refers directly back to them: AA and NA meetings are NOTORIOUS for fostering blatant exaggerations. I've heard friends turn a single night of poorly-paced heroin snorting (and its vomitous morning-after) into months of squalid addiction replete with gangrenous trackmarks and Lovecraftian withdrawal hallucinations.
Anyone who's ever been in NA knows that such exaggeration is "part of the culture", so to speak -- finding ourselves still alive, on the far side of substance abuse, with faulty memories, and barely a sense of how we got from there to here, it seems a completely natural step to exaggerate the depths you once sunk to.
The community responds, they love it, everyone rolls their eyes and clucks their tongue, it's a fundamental part of the ritual (born-again religious klatsches are equally ornery in this regard) because it repeats a simple formula: exaggerate the sins of the past to reiterate the salvation of the present. In this way, everyone feels better -- and many feel competitive, thus creating lurid, down-and-out fodder for the next meeting.
Not that Frey is to be forgiven for presenting this schlock as memoir rather than fiction, but I'll bet the marketing savants at his publisher bear equal responsibility. As do all the people who bought the book and read it and took it too clearly (and literally) to heart.