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James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces fiction?

The Smoking Gun just published a long article (via 3qd) alleging that James Frey’s memoir, A Million Little Pieces, is not as non-fictional as he’s claimed on Oprah and in countless other interviews. From A Million Little Lies:

Police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey’s book. The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw “wanted in three states.”

In additon to these rap sheet creations, Frey also invented a role for himself in a deadly train accident that cost the lives of two female high school students. In what may be his book’s most crass flight from reality, Frey remarkably appropriates and manipulates details of the incident so he can falsely portray himself as the tragedy’s third victim. It’s a cynical and offensive ploy that has left one of the victims’ parents bewildered. “As far as I know, he had nothing to do with the accident,” said the mother of one of the dead girls. “I figured he was taking license…he’s a writer, you know, they don’t tell everything that’s factual and true.”

TSG became interested in Frey when they attempted to locate his mug shot after his Oprah appearance, had difficulty locating it, and started to dig a little deeper. Along the way, they uncovered several instances in Frey’s book that appear fictionalized or significantly embellished. When contacted for the story by TSG, Frey hired a lawyer and published some of his confidential correspondance with TSG on his blog, at the same time commenting:

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.

TSG alleges that he also admitted in those conversations that parts of his book were untrue.

The Smoking Gun has a pretty good reputation with these sorts of things, so I expect this to be taken pretty seriously by the media and probably Frey’s publisher and fans. A James Frey message board is already buzzing about the piece. If it holds up, TSG should get some recognition for it…this piece is as good as any investigative piece I’ve seen in a newspaper or magazine. I haven’t gotten around to reading either of Frey’s books…has anyone out there read them? What’s your impression of the books and TSG’s allegations?

Reader comments

MaxJan 09, 2006 at 12:13AM

There have been suspicions and allegations that A Million Little Pieces includes fabrications and embellishments since day one. Frey originally shopped the book as a novel based on a true story and then reworked it (ostensibly getting rid of the not true parts) before getting published as a memoir - according to a Joe Hagan piece published in the New York Observer (not available online.).

AmandaJan 09, 2006 at 12:21AM

I've read the book and found it extremely interesting. I researched online after I finished it to see if I could find anymore written evidence of rehab and most of what he said seemed pretty legitimate. It does, however, sort of take away of what I believed to be his true experience knowing that it might not all be true. It changes my perception of him as a person and a writer.

But I figure the book wouldn't have been as interesting if he didn't fabricate a little. Most people who come through rehab and survive it and stay sober probably don't have as good of stories about their addictions as the ones who sadly don't make it. His book really shed light onto how horrible hitting rock bottom and fighting your way back can be, but it did inspire me in my own personal trials.

As a book, memoir or fiction, it's a fantastic read, and reads easy considering how it's written in fragments and stream of consciousness. The one thing that stuck with me, and probably will for a while, was his recounting of dental surgery sans anesthesia.

JoelJan 09, 2006 at 12:36AM

Frey Guy writes BAD fiction and passes it off as fact. I smelled a rat not one chapter into a Million Little...
I guess I could understand if you haven't grown up around people who have been messed up on drugs, but I have unfortunately and his book smelled like bs throughout. If you were inclined to believe it was true but later found out it was in fact fiction, I fail to see how you wouldn't be angry and disenchanted. For people who would appreciate the story and the author even if it was revealed to be a sham, there is no hope. They probably think there are WMD in Iraq as well.

MarkJan 09, 2006 at 1:24AM

His father is now a professor at my University. I'll have to stop in during his office hours and ask a few questions.

The beginning, being on a plane when you and your clothes are covered in blood seems highly unlikely to me. How would you even be allowed to board?

Not to mention the whole perverted priest story..

YolandaJan 09, 2006 at 1:30AM

I read A Million Little Pieces and found it to be a captivating read. However, the boook is written with such painstaking detail--some of which seems deliberately crafted for artistic effect (such as his daily effort to look into his own eyes)--that I questioned Frey's ability to recount everything so clearly in prose. In many ways I thought the book was the literary version of the "documentary" Touching the Void, that featured detailed re-enactments of "actual" events. I don't believe that recreating or reworking events for artistic effect is outright obscene; but I do believe it is obscene to label such reworkings as non-fiction.

MargaretJan 09, 2006 at 1:31AM

I read both of his books, A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. Since I approached both of them as if they were fiction (which is pretty much always my approach with memoirs—how can I ever confirm their veracity?) it doesn't bother me to know that they might be.

Steve RhodesJan 09, 2006 at 2:40AM

The problem is most people don't approach memoirs as fiction and they many feel like they've been lied to.

Time and memory do make things less exact, but there is a difference between
that and making things up.

Though if they had been published as fiction, people would be asking which parts were real.

CJan 09, 2006 at 6:38AM

I wouldn't call it one of the best books I've ever read but he does have a unique writing style that I recommended to most people based on that alone.

The book did, for me - seem so detailed that I thought how could anyone as fucked up as he claimed to be, remember all of this in explicit detail. Creative license I assumed.

ypJan 09, 2006 at 7:59AM

Seems like silly differences in semantics to argue over "how true is really true" or "how much can be falsity/truth draws the line between fiction/non-fiction."

The conversational writing style lends itself to embellishment. People edit spoken conversation to make for better stories; likewise when writing. It's pretty easy to deduce he's probably making some things up for dramatic effect.

ypJan 09, 2006 at 8:00AM

oops, meant: "how much can be false/true before drawing the line between fiction/nonfiction"

whatiseeJan 09, 2006 at 8:17AM

It really reminded me of Lee Stringer's Grand Central Winter. While A Million Little Pieces was an interesting read, it wasn't mind blowing, nor did it really come across as 100% accurate. The story arcs and characters all fit together a bit too well.

On the other hand, his descriptive ability and plot development is excellent.

So worth reading, but I'm not surprised it's "enhanced", much like this JT leroy unravelling going on.

carriekJan 09, 2006 at 8:20AM

I did read a Million Little Pieces. As I was reading it I couldn't put it down, but the whole time I was reading it I kept asking "If he was so out of it on drugs and alcohol how could he remember every little detail with such clarity? I enjoyed it as I was reading it, but the more that I thought about it afterwards, the more that I felt that a lot of it was embellished or falsified.

Frank BlackJan 09, 2006 at 8:34AM

An odd little factoid...

Just the day before I saw this info on TSG, I did a mini rant on my blog that included the word "Oprah". Didn't mean much by it, but I said it. The next day I read this and shook my head. It was like prophecy.

Anyway, I dropped a note on the Oprah's Book Club board, bringing this issue into the conversation so all those who are reading the book can at least make up their own minds.

Of course, the post was removed in a very short time.

Doesn't anyone want to even pretend to be open minded anymore?

The CotbJan 09, 2006 at 8:44AM

As a reader I don't care whether or not the work is fiction or fact-- it reads the same. As a consumer I dislike the idea that the guy passed it off as fact. Such dishonesty doesn't warrant my financial support. An artist can be a horrible person and still gain my respect for his art, but that doesn't mean I will give them money.

MarieJan 09, 2006 at 10:36AM

I'm so glad this is coming out! I read the book and felt like every other chapter I was saying to myself "there is just no way that could have happened."

Especially in relation to the goings-on at Hazelden (and I am assuming that Hazelden is the rehab he is in). It seemed absurd that such a distinguished and long-established facility would allow Frey and his friends to break rules as they saw fit.

Also, I agree with Mark above...what airline is going to take the liability of having a bloody, unconcious, drug/alchohol addict alone on a flight? I've seen them turn away people who simply had one too many cocktails at the airport lounge!

It's a shame that so many people are buying into his story.

gwinnJan 09, 2006 at 10:59AM

My mother, brother and I all read the book a couple of weeks ago, while my brother was in alcohol rehab (for the third time). I'm with a couple of other people on this: it didn't really matter to me whether or not the book was 100% "true". I've heard enough about drug/alcohol/rehab experiences to know that truth is often stranger than fiction when it comes to people and their addictions, so the veracity of specific details was irrelevant to me in terms of the overall theme and impact of the story.

My brother was suspicious of certain elements of the story - but was deeply struck by how on target Frey was in relating other aspects, one example being how he described what his brain did during detox. My brother told me that the one-word, continual repetition of, "Need. Want. Oh God." etc. was exactly what it's like for him every time he's binged and is then trying to sober up.

So, in summary, yeah, I think it's a little shitty (or rather maybe just too clearly in service of higher-sales PR) to represent your work as complete truth, when it's perhaps just influenced by the "truth" but...he's certainly not the first (and assuredly will not be the last) author (or artist of any form, for that matter) who has done this, and it hasn't kept us (as a species) from appreciating their works. God forbid that the day comes (and perhaps I'm being a little optimistic as unfortunately I believe it's already here) that we turn into absolute literalists, incapable of abstracting our own personal meanings from others' realities, whatever they may be.

OverwormJan 09, 2006 at 11:06AM

I haven't read the book, mostly because the entire premise seemed like such a total load of crap. I've known a good number of drug addicts in my day, and been very close to a few.

Fact: complete recoveries of hard drug addicts are about as rare as $100M lottery winners.

Fact: Hardcore drug addicts aren't likely to remember minute details about the day-to-day lifestyle they lead. The whole point of doing drugs is to take your mind away from a coherent state.

After reading about the outing of the factlessness of this book, I'm glad I resisted the minimal urge I had to read this book. As a memoir, it would have had a little appeal to me, but as a novel it has none.

SairaJan 09, 2006 at 11:46AM

Unfortunately have only read half of it till now and have a feeling I'm never going to get through the next half. Personally I think theres quite a bit of truth in it and probably a fair bit of fiction too. Even if it is fiction, he has done a pretty good job of describing the experience to someone who has had no experience with drugs. I just felt it was a bit repetitive and has started to drag. Might finish it eventually.

jerry jeffJan 09, 2006 at 11:52AM

I saw parts of the Oprah episode. The troubling part is watching him hug and advise other drug addicts. And making millions of dollars from it. Also having his parents sitting watching him talk about these false stories was creepy. I guess he coached them.

RustyJan 09, 2006 at 12:02PM

Actually, I'm a little bummed about all of this. I devoured the book and related to a lot of it (I'm a recovering alcoholic/addict), but took issue with some it. While reading it I did grant a lot of leeway for creative license so I'm not too surprised by the allegations. But even if he did create or embellish certain portions of his book, he still helped me understand myself and my addictions a little better. On the other hand, it's just plain wrong to call something true when it's not.

GretchenJan 09, 2006 at 12:04PM

Perhaps James Frey should have been as upfront as Ruth Reichl, who in her memoirs admits to sometimes reworking her memories of the past for a better story.

I felt it was such a powerful book when I read it, and I must admit that's been diluted by finding out that parts of the book may have been fabricated.

MegJan 09, 2006 at 12:27PM

I'm no fan of Oprah's book club, right off the bat. I think it does appalling things in the literary sphere and, rather than encouraging people to read, encourages people to read one book at a time as endorsed by a woman who keeps bringing Tom Cruise on her show and is richer than God.

My roommate was watching the James Frey episode, and as soon as I started listening to him, I was in serious doubt about his veracity and integrity. His face has all sorts of poker lying tells when he relates his experiences, and -- if all his stories are true -- seems to be exploiting a lot of horror he created in others' lives to end up on the best seller lists. Although that's nothing new.

Like others here, I know addicts and have heard their stories of walking some very, very harsh roads to recovery. Several of them did it without any 12-step program. Their experiences don't ring true to his at all.

I think James Frey saw a good genre opportunity and went for it, wholesale.

I hope he's uncovered as a fraud and that all the people he has "helped" realize that they had the strength and presence of spirit to do it without him or his faux memoir.

EricJan 09, 2006 at 12:27PM

I would be curious what you found in "Touching The Void" (movie) to be untrue? Joe Simpson wrote the book and advised on the movie, and although I read the book many many years ago, the movie seemed a rather literal interpretation. Now, I agree that dramatization can be really lame, eg Discovery Channel story of being captured in Cambodia complete with shaky camera etc.

I think what is being discussed here is making stuff up. I don't think Touching The Void is in that category, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

CourtneyJan 09, 2006 at 12:27PM

I think the question of whether memoirs in general should be factually true in their entirety is a more interesting question that has been raised by this. If that is how someone actually chooses to recount their life, as it has been filtered by them over time, can people really be so shocked and appalled? There is no such thing as a true, factual memory from any one person -- we all filter and adjust and rework our memories over time.

If people want to be upset that Frey is is then going on to console and advise other addicts, that makes more sense to me, but I myself have to wonder how many memoirs out there are not the product of the author's reinterpretation over time. That is what most authors do, in general -- put a style and an interpretation to people and events to make them intriguing or more desirable to read. Gretchen's comment above hits on this point. I don't think many have levied such criticisms against Hunter S. Thompson, for example. His excesses were so great that few probably ever questioned his exploits with such detail, but it is entirely possible that his recollection (or re-interpretation) of events in his life were also subject to some extensive fictional license.

Wax BanksJan 09, 2006 at 12:31PM

The TSG piece is an irritating piece of smug, jealous finger-pointing. Never mind that they're probably correct in their refutations; the tone of smug self-satisfaction is embarrassing, as are the childish snipes at Frey's personal habits. I found the book riveting, Frey's prose tics and posturing notwithstanding; it is unlikely that anyone at The Smoking Gun is capable of writing a book like it, which no doubt plays in to their motivations. A good journalist wouldn't let snide obviously-merely-editorial asides creep into her work that way. (Maybe I'm idealistic about journalists.)

That said, they've done good work, it looks like, and it'll be interesting to see Frey respond (same goes for Oprah - though her spat with Franzen made her look bad too). There's a certain pathetic pleasure to be taken in seeing a tremendous ego taken down a notch, but if even a tenth of what Frey claims to have been through actually happened, you have to admit: he's a bit justified in puffing out the chest, you know?

To some of the commenters here: the book has not been outed as 'factless'. Frey has been shown (to my satisfaction and that of many others, anyhow) to have made up some stuff. The essence of the story (the recovery from drug addiction) is not challenged by TGS's article; it may be later, but for now, there's a great deal of value to be found in the book. Your umbrage at being 'cheated', etc., doesn't amount to a critical appraisal of Frey as a writer.

Derek K. MillerJan 09, 2006 at 3:05PM

It's a memoir, which I generally consider a novelized remembrance. It's a story, just like fairy tales and PowerPoint presentations and documentary films and blog posts are.

For a relatively factual account of someone's life, I think you need a third-party author. When I read the book I treated it as a fictionalized account of a generally accurate story arc. The ultimate message, that Frey went through recovery and has been clean since the early '90s without using the traditional 12-step process, seems to be true.

Even aside from that, reading the book helped me understand those among my family and friends with addictions and mentall illness much better. I've been to recovery facilities, and I've seen what they've gone through there, and while Frey may have fabricated many details to tell his story, it is a story that worked for me, and helps me improve some of my relationships. It's good in that alone.

OverwormJan 09, 2006 at 3:33PM

Mea culpa!

"Factlessness" was a harsh term. I should have said "fabricated portions", but I guess I felt that sounded too much like what fast food restaurants add to their chicken nuggets.

MegJan 09, 2006 at 3:37PM

I think if he'd admitted to any sort of novelization, that would have been a step in the right direction. But he counsels addicts, he claims truth, he wants to be raw and real. Instead, I see someone who wanted to be the "best fucking writer who wrote the best fucking book" going to whatever lengths he has to in order to capture the zeitgeist.

Mike GravelJan 09, 2006 at 3:50PM

Embellishment is part of the creative process. A memoir or autobiography automatically comes with that unwritten caveat.

However, I can't help but feel that there is a big difference between embellishment a-la Henry Miller or Kerouac and the type of fabrication that Frey seems to be guilty of. I think it is the fact that the success of the book/author hinges on the veracity of the book. If Frey wasn't the addict that he claimed to be, the book certainly loses some weight because he has claimed publicly that the events in the book are "true".

If he hadn't claimed it such, the book might not have seen the light of day, but it would have been more "true", if you get my meaning.

CraigJan 09, 2006 at 3:58PM

It's not the he fabricated parts of the book. Non-fiction memoir, is, by the very writing of it, transformed into a type of fiction. The thing here-- as TSG points out-- the creepy, sick part-- is that he consistently lied about it again and again, insisting it was the dead-honest truth.

And what about that bizarre fictionalization of the train-death accident? Frey isn't just fudging a few details about his "criminal" and addict past, he's involving himself in a tragic accident he had no part of, just for histrionics. Working something that happened near you or to someone you know into a greater narrative is a common process... that fiction writers use. I mean, geez, if it walks like a duck...

essJan 09, 2006 at 5:30PM

The difference between "fabricated" and "did the best to recall" is pretty simple. If you rewrote to make it better, if readily available primary source material is discounted, if you, for instanced, typed a couple of drafts and then made a choice, then you fabricated. And of course, outright fabrication such as Craig describes is beyond the pale.

While it is true that memory is faulty - isn't the point of an honest memoir to be thoughtful and reflective? Perhaps even comment on how and why your memory might be editing life?

JackJan 09, 2006 at 5:34PM

I think most others here have been more eloquent about the basic issues about James Frey lying, looking at his bio it all makes sense. He has Hollywood dreams and fantasy expectatons. This book is a logical product of a frustrated screenwriter who has also had some insight into marketing and what people want.

And when all is said and done, what personally offends me about this whole incident is how it is yet another example of a fake reality being embraced and being fed to people... And people not caring too much.

There's a common criticism of the sometimes called "hipster world" in which everyone involved in that world is on a constant quest for authenticity. Sort of a retro nostalgia with a desire to "be real" mixed in. Paul Ford of FTrain fame has been quite vocal about it. And Paul Ford is quite right. James Frey is a shining example of a hipster quest for authenticity that's cloaked in pretense.

James Frey is marketing himself like a pro. And now he's busted. His story of substance abuse is perfectly crafted to the hipster minions. And let's face it, mainly women who curl up with his story, read it and feel as if they now own a little piece of a wounded soul that they want to nuture and protect. He pushed their buttons perfectly.

And he pushed Oprah's buttons perfectly as well. He's the wounded young son that most parent or older person can relate to in some way. The poor substance abuse addled kid who everyone wonders about and some want to rescue.

The guy is a skilled con artist. And he pulled a fast one on the reading public. While some say that it doesn't matter if the stories are real or fake, I call bullshit on that. There are tons of real people with real stories and real pain whose stories are ignored because they are not "sexy" enough to be marketed right. This dumbass gets a book deal. Gets the fame. And gets the accolades. And all based on a lie.

If the whole concept of substance abuse is someone is trying to numb pain and the whole concept of recovery is remove the substance and get to the pain... The truth... The reality... Then this book is bullshit. I would never recommend anyone who has real issues with drugs or substance abuse read this fake. It will only teach them that being dramatic and eloquent and non-truthful is more important than being themselves.

This guy doesn't desrve anything he's gotten. But I will give the book jacket designer props for a compelling cover.

sherriJan 09, 2006 at 7:03PM

Go Jack go. I agree.

And no one's mentioned the part where he lies about the circumstances of a girl's death so that he can have a better story.

I think Frey's a fraud.

MegJan 09, 2006 at 7:15PM

The train accident thing is the most repellent aspect of the story. But he fashions himself a badass in the vein of Kerouac or Hunter S. He forgets, however, that they could actually write.

And as to his bold realism? Breaking down your life into biological functions doesn't make for engaging prose. It makes for medical charts.

AJan 09, 2006 at 7:44PM

I lived in the same town and went to the same high school (a few years later)
as James Frey mentioned being so traumatized by on his Oprah visit. James Frey was pretty much just known as a local soccer player. I am surprised no one has fished out the wholesome year book pictures. He was part of a group of over privileged, self-absorbed kids that had nothing better to do than try and shock their oblivious parents. He obviously has not changed. I think the guy is full of it.

TedJan 09, 2006 at 7:49PM

I believe he's a good writer who wanted to be famous and a big shot. His personal story was probably too banal for public consumption, so he gussied it up a bit.

However, the literary establishment isn't interesting in publishing fictional drug stories-- they feel, rightly or wrongly, that it's all been done before and usually better.

So Frey knew what he had to do, and he did it. Gussy it up, and 'truth' it up at the same time. And he's a good enough writer, and had the right people behind him, so it worked.

Funny, because I was just re-reading Notes from Underground, and there's a passage where Dostyevski talks about how memoirists invariably lie.

Steve RhodesJan 09, 2006 at 8:06PM

T There was some criticism Touching the Void getting an Oscar nomination for best documentary. But it did make clear that most of the film consisted of recreations (and unlike most on tv or in docs, they were done well).

Paul Ford did a commentary about JR Leroy on NPR

AMd Susie Bright's post about "JT LeRoy" is worth reading

YolandaJan 09, 2006 at 8:56PM

Based on Eric's post, I realize that my previous comment may not have been articulated well or my comparison was just poor. I wasn't trying to suggest that Touching the Void was untrue. Just that there is a difference between documentary and re-enactment. When we read memior we expect that the author is presenting truth, albeit from their limited, narrow perspective. What we do not expect is that they are purposely creating story arcs, including events for dramatic effect, or outright lying. I believe that the book is probably a better read as a result of his purposeful construction, but I would have preferred (if indeed these allegations are true), that the book had been presented as it really is: a work of fiction inspired by actual events.

The NY Times is now covering the story

Scott H.Jan 09, 2006 at 11:35PM

I have read the comments listed and weeks ago commented to my wife the same as written herein. How could the detail be so explicit in his condition. I have had a few rough mornings in my life and had trouble reciting my shower rituals.
However, the accounting of his story and the life he claims to have protrayed is a lesson of hope regardless of fiction or non fiction. I guess we will have to guess which is which.

CindyJan 10, 2006 at 7:46AM

I read the book and will read it again. It is a great read whether it be non-fiction or fiction. What so many are forgetting is what the book is about. Addiction. If this book helped one person it was worth him putting his name on this book, however it has helped several to just hold on. Many people can now say they are sober because of this book. Is that not enough! Why do people search and search to find wrong in the world. When someone publishes a book like this and it brings goodness, why condemn. For the person from smoking gun that brought this out remember this advice, it is so much easier to bring goodness into the world, think how long it took you to bring out this story. With bringing out this story you are giving those that decided to become sober an excuse to go back to the addiction. If one person hears of this and goes back, can you live with that. James Frey will be able to live his life knowing he did help people change their life. He did bring goodness.

OverwormJan 10, 2006 at 8:26AM

Cindy, the thing is, Frey's book isn't the only book that can help bring solace and enlightenment to addicts. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of such books.

What's disturbing is that Frey is positioning his story as 100 percent true. Paulo Coehlo wrote a wonderful book called "The Alchemist" which, while not dealing with drug addiction, has provided solace and enlightenment to more people than Frey's book will ever touch. Yet, Coehlo saw no reason to disguise his parable as a true story.

The question I have is: If Frey's tale proves to be more fiction than fact, how can recovering addicts accept that his words of "comfort" are meaningful. If it is proven that he made up much of his tale, including the depths of his dependency and thus the miraculous recovery, how can one assume one can do the same? If he's a liar, how can one be certain he didn't lie about everything and maybe no one can really attain a persistant recovery.

That is the danger of marketing a fiction book as a non-fiction book. Recovery is a fragile state. This sort of lie is exactly the sort of impetus that can drive a recovering addict back to drugs.

If Frey wanted to write a book of half-truths, he should have told his publisher it was a novel. As it is, he may turn out to be a fraud, and his reckless stab at fame and fortune may doom many addicts to a relapse.

Way to go, dude!

cindyJan 10, 2006 at 8:56AM

Overworm, I am not saying Frey's book is the only book, I am just saying it is a book to bring hope to addicts. Why discourage hope?

charlotteharrisonJan 10, 2006 at 9:35AM

i dont care if the book is fiction, it was a wonderful read.

all i really want to know is if leonard was real. if so, where can i find a freid like him?

kjonesJan 10, 2006 at 9:49AM

In the scheme of things, even if 50% of "A Million Little Pieces" is embellished, what impact, really, does it have on your life? Personally, I found the book to be a refreshing change from the same old clichés found in many was entertaining....that's the bottomline. Afterall, isn't that the purpose of literature? In fact, the definition of Literature is "written works that are regarded as having artistic merit".

SherryJan 10, 2006 at 9:51AM

To the editor of

I am absolutely shocked at your article on James Frey and his recent memoir " A Million Little Pieces". Not because of your article's contents - but because of the obvious malicious and greedy intent behind it.

First of all, I am a 40 year old recovered addict (22 years), and a child and sister of recovering alcoholics and addicts. And all I can say is that when a book comes along that can impact so many people's lives in a positive way - whether totally truthful or not, it is a remarkable thing. My brother, previously a successful salesman earning nearly six figures a year, was nearly dead from crack cocaine and heroin by June of 2005, and since he read this book which was recommended to him from another recovered addict (thanks in-part to the book), he has been completely transformed, and sober, and leading many recovery groups into sobriety as well. It was then passed onto my parents who have had a remarkable recovery journey from it as well, and then I read it and was impacted deeply. Obviously you don't see the message behind the book, nor do you care.

Who cares about the fabrications? All writings are embellished for dramatic purposes - you know that better than anyone else - after all - isn't that what tabloid writing is all about!!! All I see from your article and really poorly designed web site is a crappy tabloid company that is obviously trying to reap more needed money by preying on actual success stories. You should be ashamed of yourselves, and know that everyone who has read this book either was impacted by the story, or actually received some inspiration and/or therapy from THE MESSAGE - NOT THE DETAILS. You have really proven to be quite disgusting - and everyone I've talked to feels the same way.

If you are such an "investigative" site, then I'm sure you're aware of the drug problem in the United States today. I'm sure that you're aware of how many people relapse over and over. There are addicts everywhere. And I'm sure some on your staff. And yet, you choose to sabotage a means of their recovery just for your own financial benefit. You are pieces of shit, and deserve to fail yourselves. You are, and probably have employed, nothing more than vicious tabloid writers & editors, and stalking slime-paparazzi who are defined more evil and less integrituous than any other employed citizens in American society today.

No one who has reaped, or will reap any benefit from James Frey's book will give a flying rat's ass about your article, other than disgust toward you and your so-called company.

Grow up and get a real job. And start caring about others besides yourselves.

Sherry Diamond-Dalton
Orlando, FL

MelissaJan 10, 2006 at 9:57AM

Whether all of the facts are true or not, I felt that both books really rang true to alot of my feelings of dealing w/ addiction. I too have a very vivid memory of going through rehab and maybe some of the things I remember, someone else close to me may remember differently. What kind of world do we live in that every success story needs to disected. Of course there were things that were added in to make things seem more interesting. Could any really be expected to acount for every conversation, word for word that they've ever had? Is there really a memoir out there that is 100% fact? Those books inspired me(someone dealing w/ addiction), as I'm sure they've inspired many others. They gave family members and loved ones some insight to what goes on in an addict' s head, fiction or not!

kjonesJan 10, 2006 at 10:02AM

Go Sherry! Go Sherry! Go Sherry! I especially agree with your statement that it's "THE MESSAGE - NOT THE DETAILS" that really matters!

jerry jeffJan 10, 2006 at 10:30AM

Nobody would have paid attention to the message of this book if it wasn't for the "details" (in this case "details" being large parts of the story).

tomJan 10, 2006 at 10:35AM

I'm glad TSG had the chops to dig for the truth, which Frey claims to hold in such high regard. It does matter if this is a work of fiction being passed off as actual experiences. If he's asking people to be vulnerable and give their emotions over to him, then there must be an expectation of trust. He's a con and nobody can say they don't mind be conned.

kjonesJan 10, 2006 at 10:37AM

There's an intereview with James Frey from 2003 at the following website that should give some insight into all of's the link:

And here are two of the questions that I thought truly illisutrated Frey's point of view.....

QUESTION: Are you hoping to avoid being any kind of poster boy, such as "inspiration to alcoholics/drug addicts/criminals everywhere," "The New Dave Eggers," or "The Lesson of the Tao for the New Millenium"?

ANSWER: I don't want to be a poster boy, the new anyone or anything, or any sort of teacher. I am a writer. I wrote a book. Nothing more.

QUESTION: You say that you don't want A Million Little Pieces to be known as a recovery memoir, and you're hoping that publishing the book with Nan Talese and Co. will help eschew that generalization. What about Ms. Talese and
Co. will help achieve that, do you think, and what (other than 'recovery memoir') are you hoping the book will be known as?

ANSWER: Nan is the premiere literary editor in our country. She works with some of the best writers in the world: Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, Jennifer Egan. She doesn't publish crap, and she doesn't publish sappy, bullshit memoirs. Having her name on my book gives it instant legitimacy.

If it were my choice, it would be listed as literature. It doesn't really matter though. What matters is how many people read it and how it affects them.

SMJan 10, 2006 at 10:40AM

I just recently finished reading the book. I thought it was pretty well written with an interesting style but there were many things that didn't ring true. I didn't know any biographical information about James Frey at the time I read it. I then discovered some key facts about James that made my initial instincts stink of an opportunist and possibly a fraud.

The fact that he is a screenwriter made a lot of sense. AMLP is written in a stripped down minimally descriptive style - which is the standard way screenplays are written. I hope people don't think this is a groundbreaking innovative style that he invented. He also cites Bret Easton Ellis as his mentor - who happens to write in a very similar minimalist cinematic haiku form of prose. He also has made a career writing about the depraved moral vacuum of the lives of rich kids in America - the same world Frey comes from and knows plenty about.

Given this info, it becomes very obvious that Frey's intention all along was to eventually have this made into a film. And he succeeded in doing so, and I will definitely give him credit for that - writing a bestseller that affects millions of people is a remarkable accomplishment regardless if they were made under somewhat false pretenses.

It seems that going bar hopping with Brad Pitt in LA seems more aligned with his ambitions that having to sit and talk on Oprah with
a bunch of degenerate loser drug addicts who feel he has touched his life. And Frey did what most writers would do if Oprah invited them to be a part of her book club - its a winning a lottery ticket - he showed up, smiled, shook her hands and lauged all the way to the bank. And I 'm sure in Frey's mind - pretending to give a shit about random people across the country is a reasonable price of doing business.

This may all sound cynical but its the truth. For a book whose fundamental message is that the only thing that matters is the truth -
well, this is really what is going on behinid all the smoke and mirrors.

AMLP was not written by some blue collar recovering drug addict who works in a steel mill who happened to write a NY Times bestseller. It was written by a wealthy, priviliged, ambitious and media savvy young writer with his eyes on the brass ring of Hollywood.

The reality is most alcoholic/drug addicts are way too fucked up to haven the ambition or drive to execute what James has done.
The biggest question mark here is whether James was really an addict in the first place. In AMLP he makes light of addiction to a certain degree by saying that it is not a disease but rather a choice.
Sure he abused alcohol and drugs from a young age - But turning your life around after hitting rock bottom in your early twenties, after having your parents pay for your very expensive private rehabilitation - is moderately admirable - but hardly deserving to be made the poster boy for strength and overcoming extreme adversity.

That being said, there is a lot of value that can be taken from AMLP as a work of art. I have no interest in trying to take that away from people. I think he just fucked himself by repeatedly saying that it was all entirely true. I just believe that a book that purports to be non-fiction and whose ultimate message is that the only thing in this life that really matters is the truth - then let the truth be known.

KathleenJan 10, 2006 at 10:52AM

I think his book was filled with ego inflating stories. I am an addict and in recovery myself, and unlike what Amanda says above, MANY people who make it through recovery have gruesome stories. I do. But the one thing that is necessary for recovery is an ego-deflating process that starts with admitting we are addicted (powerless) and need help and must continue receiving help ( God/Higher Power) from outside ourselves to remain sober and sane. Hearing Frey's response of "I won't dignify this bullshit" only shows he is still not free of his anger and running the show on his own. I challenge anyone out there to find someone in rehab or recovery who is forced to have that extent of dental work without anesthesia. Did anyone check out the truth in that? Why would anyone try to get clean if they had to go through that? Not even to mention that he replaced one addiction for another (the codependant relationship with the girl), and that buying a $40.00 glass of booze to sniff away at it to "challenge" his determination is shakey at best. And so what. Just because you can smell booze doesn't mean you are living sanely. Addicts have more self will than most's staying sane that we have to work on. The saddest thing about his story is if he is trying to appeal to the struggling addicts out there, he gives the impression that an individual can recover on self-will alone. That is the exact opposite of what the 12 step program employs as a method of recovery, and very effectively for the last 70 years. Why would anyone want to send a defferent message out there? That his defiant, abrasive attitude is something to be admired and sought after as a means of recovery? And to all you out there who say it's a book of hope and carries a message of possibility. Remember, it's ATTRACTION, NOT PROMOTION that has been the fcornerstone of the most successful recovery program for people who suffer from alcoholism, addiction, gambling, codependancy, food addiction, etc. etc. Let's not think we have to reinvent the wheel with publications to carry a message of hope. The hope is out there in open meetings. One in four people in this country are affected by alcoholism/addiction. The options for recovery are well known. The only thing that prevents it, is a big fat ego that won't accept help. Frey will hurt more people by carrying the message that you can balk at 12 step programs and be successful. Have him take a poll on how many have done it his way, and publish those results. Then you'll see what kind of hope he carries.

BradJan 10, 2006 at 11:21AM

I understand that some people think this is a great book even if it is mostly fabricated, but the reader has a right to know this in advance. I bought and read this book under the impression that is was non-fiction. I had a feeling as I was reading it that there was a lot of "truth stretching" going on, but now there isn't a doubt in my mind. It does matter to me, I do feel cheated, and I never would have read the book if I had known the truth ahead of time. If Frey would have put some kind of disclaimer in the book, nobody would be upset but his sales probably would have also been much lower than they were. I will not read anything else by him.

I walk to the garbage can. I throw the book in. I laugh. The book is in the garbage. The book is in the garbage.
I laugh.
I laugh.
I laugh.

NicholeJan 10, 2006 at 11:50AM

I think a lot of you have too much time on your hands. I loved the book. It touched me and that to me is all that matters. It might be embellished, or not. I still think the message is the same. If it can help one person, than it is worth it. I don't know anyone who is perfect and it really doesn't bother me if Frey makes tons of money- Good for him. It is sad that the world is still focused on bringing someone down who succeeds instead of saying- Good for you . Do I know if he embellished-no. Do I personally really care-no.
Let it Go
Let it Go
Let it Go
Let it Go.

MegJan 10, 2006 at 11:51AM

Sherry, it's not just about the message... it IS about the details. It's about integrity. You can take license with the truth if you admit to taking license. He didn't do that until he got caught.

And the message I am getting from all the Frey apologists, quite frankly, was that it's okay to lie if someone likes your lie and if that lie makes them feel better.

Which is -- irony of ironies -- kind of like taking a drug because the drug makes you feel better. What could possibly be wrong with this drug? It makes me FEEL BETTER. I like HOW IT FEELS.

Too bad it's garbage.

classof88Jan 10, 2006 at 12:07PM

It's quite simple what this book is. Fiction, a story highly embellished, based on real life events. He mis-represented it to sell it. I can say I know he embellished it. I graduated with him and was there when the girls died. He was NEVER mentioned in regards to the tragedy. Everyone blamed Dean and rightfully so for driving drunk and trying to beat the train.

And if preppy rich kid now equals bad boy"keep your kid away from Jimmy" outcast, then maybe we should rethink... IF I were to choose and outcast from our graduating class it would NOT be James Frey. He was just a quirky rich kid. (Jimmy is what his high school classmates called him)

These discreptions lead me to believe that the rest of this story is also highly embellished. Selling the book as fiction would have been no harm done, but what he did IS wrong.

WandaJan 10, 2006 at 12:17PM

I have read many many books greater than this one. This book does not even fall into the mediocre category in my opinion. I bought it after I bought into the hype and I'm regretting not buying it used and saving myself some money. The book seems unbelieveable most of the time, it is self-pitying page after page, line after line, grammatical error after grammatical error, and it seems like an attempt to write a book just to get famous. I love recommending books to friends and coworkers but this is one book that I will not recommend. I have no doubt that Mr.Frey was/is an addict but this is an obvious blatant attempt to raise his bank balance. I knew after the first few chapters that this book should have been found on the fiction shelf. Mr. Frey lied throughout the entire book. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that he said that it took 41 stitches to close a huge wound on his face that went right through his cheek...where is the scar? I look at his picture and I see nothing. He is a manipulator. There is no other word for it. And he did this with forthought knowing that it would boost his sales which is even more pathetic. He should be ashamed to stand before all the people that he has lied to and look them in the eye. I did not enjoy this book before the chit hit the fan and this just solidifies the feeling. He should have stated the truth right from the beginning instead of putting himself on a pedestal for all to revere -- which is what the audience and critics were doing. Be careful, Mr. Frey, that's a shaky pedestal that you're standing on. I can't believe how many people were deceived by this book of fabrication and nonsense. This book was misrepresented.
I want my money back, Mr.Frey.
You lied and deceived.

avidreaderJan 10, 2006 at 12:23PM

I read through every post hear today, and in light of all of the things that have been said good or bad about this book, I have but one thing to say-- I read the book and I liked it. I take all accounts of history (fiction or documentary) as subjective. I was taught that at an early age by my parents. I also think about my own friends that did drugs and drank excessively in my early 20's and the accounts of the craziness and the criminal activity is at times not as I recall the same events. Even as I read this book, I did often wonder about his ability to recall things in such detail, but it never kept me from finishing or finding the book to be a good read. As far as it being marketed as "fiction" would have--as someone points out--been torn apart as well. People love to tear others down and in the name of truth seeking. I find it curious that so many take issue with this book, and yet find nothing wrong with the fact that we are lied to on a daily basis by news organizations that call themselves "fair and balanced". Additction is a serious problem, but I didn't see this book for that... it's about personal accountaility and that by far is worth sharing, for so few people recognize that not blaming others is the true test of courage and I do not see Frey blaming anyone for his problems with addiction.

just read itJan 10, 2006 at 12:38PM

The fact that his stories may be fiction should have no indication on his writing ability. I have a very close family member who has served countless jail time due to drug abuse, breaking & entering, domestic disturbance - you name it. The alcoholism, drug abuse and anger are real in this story. I can attest that the things Frey describes can be real. The "character" is lucky to get his life in order. If you want to read something that is a quick read, and interesting - read this book. Who cares if Frey is a phony? He is a good writer. PERIOD.

KenJan 10, 2006 at 12:41PM

I stayed up one night reading the first part of the book, ending when the author is confronted by Leonard before leaving the rehab. The book certainly does keep you up. I am a longterm recovering alcoholic/addict, and on a feeling level, the book does get down what the experience of addiction is. But, I was in a rehab for 6 months, and I could never imagine getting dental work without anasthesia, or a rehab putting you through this. Recently had two root canals, and the anasthesia was in no way mood-altering, just numbing medication for the mouth.

Also, I kept thinking if this person would just listen to what's being said in meetings, then he'd be able to stay clean and sober without so much bullshit. Too much stinking-thinking...

All of us in AA, however, know what self-promoters and fabulists addicts/alcoholics can be, and THAT certainly rings true.

KenJan 10, 2006 at 12:42PM

I stayed up one night reading the first part of the book, ending when the author is confronted by Leonard before leaving the rehab. The book certainly does keep you up. I am a longterm recovering alcoholic/addict, and on a feeling level, the book does get down what the experience of addiction is. But, I was in a rehab for 6 months, and I could never imagine getting dental work without anasthesia, or a rehab putting you through this. Recently had two root canals, and the anasthesia was in no way mood-altering, just numbing medication for the mouth.

Also, I kept thinking if this person would just listen to what's being said in meetings, then he'd be able to stay clean and sober without so much bullshit. Too much stinking-thinking...

All of us in AA, however, know what self-promoters and fabulists addicts/alcoholics can be, and THAT certainly rings true.

kimmJan 10, 2006 at 1:04PM



MegJan 10, 2006 at 1:07PM

With fans like this, who needs truth?

FaithJan 10, 2006 at 1:12PM

I was disappointed to read about these allegations towards the novel. I found it very moving, and I believe that even if some instances in the novel were fabricated the book still has given people hope. I have just started to read "My Friend Leonard" because I liked the first novel so much. People are just trying to make a stink because they can.

JackJan 10, 2006 at 1:32PM

"The fact that his stories may be fiction should have no indication on his writing ability."

Actually, he's a very skilled writer and con. Why is it such a "big deal"? Easy. It's a lie presented as truth. As a memoir it's compelling to an extent. But as fiction, it's predictable. Perhaps that distinction is lost on some, but he's not the first young, affluent, white, hetereosexual man to have experienced what he experienced. There are tons of other books that have inspired people. And tons of stories that don't get told.

The basic issue is this arrogant ass has acheieved a level of success most writers never achieve by presenting fiction as fact. He's manipulated his readers. And even Oprah fell for it.

As someone who has known--and worked with--pathological liars, all the red flags of a complete BS-artist shine through in James Frey's work. And in his defense of is work.

If James Frey truly wanted to "inspire" and "help" people he would have done what tons of addicts have done. Simply work with and help others who have experienced addiction. There are tons of faceless and nameless--as far as mass media is concerned--people out there who share their pain, honesty and experience to save others.

James Frey is simply a con artist who is personally benefiting and laughing all the way to the bank.

tJan 10, 2006 at 1:36PM

i have to say that many of the people that are on here slaming this book have not been to detox or rehab(or known anyone one who has) i have experience with both myself & with family members. james frey my have taken some of his experiences & streched them, but as a whole, i really feel he captured the horror & despiration of drug addiction. maybe he may have embelished some of his stories to make them more interesting but i feel the raw emotion is what truely brings you in & keeps you there. if his book rings true for one person or if it helps someone understand how horrible the road away from that life is then i say more power to him! i know how hard it is to crawl up from the bottom& to do it without a twelve step program, even harder. don't begrudge a person's success who has climbed the the crap to get there! all of the people out there upset should understand that in every fiction there is truth & in every truth there is a little fiction!

SRJan 10, 2006 at 1:48PM

As I read through all the comments, I could not help but notice how up in arms people are with the fact that this is published as "Non- fiction" I agree with Sherry "The message - not the details" My ex-husband is a 43 year old meth addict, started using pot at age 8. He lived in a wonderful home on the west coast line. Both of my children are now putting themselves in these risky situations and I needed to find a way to understand the problem through the eyes of an addict. (they are in counseling) I stumbled on James Frey's book yesterday and I did not want to sleep I wanted to continue reading. And while maybe he used filler words to create the visions I see while reading it, I do not care. I have heard some of his words come out of my daughters mouth. I cry too often because I fear that my daughter may one day experience what her father has experienced (he has been beaten by dealers who he owes money to, he has been raped in jail, he has begged for money, squats, does not pay child support of course etc..). It does not matter your background, how rich or poor your parents, or whether or not you were abused, drugs do not have a name. If I were to write my memoirs of my childhood I would have to explain the actual event in many more words than I can remember and I too would probably embelish a little but it does not mean that the EVENTS did not happen. These are his memoirs and he may have felt that HE IS repsonsible for the deaths of his classmates, in his own minds eye. - (I will see when I get to that part thanks a lot!!) Oh by the way - when I talk to kids (in middle school)about drugs - they usually ask to speak with someone who has gone through the experience - so kudos to James for putting himself out there for other addicts.

HoodwinkedJan 10, 2006 at 1:59PM

Post your feelings about the recent findings.

MegJan 10, 2006 at 2:09PM

You don't need James Frey to get through this because he wasn't doing it for you. He was doing it for him. This is my point -- James Frey is not the patron saint of addicts everywhere. He's a guy who took a lot of drugs, wrote a book, and went on Oprah.

There IS a problem with lying, even for the right reasons. There IS a problem with misrepresentation. There IS a problem with coopting the pain of others. There IS a problem with what he did. It doesn't matter if you liked the book or if you're an addict or love an addict (and please stop assuming that those who are taking exception have no experience with these things).

This is not a bit of creative license -- of course we see things through our own filter. Anyone could take that gracefully. I'm a writer. I know what writers do with their experiences.

But this was fraud. I cannot wrap my mind around why being a good writer or an addict makes it okay to lie.

srJan 10, 2006 at 2:37PM

Yes Meg there is a problem with misrepresentation and lying lord knows we've seen/heard it in the government. But I am happy that James wrote his story and I really am not going to get wrapped around the axle about whether or not EVERY word or event is true. and I am happy to go home and finish reading the book. And if it sparks an interest for someone to read it, or helps an addict realize they are on the fast road to nowhere GREAT - hell it is just nice to here people still READ!

MMMM and where did the assuming that those who take exception have no experience comment come from, are you reading into words that do not even exsist?

donnieJan 10, 2006 at 2:46PM

This book never gets published if it's presented as fiction. Know why? Because the writing is derivative, obvious and beneath the level of professionalism editors expect from writers who claim to be serious.

CMJan 10, 2006 at 2:52PM

Fact is I know the guy and went to school with him. He was a good guy with an apparent high I.Q. Seemingly, far surpassing many of those who have posted on this site.
In the book, he portrayed the people we commonly knew as they were, so I am inclined to believe he remained true to those he described post college. As for the stories they claim are "lies", I would imagine there is not a person among us who does not tell a story ("as we recall it") that does not have some form of exaggeration.
You need to remember where these accusations are coming from. L.A. is an exacerbated version of everywhere else in the World. Someone has success---hoards of people are there trying to tear them down.
Describe for me where in the TSG story they are proving he lied or falsified details regarding information in the book? The fact is he expunged his criminal records, with the exception of one arrest that was buried in the basement of Granville Police (who make all of 300 arrests per year, so they did not have "storage issues.") They are using that as evidence he lied throughout the book? All that doess is confirm at least one of his convictions. They attempt to say that specific arrest was supposed to be the one described in the book. Prove it.
If you knew him you would know (for a fact) he had severe problems with drugs and alcohol. He has recovered and his book is entertaining, and more importantly helpful to those recovering. Do not fall prey to the idiots in L.A.

JackJan 10, 2006 at 2:59PM

CM, questionable defense of Frey. But need to inform you that The Smoking Gun is--and has always been--based in New York.

"Do not fall prey to the idiots in L.A."

Do not fall prey to the idiot named Frey.

TraceyJan 10, 2006 at 3:08PM

Anyone who has had the unfortunate experience of being drug or alcohol addicted needs to read this book. Whether true or not, this is the truth in what an addict feels, thinks, and lives in their struggle to fight their addiction and themselves. James Frey has admitted if you look on the front cover of his book that names were changed, facts were changed, and certain incidents spoken of in the book may have been enhanced for a more dramatic effect, but the basic story of it is true. It is my opinion that everyone needs to lay off of this young man and let him live his newly found happy, healthy life. Are any of us really above story-telling and little white lies???? I think not!! Be happy for this man and rejoice in the fact that there is one more person out there who has managed to turn his life around and is fighting the good fight against addiction.

BernJan 10, 2006 at 3:16PM

I thought the book was awesome and had a positive effect on so many people. Yea - to me some it had to of been fiction, however, the message was real and clear. It has made a positive difference in many people’s lives. Frey should be applauded for his work.

OVERWORM - Everyone has a right to their opinion - but to be taken seriously you might try reading the book.

SarahJan 10, 2006 at 3:20PM

I just wanted to say that I loved the book, whether the whole thing was true or not. Maybe he can't recall EVERY SINGLE DETAIL, but it's what he remembers to be true from his experience, whether it's built up a little or not, that's how he remembers it to be true. Just like when you're little, you remember things differently, but it's what you know to be true from what you remember. Anyways, I thought it was great reading. I used to have a drug problem when I was about 19 I was sent to rehab. Nothing like his, mine was more of an outpatient rehab and random drug testing, I never ever used the 12 steps because I thought they were a bunch of crap too although that's all we heard every day at rehab and I haven't used drugs for years (I'm now 26), and have completely lost the desire to. I still have dreams that I use, even a couple of days ago I dreamt it, but I don't want to and I know I never will again. The person I was when I used makes me sick and I don't want to be like that person any more. So I think that James can do it as well just with the will to not want to be that disgusting person anymore. I did it, and I'm sure more people out there can and have done it too. I wish people wouldn't read in to every single detail. If the carpet in the center was blue but he said it was green people would call him out on it and said he wasn't telling the whole truth. I loved your book James! I'm looking forward to reading My Friend Leonard and also hoping that A Million Little Pieces becomes a movie, fiction or non-fiction, I'm going to watch it.

MegJan 10, 2006 at 3:23PM

I guess if you want badly enough to believe it, anything can become true. It's sad to see people put so much hope in anything but themselves. But I'll lay off now:).

SarahJan 10, 2006 at 3:23PM

I completely and 100% agree with what sherry and SR have said. This was a great book regardless of everything that's going on around him. This man was brave enough to write his story and put himself out there and this is the thanks he gets. Some of you people should be ashamed of yourselves for saying the things you've said about him.
He is an amazing writer and I really hope that he gets back on Oprah and sets the record straight for all the haters. Because i know i will listen with an open mind to his explanation and i hope everyone else does to.

LauraJan 10, 2006 at 3:24PM

It It would be difficult to write any memoir based solely on fact. We see the past from our point of view. Everyone’s perception of how something has happened is different BUT he should’ve used a disclaimer saying “these are the events as I saw them. Some things are fictionalized for emphasis.” When you say you have written true non-fiction then every single fact should be verified and your naïve to think someone won’t check it especially after you go on Oprah.

LynneJan 10, 2006 at 3:34PM

I have not read the book yet, but having over 28 years in recovery, and working in the addiction field for over 26 of those years, I can tell you that if an an addict wrote the book, it is the nature of the disease and the memory of the disease for distortion to be part of the story. I cannot imagine that anyone's memories do not have some distortion of reality, and if you talk to children in the same family, each one will have a different reality of what happened in that family. Even the same incident within a week of occurring can be related differently with everyone who was there. In fact, by that evening, by that afternoon, there can be different twists. And then he was under the influence for those occasions, so maybe he did the best he could to discribe what he could remember, and why write a book that does not offer entertainment or maintain someone's interest?

Anyway, it takes many more years of recovery than this man has; or may ever have, to truly understand his real story, as a therapist, I hear the stories everyday that change with time, as well as understanding my own life.

Another thing, I automatically ASSUME is that ANY memoir has distortions, so anyone who feels slighted that they read a book by a drug addict and feels scammed, you were very naive. And hopefully your money was well spent, if you learned anything about addiction. The other thing to understand about addiction and recovery, is that honesty and truth are very highly valued in recovery. Because it is so hard to attain as a human being. We are well defended, if this man values truth, his truth is only relative to his ability to see reality, if that makes sense. There is a saying in the recovery "rooms", that we can not stay sober today on yesterday's honesty. It is said for a reason, we change all the time, as does our ability to understand our selves and our lifes. I am glad the book has gotten the publicity it has gotten, addiction sucks, and this book has helped a lot of people. And for the person who says that recovery happens for "hard core" addicts as often as you hit the 100 million dollar lottery, well, you have been looking for those in recovery in the WRONG places, most people in recovery are not recognizable and do not going around bragging about it. But there are millions out there doing what they need to do to live a "normal" life.

LBJan 10, 2006 at 3:42PM

It's a good read, whether or not it's true, and why does anyone really care if it is or not? He's not trying to change the world. I can't imagine anyone believing that it was entirely true and unembellished to begin with.

seaJan 10, 2006 at 3:46PM

Seems like a dangerous game. Frey wanted to skip AA, so he writes a book as his own form of AA. If nothing else, AA is a bunch of war stories. Many stretched.

From what I've read, I think much of what he says about addiction is true. It's not a disease, it's not life-long, and praying to god/higher-power is irrelevant. It is interesting that his book became an internal therapy, a substitute for aa, the 'sharing our stories' part. The honesty part is gone and he may end up hurting his chance for keeping clean.

All through hubris. The best writer of a generation, the man to write truthfully about drugs as no one else has. Brutal honesty.

One of the reasons Frey stated for writing the book was to set the record straight about aa. Which is something important. It is as close to monopoly as there is. It is a religious group. It is strange that all drug treatment comes from psychedelics vision encountered by Bill Wilson taking belladonna. Powerful stuff.

He has put himself as a poster boy for a new form of sobriety, his fans view him as a savior. Sadly, any truth in his message will not be swept away as the messenger is suspect.

I kind of feel sorry for him and hope he stays out of trouble. His choices have made him a target. No one likes getting lied to.

Why did his highly suspect books strike such a nerve with the public? Why do we like all our addicts down and out beyond belief? Frat boy gets dui is not as compelling, eh? Who decided this was great writing? Makes me miss 'Less than Zero."

Fascinating story.

SusanJan 10, 2006 at 3:47PM

My instincts were correct 3 months ago when I first read AMLP. I am not an addict/alcoholic but the people I care the most about in my life are: Father(deceased), both brothers (one in recovery, one died from the disease) and my dear son ( in recovery). I know from personal experiernce the depths of despair.... I also know the heights of hope and recovery that my loved ones have found in the 12 step programs. James Frey is dead wrong for ALL of the reasons aforementioned in previous blogs and has done a disservice to the mulititudes dealing with the disease of addiction.

The only thing James Frey got right was the fact that addiction is truly a monster and the ego is it's food.

I'm not here to judge why he has done this, only to encourage anyone who might need help to search out a legitimate 12 step program.

gwinnJan 10, 2006 at 4:24PM

To: everyone who is on the "12-step or nothing" program bandwagon
From: someone whose brother just went through his third stint in rehab, whose father is a recovering alcoholic, whose grandfather died from alcoholism, whose uncle is an alcoholic, whose two other uncles committed suicide because they couldn't deal with being alcoholics, whose four out of eight cousins are alcoholics...
Re: the "God" aspect of the 12-step programs

When I saw my brother over Christmas, during what was his third rehab experience, the majority of our conversations revolved around the fact that, since he doesn't believe in God, he felt that all avenues for "institutionalized" recovery were closed to him. While the "therapy" was wrapped in "God, or your Higher Power as you believe it to be" -- the message was always: if you don't believe in God you are not going to make it. This has been, and continues to be a huge problem for him. When the message being pounded into your brain is,"do the 12-step program or fail" and you don't believe in one of the prime tenets of said program, and no other options are presented as viable, it's not very promising.

James Frey, in all his untruthful glory, does present some alternative to that of having to believe in God in order to achieve sobriety.

My brother is working his way toward sobriety, and while people like my father persist in beating him down by saying, "Only Jesus Christ can save you" he refuses to acquiesce to a belief that would be yet another lie to him. Somebody, somewhere, needs to tell the story that whatever you believe, or how you get yourself to believe it, the ONLY thing that can truly save you is your ability to say NO.

If James Frey's book can help someone do that, then I don't see how it's much different than relying on, oh, that other book of way-after-the-fact reported stories, otherwise known as the Bible.

(I'm not a Bible hater, BTW, but let's not forget that all the stories therein were written by men several - hundreds of - years after each of the incidents purportedly took place...

nJan 10, 2006 at 4:28PM

who cares if the story is true or not had heart was a good read ....are people so into celebrity ?....he is an author not an actor....lets try not to make him into an icon(celebrity) ......and at least it's good that people are reading ......well via television ...but people are still reading ...that's good ....right?

Pat W.Jan 10, 2006 at 4:33PM

You can't stay sober without outside help of some sort. So if you're claiming to be clean without AA or "real" are lying.

Member of AA and "working the 12 and 12" and sober for 2 years and living.

larryJan 10, 2006 at 4:39PM

Penn Gillette, of Penn and Teller fame, has made the same claims about AA and the 12 steps as Frey. He's done it publicly too, but that's not the issue. The issue here is integrity. I believe Frey's opinions and experiences with substance abuse, his feelings about AA and recovery, but, let's be honest, that's not what sold the book to the agent, the publishers or the reading public. If it did, it would be on the first page, but it's not. What's on the first page is a young man on a plane, not knowing where he's going with a hole in his face and some teeth missing.

Frey needed a hook, a spectacle to sell this book and, more than likely, he didn't have it. So he made it up. Actually, more than likely, the whole thing was loosely based on himself and when he couldn't sell it as fiction, he changed it to memoir and couldn't resist cutting out the sections that were not true.

LaurenJan 10, 2006 at 4:41PM

i think that people are just jealous of his success. it is sad really that people feel the need to bring down someone who is succeeding. It seems that society wants us to fail because success only brings more trouble. The book was excellent and i believe this is a ploy to bring down a man who has done something with his life. If the book was not as popular, these accusations would not exist. I think that if people would focus their talent on something more important then checking every little statement someone writes, there might actually be some productivity in this country. I find these accusations trivial and should let writers compose what they wish, for they are the ones who have the talent and stamina to actually write a novel or autobiography in the first place.

CindyJan 10, 2006 at 4:44PM

Excellent read...loved the style of writing. Hopefully you will put your stone in hand before you hurl it to hear his side of the story.

JackJan 10, 2006 at 4:46PM

An aside, but I just realized something. Here and elsewhere people are tripping over themselves defend a person who is--for the most--part a stranger who has made wholesale lies and fabrications about his life.

Tangentally on the IMDB message board for Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' remake, people are tripping overthemselves arguing over the lack of 'realism' in a fake movie about a non-existant giant monkey.

I'm finding it hillarious that people want to defend lies about reality (James Frey) and are also demanding a level of reality out of fiction (King Kong) that simply does not exist.

Directly connected? Not at all. But when the general public demands that fiction to be real, and defend liars who present fiction as fact as being excusable you create a world of entertainment that's just a deception on all levels. The word 'ironic' is too weak to fully encompass the contradiction of what modern entertainment consumer demand for the world.

HughJan 10, 2006 at 4:51PM

At one point in AMLP, Frey, talking to his counselor at Hazeldon, says that if she isn't shooting straight with him, then she IS the Enemy. What does that make Frey to the addicts/alcoholics who took him at his word and were 'inspired' to try it his way?

JoshJan 10, 2006 at 5:09PM

I have read both books and I pissed off that the whole thing was crap. If I knew I was reading a frat boy's fairy tale of being some tough guy, I never would have spent the money. The main appeal and the reason why I cut him slack on his horrible writing technique was the fact that I believed he truly was a person who had experienced such horror. I read the full report from TSG and its absurd that Oprah Winfrey, with the money and power she has did not do her research before glorifying Frey. I can't blame him for going for his, but I do feel slighted and am upset at the publisher and Oprah.

softdogJan 10, 2006 at 5:10PM

Here's why it matters that Frey is a liar:

"I don't give a fuck what Jonathan Safran whatever-his-name does or what David Foster Wallace does. I don't give a fuck what any of those people do. I don't hang out with them, I'm not friends with them, I'm not part of the literati." Don't even get him started on Dave Eggers. "A book that I thought was mediocre was being hailed as the best book written by the best writer of my generation. Fuck that. And fuck him and fuck anybody who says that. I don't give a fuck what they think about me. I'm going to try to write the best book of my generation and I'm going to try to be the best writer."

that his wife calls him a savage "because I eat with my hands. Because my best friends are my dogs. And I like pit bulls. And N.W.A. And I love boxing. Writers aren't like that anymore. They're all these guys who have fucking master's degrees and are so 'sophisticated' and 'educated' and ... well, I'm not a guy with a master's degree ... I can write big fat books, but I'm not an effete little guy."

"For most of the 20th century, when people like me grew up wanting to be writers, people like Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Norman Mailer -- none of these people got into writing and didn't take it fucking seriously. They got into it saying, 'I'm going to write books that change people's lives. I'm going to write the best book of my generation. I'm going to be remembered as someone who changed the way people think and write and live.' Well, I don't have a problem saying I want to be the fucking best."

in his Observer interview, he talks about "moving against the trend of irony" and being "a bullet in the heart of that bullshit.

I've met a lot of people who know Frey - he's an upper middle class guy through and through, and here he is posing like some working class hero because he only got a BA. His entire sales pitch and persona is based on not just on exaggerations but an entire false pose of populist, in your face, truth and massive ego. Along with making shit up beyond the point where it is okay to make shit up in a memior. Which, by Frey's own aggressive standards, is complete and utter bullshit and someone needs to call him on it, which they have. He chose to be evasive for expedience, not art, he could have presented this as fact based fiction and sold it any way.

These days such arrogant lying does matters. There's a whole bunch of folks who have abused power and reaped unearned rewards using false claims of populism. Frey might be a small fish who got exposed but I don't begrudge anyone the satisfaction of seeing a priveleged person who profits from deception get humilated over it. It's not like he has to give the money back - he's still has a career, but now his "realer than thou" attitude might be humbled a bit.

DPPRTJan 10, 2006 at 5:15PM

Who cares that not all of it is true. It could very well turn someone's life around. I'm going to buy it and READ it.

PaulJan 10, 2006 at 5:16PM

I read and LOVED both A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic living with AIDS, I identified with the general story, some of it's harrowing details, and KNEW as i was reading it what was likely fact, and what was likely the GRANDIOSITY of the addict. Everyone I met in treatment was either the BEST addict or the WORST addict...we HATE to just be run-of-the-mill. That's what the 12 steps help with James...terminal uniqueness.

BarryJan 10, 2006 at 5:21PM

James Frey is irresponsible and has done nothing with his book except make money and potentially hurt people who really could recover with a 12 step program. James Frey is a hoax, a coward, and couldn't recover from a tic tac addiction without a 12 step program.
As a recovered addict/alcoholic myself, I can see only harm and self seeking in your irresponsible writing. Some people who don't know better might believe your bullshit, and they might die of their addictions as a result. I hope you show what a "tough guy" you are and retract what you said in your book and make it right.

Piss off

DmJan 10, 2006 at 5:41PM

While we can clearly see he may have embellished his arrest record/time served in jail, there is no other evidence put forth to dispute any of his claims about drug addiction, his stay at rehab, or any other social interatctions written about in his book, with the exception of the train accident. While he does say he is partially blamed for her death, the main article on this page is inaccurate. Only one person in the accident, his friend, was killed, and she was also with a male, not a female, from what i was able to find. Now I am not telling people to believe this book as gospel, I believe people should make their own decisions, however, the posts following this article are horrifying. He may have embellished his time served, and what he was arrested for?? Well then I just knew everything he wrote about was fake, like everything that happened at rehab. Several posts by people who haven't even read the book use "facts" to discount it's validity.

"I haven't read the book, mostly because the entire premise seemed like such a total load of crap. I've known a good number of drug addicts in my day, and been very close to a few.

Fact: complete recoveries of hard drug addicts are about as rare as $100M lottery winners.

Fact: Hardcore drug addicts aren't likely to remember minute details about the day-to-day lifestyle they lead. The whole point of doing drugs is to take your mind away from a coherent state.

After reading about the outing of the factlessness[nice use of a double negative there] of this book, I'm glad I resisted the minimal urge I had to read this book. As a memoir, it would have had a little appeal to me, but as a novel it has none"

If you had bothered to read this "load of crap" you would have found that these facts are in the book, and are not disproven, but upheld. Infact nearly the entire premise is trying to explain addiction, such as doing it to take your mind away from what you feel. I myself have struggled with addiction, mostly abusing large amounts of prescription medication such as Morphine and anit-psychotics, along with alcohol, and doing a variety of other "drugs" on the side. I have also needed to be hospitalized, and had to recieve treatment. I must be $100 million lottery winner because I was able to over come my addiction. I also did it without 12 steps or a higher power, and know that if I had put my faith into something else I probably would have failed. I also know from my previous expierences that what Mr. Frey writes about addiction and overcoming it is true; and could have only come from a person who themselves dealt with severe addiction. Whether certain points like his arrests, or involvment in an accident may be indoubt, the general integrity and authenticity of this book is intact.

TiffanyJan 10, 2006 at 5:55PM

Given that the book was in the Fiction department, I was understanding when he took some detours. I agree that there is no way anyone could remember what they ATE every single day of rehab. I also agree that it is quite lucky that someone happens to be in rehab (and make best friends) with a Mafia kingpin and a Superior court judge at the same time. I have see addiction at it's worst and I do think that, while embelished, the tale sticks to the truth of the matter. It is a very good book. Shame that he felt that he had to perk it up. It probably loses it's credibility because of that.

BeverleeJan 10, 2006 at 6:12PM

I read the book. I will have to say that it was very riveting, but now I'm feel a little cheated that everything is not true, but I will have to say that there were a lot of things that I sincerely doubted from the beginning. As the above writer stated, I doubted the airplane incident. Also, the dental appointment, I have never heard that drug addicts cannot be given novacaine, this is not a narcotic, I don't think that this is all true. The facility seems to be a top notch rehab center, just listing to all of the food choices made me wonder. Where were the physicians and staff when he was doing all of the bleeding and vomiting of blood. Did anyone ever check a CBC to see how low his blood count was? If he was vomiting as much blood as he states and, having blood in his stools, he would have been anemic, and he would have gotten a transfusion. This was all suspicious to me. Also I would like for James to admit that he did receive help at this facility. The counselors helped him to realize where his problems stemmed from, but he doesn't give them any credit. He thinks that just "holding on" helped him to recover, not the steps that he DID work, even though he doesn't admit it. I hope that this book does help some of the addicts who draw inspiration from it. Therefore, I feel that my money was well spent. I have passed the book around to all of my friends, though, so they didn't have to fork out any dough to this guy. This does make me feel somewhat better.

AnonymousJan 10, 2006 at 6:17PM

When you sober up a drunken, lyin', horsethief, you still gotta deal with a lyin' horsethief. Why would anybody be suprised? An addict/alcoholic is lying??!! Embellishing??!! --
The hell you say.

Ninety-nine percent of the things coming out of the alcoholic/addict is bullshit. Hasn't ANYBODY ever know an alcoholic? An addict??

I've been clean and sober for almost nine years. I went to the dentist for a dual bone graft. It involved cutting open my gums--on both sides--down to the bone and and adding a synthetic bone paste to my natural jaw bone.

I did it with no gas or narcotics--it took 13 novacaine shots into the roof of my mouth--but it got done, the doc thought I was a little off until I explained why I couldn't take anything.

Getting a root canal without even novacaine? BULLSHIT. Either the doctor is an idiot or inept--as is his patient--either way the doctor shouldn't be practicing and the patient, well the patient should either quit lying or get himself committed.

This is only one of many examples. All of this being said and your anger aside....anything that draws attention to the difficulties we face from this disease can be considered a positive. I'm just suprised he got away with it for so long.

The current outcry is more likely from sympathetic readers that feel they've been duped. Try empathy...much easier on the emotions and the soul.

OsunsinaJan 10, 2006 at 6:25PM

Oh Well! I am up to page 250 now and I am enjoying the story. When I heard about this report, my response was... If Frey's work can uplift someone, straighten someone out, educate someone... Then what the hell! What's done is done. His imagination did what it had to do for someone else and that's what reading a book is all about. I am not saying that what he did was correct. I am saying that it's not that serious.

essJan 10, 2006 at 6:27PM

I agree with everyone who says that nothing is more important than motivating those in trouble.

Four years ago, over Easter, we realized that my sister was drinking way too much, had been in trouble with her drinking for years, and so to "wake her up."

We told her that her 7-year old son had cancer and needed her. We shaved his head and starved him and everything. Boy was she inspired! Plus, maintaining the "fiction" really brought the family together. The best bonus though, was the mad cash from the "Save Sheldon" fund. Sometime we still see the donation jars at suburban Quickie Marts.

Who cares about honesty when even one person can have a better life?

BradJan 10, 2006 at 6:27PM

To Kathleen -

Thank you for your comments here - they mirror my sentiments exactly - I would love to get his counselors and mentors versions of his story - much of what they say in his book filter through like good sense in his extreme effort at self-aggrandizement and belligerance.

Each copy of his book should have your paragraph as a warning

Much of the story seems contrived and after reading Smoking Guns account of his purported time in jail - or not - I have doubts about the accuracy of almost everything in this book - including the extremity of his addiction -

And just for the record - his literary style is hamhanded and trying

OverwormJan 10, 2006 at 6:28PM

To Lynne: Recovery is a long arduous painful process. Total long term recover requires an individual look deep within and acknowledge basic character faults. This is not something people do easily, not even for those who are not addicted to mind-altering drugs.

It is often for this reason that many addicts never attempt to quit. It is for these reasons that many addicts who attempt to quit never succeed. It is for these reasons that many addicts who complete a program eventually relapse.

I stand by my assertion that successful lifetime recovery from deep addiction to hard drugs is a long shot. This is why it's very dangerous for people to experiment with hard drugs. Many people can be exposed to a drug and never try it again. Some can dally around and quit at any time. Many others become addicted, and once addicted, it is a crap shoot as to whether any random addict can recover fully.

Maybe these are facts no one wants to say out loud, but they are true. The above-mentioned reasons are why addicts who have lost everything, recovered and regained good ground, will once again stumble and risk hitting rock bottom again. That's why 12-step programs emphasize the importance of religiously attending meetings. IT IS DAMN HARD!

Most people don't handle "hard" things well. I would say that's even more true of most addicts who have a history of turning to drugs to avoid having to deal with the "hard" parts of life.

But, all of that is off the subject of Frey lying to promote his novel. None of it really matters. I don't want to burst anyone's feel-good bubble. If the book makes someone feel good, if someone doesn't mind being lied to, if someone thinks it's the greatest book ever written . . . well great. We all need something to believe in, and if it's not ourselves, any one thing is probably as good as any other.

seaJan 10, 2006 at 6:31PM

Dm, good for you!

gwinn, there are some options for your loved ones, it just takes some looking. Look for SMART recovery, Dr. Albert Ellis or Dr. Stanton Peele. There may be a smart meeting in your area, if not the on-line groups are helpful. I had a 17 year heroin addiction and was determined to find an alternative as the 12 steps didn't work for me. It's been clean for five years and frankly I don't think of myself as a junkie anymore. If you quit smoking you don't have to call yourself a lifelong smoker in remission.

Pat, I'm happy that you are free of drugs for two years due to AA. It works for some, but not most. At best, %10, more likely %5 success rate. I've always found it very rude that AA types tell me I'm going to relapse as I'm not working the steps. It is insane that there not more options out there. It is a program based on redemption from sin. What would happen to a doctor who made patients beg for god's forgiveness to heal a broken leg?

Hazeldeen will tell you they have a %30 success rate. The methodology is based on respond ants after 6 months to a mailed survey. Anyone who doesn't respond isn't counted. And we all know addicts lie like a rug. It's B.S.

The treatment method with the highest success rate is for people who do it on their own. No Hazeldeen, no AA, no nutin'. (Per the "The Truth About Addiction" S. Peele) Many grow out of it. There are options out there.

This fracas doesn't surprise me as addiction is one of the most misunderstood and witchy fields around. The fact that a "See Dick run" drug memoir can offer so much help and strike such a nerve for so many is a reflection of the sorry state of addiction treatment. And of the great misunderstanding of addiction.

A good article to read about addiction and treatment is Peter Cohen the author runs drug policy and treatment for Holland.

HeatherJan 10, 2006 at 6:38PM

Whatever his mission through writing the book, completely true or not, for me personally -- it gave me some hope. My husband is a crack addict and alcoholic. Whether his words are all true -- he was certainly an addict and to be given a window into what is in the mind of someone I love who is his own personal hell was priceless to me. I applaud Frey for opening this window to me and to others. It's sad that our society brutally judges addicts -- now they are brutally judging a recovered one for sharing his story -- probably helping millions of victims like me.

JadieJan 10, 2006 at 6:56PM

After spending way too much time the past few days reading about this controversy and discussing it with friends and family members, I'm just tired and am thinking that it all somehow gets down to the difference between a beaver and a "fat otter with a flat, armored tail." Where one person sees a beaver, James Frey sees a "fat otter." His editor, apparently, doesn't insist, Hey James, that's a beaver. Or if the editor does, James says, Fuck you. So maybe the problem is with the editor/publisher for not demanding that James call a beaver a beaver. Or maybe James and the editor/publisher are both stupid and don't know the difference between a beaver and an otter. Or maybe they do but they don't care. Or maybe they're especially clever because they realize that you can tell readers that something is an otter when it's very clear that it's a beaver and the reader will keep reading anyway even in the face of such an embarrassing fact error. Or maybe it's not a fact error but creative license. Or maybe it's just the way he remembered it, so that's OK too. At this point, I'm going to give up on "Memoir" and go back and reread the "Chronicles of Narnia," where beavers are beavers and they all talk, so I can be clear from the get-go whether it's fiction or nonfiction and what I'm in for as I read.

classOf88Jan 10, 2006 at 7:01PM

Whether the book is good or bad, is not the point here. Obviously people have their own opions based on their own experiences. If it has helped people that's wonderful.

The fact is he did flat out lie in this book as it stands labeled NON-FICTION. I'm not saying that it is not a moving book, and I'm not saying there are not some truths to it.

I was there when the two girls died. It was a horrific event in the city of Saint Joseph. School practically stopped. Counselors were called in. Students were crying. Kids visited the vehicle they died in, I saw it. Kids, including me, went to the wake's and funerals of these two girls. It was an event no one who attended the high school that year would forget. James Frey had absolutely nothing to do with the accident. Everyone knew that the girls and Dean were out at a party before the accident. Dean was driving drunk. The girls were seniors, James, Dean, and I were all juniors.

His "memoir" regarding that part of history is 1 part truth (in that the girl died) and 1000 parts fabrication..fiction... What more can be said? He sold a book on his "memoirs" and it's great.

I understand creative lisence... but this story has gone beyond non-fiction. I personally feel very bad for both the girls family's. Knowing that this guy lied about what happened, called it truth, called it fiction, and made millions doing so.

If he had of made millions selling this book as fiction, I'd of said awesome job. As a writer I'd of twisted events I witnessed in a fictional tale.. but I dont' have the lack of conscience that it takes to call that truth.

Chris ConlinJan 10, 2006 at 7:02PM

I really have a hard time with this idea that it doesn't matter if he embellished, because he presented it as non-fiction. That is dishonest. Are we sure this man is recovered? I lived with an addict at the age of 21 and that is the kind of self indulgent crap he pulled with me and himself. As for the idea that he will be responsible for other addicts return to drugs , he must be laughing, 'cause all addicts know if someone is truer to you than himself that person is a fool.
Find your own way, it's scary but it's the only true way.

MaryOvesJan 10, 2006 at 7:18PM

In the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, O'Brien relates his Vietnam experiences with vivid detail- however, he claims at the outright that the experiences in the book are fictional based on memory. That is, the way you make memories true is by making them into stories. He even dedicates the book to the fictional characters, his fellow comrades. But surely the discerning reader knows that these men were based on real people.

A Million Little Pieces is brilliant; I'm an English teacher, and it has much of the senior class buzzing. However, anyone who reads a memoir should know that details are going to be interpreted and portrayed to the reader according to the author's poetic license. If you think every word in every memoir is true, I have some swampland in Florida that you might be interested in. Take it with a grain of salt, people. I stand by Frey. Should it be considered a memoir? Perhaps not. But it's his life. Leave him to it.

KennanJan 10, 2006 at 7:28PM

Never read it and gald I didn't, it sounds like a complete lie to me and how someone who read this bs and still defends it just won't admit they were conned out of there money.

MelissaJan 10, 2006 at 7:37PM

Wether the book is fact or fiction it is an excellent book. James Frey is a great writer that kept all of us turning pages to see what happens next.

amandaJan 10, 2006 at 7:42PM

the book on the whole is a great story. i could care less if he fabricated, exaggerated, embellished, made up most of it--- laughed at us for believing it or any of it, i really dont care bc at the end of the day i put this book down and had nothing but praise for this author. there is enough element of truth in it to find most of it believable. all the rest of the jealous fukrs can go jump in a lake bc hats of for the dude for writing the story is all i can say!

dolby jonesJan 10, 2006 at 7:46PM

i agree completely with melissa and amanda--- at the end of the day i stayed up until 4am reading this book and subsequently went out and bot my friend leanoar and read it with the same zest and interest. lies, fabrication, truth- i cld care less hes a great writer and i hope he rides out this success train as long as he can bc im sure this guy experienced enuf pain and exposure to come up with 2 terrific books. jealous fukrs is right.

SarahJan 10, 2006 at 7:48PM

Just wanted to let people know.... if you don't already, james frey is going to be on larry king tomorrow night on cnn. So, this way everyone can get the real story straight from the horses mouth as they say.

danaJan 10, 2006 at 7:49PM

I fell in love with the book the moment I started reading it. After reading so many negative comments about James Frey and his occasional "fabrication" throughout the story, why don't we commend this outstanding individual who beat the odds and became a captavating author. Bravo to you James!

SamJan 10, 2006 at 7:56PM

To dana "who beat the odds and became a captavating", but he jusr could not do it if he didn't lie about or the book would never had been published, so he can write but why don't you care about how or why he did it. Just another gifted Con Man, watch out so I'm sure you will find more and I bet next time you will be really mad about it!!

Mary Ann GandolfoJan 10, 2006 at 8:06PM

Truth? What matters is that is James Frey's truth. As the mother of an alcholic/addict who has spent the last 30 plus years in and out of recovery / rehab / sobriety / illness etc., etc. etc. I can say the book rang of truth to me. What James Frey remembers may be at times clouded by the process of what he was going through. He also may have exaggerated some experiences to stress a point. The fact remains, I have been in those rooms, I have had or have heard those conversations. The people he describes are people I know. Actually, the disputed instances, to me, are all incidental to the major story. So far as Twelve Step programs, they are a wonderful thing and indeed are the most powerful tool in fighting addiction. The belief in God or Jesus are not a requirement. Just a "Higher Power". It did however, appear to me that James Frey used his book of Tao foer the same purpose. I wish him well. He is however not home free. My son at one point had 14 years "clean and sober" was a licenced drug counselor and still fell back. Right now he is dying of liver failure after years of using alcohol and just about every substance know to man. James Frey is helping many. Let it be.

AprilJan 10, 2006 at 8:15PM

I've read both books "A million little pieces" and "My friend leonard" regardless of both books being fabricated by imagination and fiction or through fact both books were beautifully written. I am not much of a reader AT ALL I've tried to read other books about addiction and none have captivated me or hit so close to home in my mind. I'm 18 years old and I've been recovering from habitual cocaine use for 7 months now and this book really gave me hope when I really didn't have any. And yes reguardless of how fucked up you are on drugs addicts can remember details were not retarded nor are we brain dead regardless of other petty steriotypes that "normal people" give us. I enjoyed both books very much and I could care less whether the stories came from his ass, his arm pitt, his mind or any other place stories can be fabricated or fictionalized. It was a great book keep up the great work James.

JamieJan 10, 2006 at 8:56PM

As a recovering addict myself, I could tell that there was something off about this guys "recovery" story. Any addict that would suggest going into a bar and ordering a huge glass of alcohol, to see if an addict is serious about recovery is ridiculous. His book is an injustice to people who suffer from the disease of addiction. It portrays addiction as a weakness. Get with the times.....actually the way our country is headed...we just might be resorting back to such nonsense.

goodstuffJan 10, 2006 at 9:01PM

There is a difference between embellishing and lying. Embellishing is adding a touch here and there to make something prettier or more interesting. Lying is presenting something you know is false as the truth. If what TSG reported is true, and I believe it is, then James Frey is a liar, liar, pants on fire. It is not embellishing to say you set a breathalyzer record when you didn't, it's lying. It's not embellishing to say you were arrested for hitting a police officer with a car, causing a melee, and carrying crack cocaine when you weren't, it's lying. It's not embellishing to say you were an scary outcast when you were a preppy soccer player, it's lying. It's not embellishing to say you were involved in the tragic deaths of two young girls when you weren't, it's lying.
Here's the thing, Frey tried to present himself as a hardened bad-ass, drug dealing, addict in order to sell a piece of fiction as a memoir because no publisher wanted anything to do with it when he peddled it as a novel. Someone else made the very good point that as a memoir, it's a remarkable story, as fiction it's derivative and bloated. The sad truth is that I doubt almost the entire story, except that he went to rehab -- but probably only after his parents got tired of bailing him out from his DUI arrests.

DocJan 10, 2006 at 9:12PM

Give the guy a break! As an infant, he had chronic earaches!

SunnyJan 10, 2006 at 9:16PM

I LOVED THE BOOK! Fact, fiction, memoir, or not was captivating. While reading it, I felt the ugliness of addiction and I don't think anyone can disput that. It probably shoud have been publised BASED ON A TRUE STORY, but opposition would have still exsisted. In my opinion a good story, one that leaves a lasting impression, will always cause a stir.

What is truth? What I believe to be true may not be the same as you. Perhaps he fabricated, but to say that he is a liar is unjust. All that I have heard is speculation, and quite frankly, we will never know the truth. So I intend to keep an open mind and let the story live as is in my heart. I don't think I will ever forget it.

I can't wait to read My Friend Leonard...I hope it has the same impact on me (true or not).

JeffJan 10, 2006 at 9:19PM

Read both books. It's not so much that they were embellished, to go on Oprah or any other show and perpetuate your bogus recovery is shameful.

Larry King should broadcast the interview from Fantasy Land. F-him and his fake stories.

PS -His Tattoo is the lamest thing I've ever seen-I hope his dog bites his arm off. If his dog even exists.

Debbie GreveJan 10, 2006 at 9:25PM

I'm only halfway through the book and I am going "Wait a minute..." They let a bloody, half-dead, unconscious guy take a plane to Chicago? He had two root-canals with NO anesthesia? Oh Please. I think this guy is full of himself and making an ordinary rehab stay into this fantastic story of macho BS. I'm a 45 yr old woman, sober for 11 years, detoxed in the county detox center in Phoenix, not at Hazelden. His parents are super wealthy, so he goes to the best rehab in the country (only he doesn't tell you that part of the story). The story is full of stuff that just doesn't happen in real life. Can't wait to read the second half.....

EdJan 10, 2006 at 9:33PM

Oh my god! You mean that the conversations he relates over 400 pages aren't verbatim from real life? Like he didn't remember everything that anyone ever said to him exactly? And some of the details are made up? How can this be? I always thought that if someone printed something on a page somewhere, then it becomes true.

At least I can take comfort that movies are still real. I think I'll go home and watch Fargo.

JessicaJan 10, 2006 at 9:35PM

I read the book, and I thought it was great. I could not put it down. I know that there is no possible way that Frey could remember everything that happemed in detail, but the exact words arn't what is important. What is important about this book is the sum of its part, his incredible journey in overcoming addiction. I believe his story, but am not naiive enough to think he could remember every single detail of his experience.

As far as his police record, well, if you read the book, you would know that the charges were dropped to a misdemeanor and his record was cleared after three years.

For those of you who think his story of overcoming addiction is bogus, because he could order a drink in a bar and not drink it, you are missing the point of the whole book. Everybody experiences things differently, and for James Frey, AA was not the answer. The answer was accepting responsibility, facing his addiction head on, and having the "honor and dignity" not to indulge his weaknes

JeanineJan 10, 2006 at 9:37PM

Anything that knocks Alcoholics Annonymous off of it tower of supemacy, "Holier than tho" statis, "Our way or the highway", can't be all bad.

If Alcoholics Anonymous really worked. People would neighter read books like this nor write books like this. Lord only knows that AA world headquarters has the copyrights to enough books about this subject already.

I believe the "Big Book" of AA says if anyone has a better idea than us let them come forward.

I am for any one who wants to come forward with a different idea. I don't believe AA works.

I lived across the street from a AA facilty as Alcoholics Anonymous likes to call it so they can disavow all responsiblity for the illegal acts that their members commit in front of people houses at 3am in the morning. I decided since I was already up because of them I would take notes. I accumlated hundreds of pages of notes concerning AA members, names, dates, Lic. plates and crimes-- Prostitution, being a John, Child molester, peeing in public, 12 year old prositute smoking in AA facility, as AA likes to call it. Also got AA responses to my notes. That was really an eye opener. No wonder AA doesnt work. I have pictures too of their very public acts of non-conformity--crimes. These people were beyond belief.

The author of the book may not have wanted to mingle with AA people because they have a tendancy to be insane and very disruptive to non-alcoholics who would just like to live in their very costly house unmolested by AA people's personal selfishness which they love to share on a very public level.

Actually every thing I am writing about these people is sugar coated because that is what non-alcholics do who are over exposed to alcholics.

I know a very horrible story about how a crazy person went to this particular AA facilty, as Alocholics Anonyous likes to call it. She went for help. she got her face smashed by a truck right in front of the AA facility as Alcholics Anonymous World Headquaters likes to call it. I have a hundred stories like this to tell and I am not an alcholic. What difference does it matter if the horribleness is his personal experience or someone else's. It is just as bad and all terrible. I recorded what these people did in public and inside the AA facility as AA likes to call it so they can disavow all responsiblity for their members actions for five years. It is all crazy and all true but I was not doing it they were. It is real people doing bad things and hurting themselves an others.

Quite often the best way to illustrate the truth is with fiction. Fargo the movie, if you watch it on DVD and watch the extra stuff. They talk about how the movie IS NOT TRUE. The actors thought that was wrong. The producers said, "So, what is anyone really going to do about it."

Just like this book. So, what is any one really going to do about it.

Anyway, I don't think this web site is any more real than the book because you people must be editing this pretty close because this e-mail is the only one that is like mine--which is mine. I did read most the e-mail before I wrote this. I couldn't be they only one with this to say.


PilotJan 10, 2006 at 9:39PM

I wonder how this guy rationalizes the chioces he made and what he's going to do with the inevitable outcome...Inspiring addicts to get clean notwithstanding, insisting something is true and leaving himself open to scrutiny and being exposed is just the kind of thing a "dry drunk" does.

It is important to remember that character flaws are formidable even after you put down the substance. That is what recovery means. Being honest with yourself first.

Maybe he'll do a mea culpa and win back the hearts of Oprah and his disenchanted readers...

Been there, done thatJan 10, 2006 at 9:39PM

There is doubt being expressed that he was ever a patient at Hazelden.
He certainly didn't arrive there in the mode that he described. Did he go
into detox? And arrived on an airline? The oral surgery absolutely
did not happen. So, what part of this is real? That his name is
James Frey, i guess.

I wonder how many people this book has hurt? Who would go to rehab
the way that he describes it?

I returned my book today to They sent me a mailing label.

fisher_kingJan 10, 2006 at 10:01PM

he is a superstar and i hope he write 400 more books filled with loads of lies to piss all of u off and then makes movies and everyone wins loads of oscars and they have crack parties afterwards. WHO GIVE SHIT> who feels like the biggest idiot now? its a save face for the smoking gun not james. all he is getting is good publicity and all they are getting is mediocre coverage at best. that squatty fucker on tv was in his prime showing his disheveled desk looking like he knew what he was talking about. hey TSG go do better work and print some stuff we really care about. this dude rocks and he will keep on rocking so stop trying to get us to throw rocks at him.

GarygnfpJan 10, 2006 at 10:49PM

Any real recovering addict knows that the first sign of an addict lieing is that his lips are moving. The issue is not that some facts were wrong - the complete personna Frey created is bogus. This guy was a creep frat boy! The disservice the book, publisher and OPRAH have done is give legitimacy to the idea that addiction is not a disease and that one can use willpower to change their life. This will cause incredible damage to addicts that want help. Lastly - any addict that is truly recovering learns to see the past in a new way. The glamour and excitement leave to reveal the deep hurt and saddness of addiction. We share our stories to help other addicts - NOT TO SELL FREAKIN S BOOKS ON OPRAH!!

AlanJan 10, 2006 at 11:25PM

I haven't read the book and don't plan to, so go ahead and slam me for commenting on something I haven't read. I am guilty.

I did read the TSG article and this entire blog and found both very interesting. Obviously, Mr. Frey has a great deal of talent, either in writing, marketing, and/or PR. It is no small accomplishment to write a best-selling book. It also seems as though many people were helped by his book and that is also quite noteworthy.

I just can't believe how he is getting a free pass on all his "embelishments". Frey's supporters accuse his critics of expecting his memoir to be factual in every detail, but we're not talking about forgetting a few facts or adding some color to make the story more interesting. I mean, if you spend a night in the local police station for dui, and you write that you were locked up for a week, I might call that embellishment. But when you turn it into 3 months in maximum security reading classic novels to a convicted killer, that's called fiction.
I know, it's the MESSAGE not the DETAILS. Well, if the message is that you can be a bad-ass, cop-fighting, riot-inducing, FBI-investigated, wanted-in-three-states, alchol-and-drug-addicted loser and then turn your life around without any outside help, what happens to that message when the first part of it turns out to be a complete fabrication.
I imagine James Frey just set out to write a book and sell it. He probably never imagined being picked by Oprah and becoming instantly famous and he admits not wanting to be the poster boy for addiction and recovery. Now he has to defend all of his "embellishing". Lucky for him he has plenty of fans out there who will defend him no matter what he makes up.
Having said all that, I suppose if someone wrote a book that helped me or someone I love overcome an addiction, I'd be pretty forgiving of him also.

St. Joe BearJan 10, 2006 at 11:25PM

I found this site on google... I went to St. Joe High School with Jimmy and knew him pretty well, and when his book first came out it was a running joke in town about the "scam" he pulled off, although a lot of people who knew him were angry. At least the parts in his teen years when I was there were highly embellished but mostly just outright fabricated. He was actually just a normal, upper-middle class kid in the "normal" clique at school, not a jock but definitely not a druggie. He was liked by pretty much everyone because he had a quick wit and a funny sarcastic streak. I think what happened with all of this was he got a little desperate as an unpublished writer going into his 30's so figured his next book wouldn't go anywhere, and he could just make stuff up and nobody would know. But once it started taking off he couldn't stop it... except now he's laughing all the way to the bank. Who can blame him? Good job, Jimmy!

EllenJan 10, 2006 at 11:51PM

I'm 57 years old and reading James' book has had a profound impact on my life. Whether it's fact or fiction, there's no denying my experience and the difference that experience has made in transforming some issues I've carried around with me for about 42 of those years. I am deeply grateful for two words of "A Million Little Pieces" - HOLD ON.

tinaJan 10, 2006 at 11:55PM

People talk as if they know for sure James Frey is lying. I read the book. I personally believe him. First of all in an interview on the today show, he had stated that he left out several days that they all just sat around and smoked cigarettes. The book obviously does not contain every day he was in rehab. Also, I've heard people stating that his book was too poetic. Well when I look back into my memories of anything from my younger years, trials and tribulations, friends and loves I've had, my thoughts are very poetic and the details do stay with you. I was pretty messed up as a teenager, and I have the same problem James Frey has. Several incidents stick in my mind as if they were yesterday, probably because they are humiliating, and you would like to forget them. The fact that he is not afraid to let those memories out shows that he is stronger than all of the jokers trying to discredit him. His thoughts from the incident involving his friend from childhood in the tragic accident was, to me, his account of how a town perceived him. The town had already labeled him as a "troublemaker". I think the point in the book was that he wasn't driving the car, so of course he had nothing to do with the accident itself. If he was questioned by authority figures, of course they wouldn't have been able to pin the accident on him. Even if the girl said she was going to be with James, of course he had nothing to do with the actual accident. It was all about how he was made to feel by a town that rejected him as "the troublemaker". I find that believable (coming from a town that labeled people).

If someone isn't afraid to tell their story, for Christ sake, just let them tell it. Just because someone may gain success from it doesn't make them the bad guy.

psaJan 11, 2006 at 12:02AM

I read the book on December 24th talked about it with my brother, who has been in and out of jail and done druges from a-z since he was 18years old he is now 35 and still at it. On New Years Eve he promesed me he will stop it's been 10 days and counting. If he goes back to his old life style he said he wants to go to rehab. Had it not been for this book we might not had this talk. I asked him to read the book, 1/2 way done he said I should have writen a book like this it would have been better then this cats'. This book has opened my eyes and has given me courage tospeak with my brother regarding his illness, this is what i thing of addiction.

Lynne how may I help my brother to overcome his illness. He now lives with my mother.

May all of us find happiness and see the good in things and be able to tell the difference between what is the truth and what we like to see.

Thank you and God Bless Us All!!

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 12:15AM

Tina.... some of know for FACT that he is lying.. why? because we knew him at some of the key points in his life that he wrote about...

anne fJan 11, 2006 at 12:27AM

May I suggest to anyone who is attempting to maintain a spiritual condition one day at a time the "sick man's [person's} prayer" in chapter 5 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous? And remember to let go of all your resentments before you go to sleep, to the best of your abilities, and thank God for another day of sobriety. Honesty and forgiveness rock and radical acceptance is a revolutionary practice. In the mean time, Frey could help out a lot by copping to his own self-will run riot. Maybe he'll even seek REAL help some day. It starts with a willingness to be willing. Sweet dreams!

Anne F.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 12:29AM

God, all this idol worship is making me sick. Fine, he moved you. Great. It still doesn't even come close to good writing. He turns a page, for sure, but that doesn't mean it's good. Fast food goes down pretty easily too. He's a screenwriter and this stripped-down style is not a choice, it's a weakness, a sign that he really can't write. The only reason I can find for his capitalization fetish is that he wants those words to have import, meaning, but instead of actually exploring the meaning of the word he chooses to capitalize, he just makes it into a symbol, one he doesn't even understand himself. And if he understands it, he's not articulate enough to express it. But don't give me this "some things are just too difficult to express" line, because that's not what writers do. That's why they exist, to express the things most people are unable to. This book is not raw or real, it's spectacle. Its appeal is voyeurism and the glorification of the bad ass life of drugs.

People who think this guy is a good writer haven't read enough. I mean, poetic? Come on. Has anyone read Denis Johnson? Read Jesus' Son, read Angels. Anyone read Richard Yates? George Saunders? Ethan Canin? William Kennedy? Don Delillio? Flannery O'Connor? Phillip Roth? Toni Morrison? Jonathan Lethem? Joy Williams? E.L. Doctorow?

tinaJan 11, 2006 at 12:43AM


Unless you can prove that the thoughts in James Frey's head was not what he was thinking, then your comment does no good. My point was how he was made to feel. It doesn't matter if you knew him, you are not the judge and jury on how the guy felt.

AlanJan 11, 2006 at 12:47AM

Tina, you illustrate a great point in all of this. Many people have said that Frey was not seen as a troublemaker in high-school. The accident report never mentions him being questioned even though it is 16 pages long and has interviews with many people who were actually there and the girls parents didn't even know him. By reading this book and believing his account, you have labeled an entire town as "a town that labels people". This is why it is wrong to try to pass off fiction as fact. If people just read the book as good writing, inspirational, and entertaining, that's fine. But when people believe that all these things are true, they get wrong ideas about real people and towns. How many of you read the part about the priest in Paris and thought "Oh yeah, another perverted priest, that must be true".
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But it doesn't matter, it's just a detail.

C FurtherJan 11, 2006 at 12:48AM

Frey's claim that he is maintaining sobriety by sheer force of will was the tip off for me that this story couldn't possibly be true. A second was the resulting gradiosity and lack of humility. Addiction needs to be taken seriously -- the statistics against recovery happening without the acknowledgement and help of a higher power are practically nil. Frey's refusal to "join the human race" and admit his brokenness and need for help revealed this to be fiction -- not fact.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 12:51AM

actually, it was the priest in paris account that pushed me over the edge with this rag. outside of the criminal acts, there are too many elements of this book that are impossible to verify. it's all way to outlandish and convenient at the same time. anyone who doesn't suspect this book to be full of lies is an idiot.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 12:51AM

actually, it was the priest in paris account that pushed me over the edge with this rag. outside of the criminal acts, there are too many elements of this book that are impossible to verify. it's all way to outlandish and convenient at the same time. anyone who doesn't suspect this book to be full of lies is fooling themselves.

Bianca WormaldJan 11, 2006 at 1:07AM

I have read the books "A million Little Pieces" and "My Friend Leonard". I am completely shock to hear that he may have lied or fabricated both of these books. I got into both of them and enjoyed reading them. I'm more pissed off that I have helped further his career by purchasing these items and letting him have my money. But now when I look back I was always saying to myself while reading, that I couldn't believe he remebered every little detail if it had happened to him 10 yrs ago. I guess it now all makes sence, but I am extremly dissappointed in him and even disgusted that he made so many people believe that what he told is true. Does that mean Lilly or Leonard ever existed? It makes me sick to think he would make up these characters and try to play it off as if he has met so many people who have lived these tragedies.

LDJan 11, 2006 at 1:24AM

I read the book and found it addictive in itself. The important things are easily proven true or false. Hopefully true. I will sit back and wait awhile before judging. Alot of the people posting here seem pretty excited to bring Mr. Frey down. Chill out. Time will tell. Unless you were there with him you could not possibly know the truth at this point.

K LJan 11, 2006 at 3:11AM

James Frey might have believed his fabrications ( the ones which were exposed ). maybe all of the details that turned out to be embellishments were infact just "high" perceptions. How would anyone paranoid and psychotic--who never admitted they were paranoid or psychotic, how do you think they would remember the details or even more sad-- how do you think they would feel better remembering them. As far as his writing is concerned--This book could have never held hands with so many if it weren't so accessible, which is good.
Seems twelve steppers and literary snobs who secretly like junkfood couldn't wait for a chance to jump in and eat him alive. geez you wonder why some people are saying no to A.A. and are remaining sober. however they can.

Aaron (Saint Paul)Jan 11, 2006 at 3:36AM

It is interesting that so many people who have not even ventured to read the book have had such scrupulous observations. While it is apparently "fact" that people who are strung out do not remember much of their day to day lives and they take drugs so that they may forget, these points seem extraneous at best, for these "facts" are contingent on the CONTINUED use of drugs and alcohol. Here it would be helpful to notice that the ENTIRE book takes place, with the exception of the last few pages, within the confines of a REHAB CENTER! Hence, drugs and alcohol were no longer a part of Frey's life. Furthermore, while some of the incredible detail seems to invalidate the truthfulnes of his story, one must keep in mind that Frey got a hold of records from the clinic which would must certainly aid in some of the detail. Finally, Frey is claiming that what he has written is to the best of his knowledge as he remembers it and as the records indicate, which rehab centeres typically and legally keep fairly detailed records. Anyone who has done counseling, which I have, and then had to sit down after a fifty minute session and write a verbatim from memory will tell you that it is an extremely difficult task to do. With much certainty, one can rest assured that the verbatim is not 100 percent word for word. However, this does not mean that the counselor is lying! The counselor has written the best and most accurate verbatim he can recall. Similarly, Frey has written the best memoir that he can recall. It would be interesting to see how many people that have contributed to this board would be willing to write out, in as good of detail as he/she can, a six week time period of his life from roughly ten years ago and see how well he would fair. More importantly, it would be interesting to see this person as he stands his ground and vehemently defends his work as the best that he can recall, especially when it is of a time in his life that is very near to him. All I am asking for is a little consideration, a little epistemological humility, and a little compassion. And as a result, maybe we will come down off of our high, self-righteous, egocentric petistols long enough to grieve for a fallen humanity and celebrate hope through the recovery of one man and those that follow him in their own recovery.

JoshJan 11, 2006 at 5:40AM

I just wanna say James Frey isn't even a good liar you know who a good liar was Hunter S. Thompson
James Frey claimed to police that he bought a half ounce of weed then in the same statement he goes on to claim the most weight of coke he ever saw was a half ounce bullllllllshit
I fuckin got sent away for drugs this mother fucker is full of shit for one he talks like a total douche and he's a fuckin rat who is told by the police they can leave but insists on fucking staying so he can rat someone out for weed, James Frey you're a pussy sir, the biggest douche in the world right up there with people like John Edwards I hope someone smokes your punk ass next time you buy a 20 piece of rock and anyone stupid enough to believe this book in the first place you've lost your damn minds and you don't know shit about the drug culture it's not that fucking exciting it's a bunch of people doing drugs BECAUSE LIFE ISNT THAT FUCKING EXCITING, any story he made up was a delusion from drinking too much, I bet he's never even smoked rock, he doesn't look like he's smoked rock and trust me you can tell if someone has been smokin rock at least any fuckin dummy with two working eyes and partially intelligent brain... oh and anyone defending this mother fucker I can tell you detailed shit from when I was 3 fucking years old like the tmie my brother had a birthday party and I was running around with one of those jumbo pencils not the ones with the train on them but the other ones that are real sharp and I ran into the mantle and the fucking thing went right into my throat I can also tell you that after that happened my brother was so distressed he ran upstairs and broke all the big pencils he could find... WOW can you believe that I told a story as best as I could from 20 fucking years ago and wait uh it's more believable than I ran over a cop... if anyone ran over a cop they would be spending alot of time in prison... even if you're white and specially if you were high on crack which they would piss test you for if they thought you had been smoking it plus you were drunk ummm hello RETARDS put two and two together stop defending someone who is just trying to make money off of the stupidity of other humans and damaging a beautiful art form and if you don't believe it is damaging literature well hey THANKS FOR KILLING ART YOU FASCIST FUCKS

liz reynoldsJan 11, 2006 at 6:27AM

you write just like Frey , wonder if the pencil thing is true

burchJan 11, 2006 at 6:45AM

My wife and I were hooked until we read the second book, "My Friend Leonard". It's laughable by the end, which made us cynical towards the first one as well.

Isn't it part of a writers craft to make us believe in fictional events?

In his defense though, the book is a good lesson in the power of the will, and has answered some issues for me at the moment....but I can't help feeling a little cheated

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 6:47AM

Tina, I do not dispute that the book was good.. or bad for that matter. I believe everyone gets something different from it based on their own experiences as I previously stated. I do not dispute the fact that he was an addict, or alcohol user, or that he had some crazy party days when he was young. I do not dispute how he moved people, how he felt.

All I'm saying is that the facts are non-fiction, and fantasy is fiction. And there are far too many facts that have been seriously altered for this to be non-fiction. It's really quite simple.. he sold a fictional tale based on his life as straight up fact. How he felt about the girl is irrelevant.. he had nothing to do with the accident. THAT is a fact.

I'm glad the book moved many of you. I'm sorry that it's hard to admit that the guy conned you after that fact. He may be a good writer. But that's not the dispute. His credibility is.

SmegheadJan 11, 2006 at 7:04AM

The English-language Moscow-based expat paper The Exile (where Matt Taibbi of Spanking the Donkey fame cut his teeth) and their excellent book reviewer John Dolan have been all over this fraud from the standpoint of (for lack of a better word) literary forensics.

sue shieldsJan 11, 2006 at 7:13AM

I thought the book was brilliant and could not put it down;from the rehab points especially, as I was in rehab in Spain without any friends or family. At 47 this is quite dawnting, and not speaking the language really did not help.As far as the book not being factual does upst me greatly as he is then writing under false pretences, and I wonder if any of the incidents he descibes in the clinic are also fabricated? However it does not take away the wonderful read he created ;I just hope his next book, that comes out in paperback here in March is factual.I believe the book would make a very good film, with Kevin Bacon taking James Frey's part. What is the opnion of others on this point?

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 7:46AM

If the story was represented correctly as fiction based on Jimmy Frey's life I would see no harm.

class88tooJan 11, 2006 at 8:09AM

I think that James Frey wrote this book to the best of his recollection and may have dramatized it to make it interesting. How much do people really think he can remember when he was blacking out and in a drunken stupor? Of course he would have to embellish a little. If the whole book was lies from beginning to end that would be a problem but I doubt that is the case. The book is HIS PERCEPTION of how things were. His perception may not be 100% the way it really went. Putting that aside, the book itself was great and touching. His style of writing makes the book very readable. It seems that people are always ready to jump on someone to drag tham down. This man is a recovering addict and has made something of himself. Give him a hand not a kick in the ass.

REMJan 11, 2006 at 9:18AM

Your problems with James Frey's memoir are interesting. You seem to have a real ax to grind. As the above blog states, a memoir is just that - his memories of what he was thinking and feeling. His perception of himself in rehab is normal. After binge drinking, your perceptions are skewed, you feel very bad about yourself. Frey never claimed to be a hardened and violent criminal. I know that if I had had scuffles with the law and ran away, it would haunt me too. I never got the impression that he had run the cop over on purpose - he was just high. And going all of 5 MPH. His seeing his very worst side while in rehab is important to his recovery. Therefore calls himself as a criminal over and over to beat into his head how out of control his life has gotten. I think that is very obvious in the book. It is also obvious that the 5 years prison term was trumped up by the police due to anger over his bad behaviour - scary - but true. It is also amazing how much a good lawyer can make go away. You cite his drunk driving is really a reckless driving guilty plea. Ya . . . he had a good lawyer!! There is no bad intention in this guy. His bad feelings for himself are reflected and it is up to an intelligent reader to know that you are unlikely to spend 5 years in jail for minor possesion, DUI, and resisting arrest. You are taking literature (even nonfiction) out of context. The point of the book is help for those who need to step away from addition or abuse, and understanding for those whose lives the addictions and abuse affect. If you want to uncover the truth, why not cover things that to impact our lives in a negative way - like corporate influence peddling, out of control air pollution, and lying in office.

jo jo 2005Jan 11, 2006 at 9:23AM

well said REM. i cant wait to see little jimmy and his mama cry on larry king. i dont care what anyone says i enjoyed both books. the rest doesnt bother me so much.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 9:38AM

Hold on. The way people perceive events is different from lying about the facts. For example, let's say two people are at a dinner party when the host makes an insulting remark about his wife. One person remembers it as a joke, as some tender ribbing, and the other remembers it as a mean-spirited jab. The person who thought it was a joke thinks the couple has a great relationship, one where they can trade barbs and still love each other, while the other person sees a marriage on the decline.

That's perception. And no one is really questioning Frey's perception of events. What they are disputing is the factual representation of the events. He never spent three months in prison. He never ran over a cop. He never got rolled by a gang of Granville cops with billy clubs. He never had crack on him at the time. He wasn't the center of an FBI sting. There was never any FBI.

The Smoking Gun piece doesn't dispute anything they can't disprove. They're whole piece is well documented and if they're lying they'll get sued. But something tells me they'll be no suit.

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 9:47AM

Well said donnie. There is a line between perception and facts. It's quite simple. Like I said before, I do not question his feelings, his addictions, etc. I'm simply stating that this is not a factual representation of reality. I'm not ripping apart his writing, his life, or anything other than the mis-representation to the public.

There is a reason we categorize fiction and non-fiction. And there is an inbetween place which this story would have safely rested.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 10:01AM

I don't even care if he embellished the details. the vomit, the blood, the puking, all that could be some hyper-styalized memory he has, which, for a memoir, is totally appropriate. And even if he remembered the arrest in Granville the way he wrote it, it doesn't absolve him of actually finding the same information The Smoking Gun found.

And let's examine that...would it not have been even more interesting, and honest, if he'd remembered it one way, and then investigated the incidence to find out that none of what he thought had happened was true? Wouldn't that, ultimately, be a more honest and intriguing representation of an addict's mind? Of anyone's mind?

James Frey is an intellectually lazy hack.

mikeJan 11, 2006 at 10:26AM

the genre of creative non-fiction is that, a genre that exists because of its power. i've noticed some people here have used the word novel instead of book of non-fiction, treating them as interchangable. this is a distinction one should learn in grade school. embellishing the facts is different than not recalling something exactly. maybe the car was blue and not red-- but stating Frey was ridiculed because he was a factor in someone's death, ( car train) is lying and rather detestable. You coolaid drinkers might want to question his sobriety, too. people sit in aa lying everyday; i was one. he could be lying on Oparah, too.

recent events have shown why this lying has become acceptable-- Katrina, Iraq, Miners-- all show this. a good story does not have as much impact as a true story. does truth nolonger count? where did people learn to rationalize lying? it's not ok to lie and it's not admirable to take money from people by lying. it's not complicated! reality has more to do with our lives than many of you

Tiffani-AmberJan 11, 2006 at 10:35AM

James Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces, is a vivid account of what the life of an addict/alcoholic develops into. Whether or not all of the events Frey tells of in his book are factual and have a paper trail, they are HIS accounts and interpretations of these events. Personal truths are something that can be challenged by the masses, as Frey's currently are being, but the end result remains the same. They are one person's personal truths, and unless you are that one person who holds to those truths, it makes no different if they are accepted by other people, readers and fans included.

PaulJan 11, 2006 at 10:41AM

When I read the book I doubted its truthfulness, so I'm not at all surprised that a reputable outfit like TSG has exposed JF's fabrications. One wonders if he really is an addict/alcoholic at all since he really isnt a criminal (except in the sense of publishing fiction as truth.) I am a sober alcoholic, and I'm the first to say that AA is not the only way for everyone. However to publish a book that is full of lies and then to heap such disdain on the 12 step approach is shameful. It is apparent that JF has very little understanding of the nature of addiction/alcholism and the 12 step approach.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 10:50AM

His accounts are lies. They are one in the same. This would not have been a problem if the book was presented as fiction, or inspired by a true story. The book contains no disclaimer. The writer has continuously, and publicly, claimed that everything is true, that every last detail is true.

A personal truth may be that he doesn't believe in AA, that addiction is not a disease. That's a personal truth. Claiming to have hit a policeman with a car when he didn't is a lie, not a personal truth.

Again, see my comment about perception.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 10:57AM

I cannot believe that someone would label "libel" as someones "personal truth". Just one fact comes to mind here. The two girls that were killed in the train accident in Ohio didn't even know James Frey. For James to attach himself a tragedy of which he wasnt even a remote affilliate of, for the sake of a memoir, is bottom line muckraking. Personal truth can be overthrown by facts of events. In James's case, these personal truths are overthrown by fact and thus become public lies!

JettaBJan 11, 2006 at 11:01AM

I have friends who are in recovery that did not use the 12 step program and friends in recovery who did. Recovery is persoanl so whatever works for you doesn't have to work for someone else. Why judge a man for his method of recovery because it would not work for you? Be happy for him that he found somehting that worked for him. Are you really shocked about the story invlving the priest? You must live in a cave.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 11:08AM

Jetta - I am happy that James recovered, with or witout the 12 step program. The core of my argument is that he is selling his story as a nonfictional account. It almost makes one think that he was never an addict to begin with. One would have to live in cave to believe in his book.

PaulJan 11, 2006 at 11:19AM

If he doesnt believe in AA, that's his experience and thats fine. He may have had some problems with alcohol or drugs, but that doesnt make him an alcoholic or addict. The book Alcoholics Anonymous makes it clear that there are heavy drinkers or people who have problems with alcohol who can stop or moderate on their own given sufficient motivation. However there is another class that cannot stop on will-power alone. It is not because people in that class lack will-power, but because the will-power fails to function as far as alcohol is concerned. A person with an alcoholic temperament, at some time or other, without a personality change sufficient to overcome alcoholism, will drink again. The reason is because there is a lack of an effective mental defense. At the needed time, the alcoholic is simply unable to recall with sufficient force the pain and humiliation that drinking inevitably causes. It's like the the information/memory is erased from the hard-drive with the wrong click of the mouse. It just isn't there when needed. I have experienced this myself. The AA approach proposes a series of actions that enables the alcoholic to undergo a much-needed personality change. At any rate, I think it disingenuous for JF to present himself as someone who has recovered from a serious malady in light of the gross exaggerations and lies in his work of fiction. There are certainly people who can abstain on a "Just use some willpower" approach, but there is a large class that unfortunately cannot, and I hope his depiction of AA does not close their minds to trying that avenue. Especially in light of the fact that it can in fact be a matter of life and death.

PooDollarJan 11, 2006 at 11:21AM

Did anyone catch what his tattoo says? FTBITTTD......short for Fuck the bullshit, it's time to throw down....I'm dead serious about this.
I think the first book was a good book, true or not. I think his error came in the arrogant tone of both books, moreso the second and in his national media campaign touting his experiences....that makes me more angry than anything else. The guy took his BS stories and ran with them in an effort to make himself bigger than reality. Now he'll pay the price. It's the justice system of fame and fortune.
Good Riddance Tough Guy!

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 11:26AM

I like what Josh said, "THANKS FOR KILLING ART YOU FASCIST FUCKS". One would have to wonder....what would Tolstoy think of Oprah placing his works in the same lot as James Frey's?

PaulJan 11, 2006 at 11:29AM

By the way, I should say that it is a very well-written book, it should just have been presented as fiction.

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 11:40AM

concerned reader:

James did know the two girls who were killed. The girls attended Saint Joseph High School in Michigan, which is were James attended, and I attended. He knew the girls but had nothing to do with the accident. They were at a party, it was well known. They rode with Dean who was drunk. The girls were seniors, old enough to drive and probably had their own vehicles and were old enough to date with out having to "sneak out" to go on a date or do anything else for that matter.

JeanJan 11, 2006 at 11:45AM

I too feel that this book was one of the best I ever read. I truthfully know nothing about addiction but I think this book has touched people in a way that they need to be touched.

Either way it's a good read and I'm looking forward to reading his next one.

JoanJan 11, 2006 at 11:49AM

Whether it is fiction or not, all of this publicity just relly helped the sales of that book. Jo Ann

albertJan 11, 2006 at 11:54AM

I don't doubt that this book will sell more, but I'd bet that the movie deal falls through. I can't imagine any A-list talent signing on now to play this liar. He'll sell a lot of copies, come back and do another tell-all about lying or being accused of lying, but object to anyone calling him a victim, other than himself, and then he'll dissapear.

AlanJan 11, 2006 at 12:03PM

After reading these posts, Freys true genius is shown: Target your fabricated memoirs to an audience of addicts and the people who love them. That way you have a fan base of people who are already accustomed to denial and rationalization. Then, if the truth comes out, you can't be touched because most of your fans have spent a good part of their lives staring at truth and never seeing it. Brilliant!

I don't begrudge Frey his success, he obviously has some talent. I guess the only part that bothers me is how anyone who writes about perverted priests, corrupt police officers, or small towns that treat the new kid as a pariah are instantly believed.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 12:05PM

Classof88 -

Oh good, another person that claims he or she knows James Frey. Are you also one of the many people writing and often duplicating five star reviews for "A Million Little Pieces" and "My Friend Leonard" on Amazon? Do you get a cut for each copy sold? Well, any way, I only stand corrected on one account - that the girls were from Michigan and not Ohio. Maybe he knew the girls maybe he didn't and I will not stand corrected on that. Bu,t the lie remains, he claimed to have been in the accident. I think you need to explore the following.

In additon to these rap sheet creations, Frey also invented a role for himself in a deadly train accident that cost the lives of two female high school students. In what may be his book's most crass flight from reality, Frey remarkably appropriates and manipulates details of the incident so he can falsely portray himself as the tragedy's third victim. It's a cynical and offensive ploy that has left one of the victims' parents bewildered. "As far as I know, he had nothing to do with the accident," said the mother of one of the dead girls. "I figured he was taking license...he's a writer, you know, they don't tell everything that's factual and true."

He is a non-fiction writer, you know, they dont always tell the truth!

Terri LJan 11, 2006 at 12:08PM

I am still reading the book. I didn't pick it based on the Oprah review. Rather recommended by a friend. I haven't been able to read it, as quickly as I normally would. I have to read... put it down... and read more. As too much of his writing, story telling, is too hard for me to talk in at once. The pain driven words, are too hard to take in, all at once. With that said. The book is a good read. Not because there is truth, but because it is "hard to read." James Frey, may or may not have gone through the experiences as noted, but he wrote a damn good story. There are addicts recovering, who may or may not have read his story, it may or may not have impacted their choices in life. With all of that said other than the fact that James Frey fabricated the story, exactly, what harm came from it? The story was highlighted on a talk show; it was the buzz around the office; it gave me something to read while on the treadmill. So, why all the hoopla? If in deed this man is a recovering addict, then why the hell does anyone care if parts of the book are fabricated? Enjoy the read, take care of you and think of bigger fish to FREY.

MurrayJan 11, 2006 at 12:13PM

This is Murray again. For all of you retards out there why don't we think about this for a second. Frey's criminal record was a very minor aspect of this book and his story. The focal point was about his battle with alcohol and drug addiction and the relationships that he formed while in rehab. None of these allegations are suggesting that he in any way fabricated the severity of his drug abuse or experience while in Hazledon, it is all about his minor criminal record. Also lets remember that Frey has not been given the chance to publicaly defend himself until tonight, so why dont we all wait to see what he has to say. Come on fellas use your heads here.

ShjonJan 11, 2006 at 12:17PM

Thank God for Murray.

There's two kinds of people in this world. People like Joel.... and people like Murray.

Joel is irrational. He still sleeps on top of Thundercats sheets and pillowcases. His favorite group is Linkin Park. And he probably says things like "peace out".

Murray is a stand up guy. I, too, will wait to see what Mr. Frey says tonight on CNN.

Regardless. I still loved the book. If he lies or embellishes, I can be disappointed, but my experience reading it can not be changed. It was a pleasure. Whether it was 100% true, 90% true, or 50% true.

Some of you need to get a life. It's not like James Frey got a promotion in life for lying. Get over it.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 12:21PM

Some of you need to get a library.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 12:25PM

Yeah Murray has a leg up on Joel, Murray sleeps on top of Star Wars sheets instead.

How about .001% true? Still passes for non-fiction under Oprah's imperial rule.

MurrayJan 11, 2006 at 12:28PM

Donnie I am not sure I follow what exactly you are trying to say here. Are you suggesting that some of us need to purchase a Library? How would one obtain a Library? I don't know about you Donny, but money doesn't grow on tree's. Besides Libraries are typically owned by Municipalities and Universities. Do you mean that some of us need to get a Library in our neighborhood, because if that is the case I sure do have one. I could always write to my local congressman about to trying to obtain Libraries for my neighboring boroughs.

FreddyJan 11, 2006 at 12:30PM

Donnie, please explain.



mitchJan 11, 2006 at 12:30PM

James has touched the lives of so many people. Why discredit him with unsubstantiated claims. I have been through hell and back with my son and know that every little incident involving the authorities is not necessarily documented. Embellished or not the book as saved lives and helped people hold on. All you doubters need to get a life.

MichelleJan 11, 2006 at 12:32PM

I waited for this day...the one that Mr. Frey would be called a liar...I find it very predictable for the 12 step mentality we live with as a society. Everything fits in it's own little box and has it regiment. And if we dare introduce something that is different whether it be a concept or a vision it is immediately and embarrassingly puked up. As story of inspiration blown away by what the majority think not. Fuck all of your high and mighty ways. What Mr. Frey has done obviously intimidates you and that is your problem, not his. Let those who are going to learn and recover from his leap of faith do as such, let those of you who have no faith keep it to yourself.

SallyJan 11, 2006 at 12:33PM

Here, Here Michelle!!!
Bravo!!! Well done!!!

DeniseJan 11, 2006 at 12:37PM

I'm with you Mitch. I seen the struggles of an addict for many many years and you are right. Not every little thing is documented. My brother could write a memioir that would sound just as fictatious because the life of an addict is unimaginable to the straight person. You have no idea what really goes on. I say all the way with James and thank goodness for his recovery. Both books were great!

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 12:41PM

Any one could purchase enough books to build a private library. Then one could say, "They done got themselves a library". Or take it a step further and build a book club full of litany and superficiality, like Oprah. Then one can say, "They be havin' demselves a books club".

AlanJan 11, 2006 at 12:45PM

Damn, I just realized why this whole thing bothers me so much. I'm jealous that James Frey thought of this and I didn't.
I drank alot when I was younger, I experimented with various recreational drugs, and I visited a police station a few times. I think there was even a car crash in my home-town where some kids were killed. And now I don't drink or use drugs anymore and I never went to AA. If only I had thought of "embelishing" a little it could be ME on Oprah instead of him. Of course, there is the problem of my lack of writing ability. Oh, that's right, I could have invented a "new" style of writing. Good going Jim, you pulled it off. You not only wrote a huge best seller, but you may have helped some people kick their addiction in the process. Not too shabby.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 12:47PM

Let those who are going to learn and recover from his leap of faith do as such, let those of you who have no faith keep it to yourself.

Michelle - Faith can be decribed in many ways and who are you to take away the voice of those who dont have any? Now, what were you saying about that little box?

hayleyJan 11, 2006 at 12:50PM

Recently James Frey and his stunning work 'A Million Little Pieces' has come under fire for not being 100% accurate or truthful. Critics and the like are slamming this amazing author for embellishing facts related to his criminal record and circumstances surrounding the death of a friend.

Anyone who has actually read this book, (unlike many of the people willing to jump blindly on the hater’s bandwagon) would know that although these facts are somewhat important to the telling of James’ life story and give a small amount of insight into his past, they are by no means the central or most important message or theme to this story of perseverance and strength of heart.

James Frey was an addict, James Frey was an alcoholic and as he has said many times in his work, whether it is quite as awful as first written, James Frey was a criminal. What people are forgetting is that James Frey is overall a survivor. This is what makes the book the incredible thing that it is. This is not a book about his friend that died; it is not a book about how much trouble he was in with the law. This is a story of a man at the end of a long road of self-abuse, hurt, anger and as he says, Fury. This is a book about a man willing to share his horrible experiences in the hopes of helping others through the same fate.

Understandably some may say that if he admits to embellishing one thing, who is to say it all hasn’t been embellished? Well to them I would just say: forget the hype. Forget this culture that thrives on scandal and exposing lies that are barely there. Embrace this fascinating, engulfing and heartbreaking story, written by a very talented writer, and let the temptation to be swayed by those making a huge deal out of a very small find.

Is it worth destroying this man’s work, reputation or even career over a few small facts he admits to enhancing a bit for the reader’s sake? Is it worth forgetting the other hundreds of pages that let us see inside this mans head and heart? I know it is not worth it to me, so I SUPPORT JAMES FREY. I SUPPORT ‘A MILLION LITTLE PIECES’ and I can only hope those who are privileged enough to read this incredible book will allow themselves to see beyond the hype and really understand this book is not about a man trying to become famous, or a man who needs to lie to tell a terrible tale no one wants to live in real life. James Frey lived this life. James Frey simply wanted to share his message. Hopefully his supporters will see him through this.

BobJan 11, 2006 at 12:57PM

Frey is a liar.
He made money by lying. Which is ok if he said it was fiction.
He's a spoiled rich kid who pretended to be a bad ass.
He's a loser.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 1:00PM

Hayley -

Yes, we must keep the blinders on and focus on that carrot out in front of us. Never mind that truck coming through the intersection in which we are about to pass!

MichelleJan 11, 2006 at 1:09PM

Dear Concerned Reader,

I appreciate your rebuttal and your way of expressing the other side of what I commented.

I do not see myself in a box...but outside of one. I feel like an outcast because I see things so differently, but I am not one. I feel like anything anybody can do to hurt someone's agenda, be it good of course, lives in a stereotypical box. You cannot deny they exist. I know and believe in what I am saying and what I said before. Let me clarify.

Leave well enough alone. That book touched millions of lives and I am so thank for that. Embellished or not? None of our business. The message was hope and an expression of human will. Now, all that said that is none of their business, those who do not agree with it. But you do not see me going to the news with this revelation. Nor do I expect anyone who does not agree with his book.

I speak from a personal standpoint that I have written myself and would love to see others read it. Mr. Freys work makes me see that what I have written would be read, but I would rather keep it to myself then face what all the judges that live amongst us would have to accuse me of. It is to grueling to write from your soul and have it put under attack. I don’t think others think about what emotionally goes into writing about a life that others may not have survived.

Finally, everyone has a voice and I would deny no one his or hers. But it is never a good one when being used it to criticize what they know nothing or little of. And really, James is the only person that knows.

NDJan 11, 2006 at 1:16PM

One thing I don't get is that people actually think his writing is good. I read the first few pages a year or so ago and was appalled at how crappy, pompous, and faux-avant-garde that little bit was. Random caps and lack of punctuation does not an interesting or edgy read make. If people want to see writing that pushes literary limits and is interesting stick to Gaddis, Joyce, Pynchon, etc. Hell, I've read better written piece in beginning creative writing workshops.

And one more thing apolgists...

The fact that he is making millions of dollars purporting to be these things he is not and using two dead girls as his literary fuck puppets is completely despicable. The man is worse than a con, he's a no good bastard and I'm glad he was outed by TSG, regardless of their tone. People who endear themselves to millions on fabrications alone deserve to be tied up, dragged through the streets and stoned.

AlanJan 11, 2006 at 1:17PM


Frey is not under fire for not being 100% accurate. He is under fire for possibly not being even 50%, 25%, or 10% accurate. I hope that the addiction and recovery part is true, but he has made sure that most of that is not verifiable. And the fact is, if he hadn't made up so much of the criminal part, no one would be trying to verify the rest. You say it's a book about a man sharing his horrible experiences and letting us see inside his head and heart. That may be true, but is it the experiences, head, and heart of James Frey, or a ficitional character he invented.

LisaJan 11, 2006 at 1:22PM

I would've never bought the book if it wasn't a real life story. Fortunately, i don't know a single person that's enduring this kind of addiction so what interest would i have on "A Million Little Pieces"? Then only thing that attracted me to it was the fact that i thought i could a face to the pain and i almost felt like i knew him.

I think he's a fraud and he should reimburse each and everyone who purchased this book. And to think I bought this to someone as a Christmas gift!!! What has the world come to? If your TRUE life isn't exciting enough to make a book, then don't!!!

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 1:23PM

My comment was a riff on the "some of you should get a life" comment. What my comment means is that if you think AMLP is a well written book than you are a fool.

Its insistence on repetition is derivative and stupid. It's a slick way of covering up the embarassing fact that he has nothing to say. I Cry. I Cry. I hug. He hugs. Cry. The trick behind this approach is no different than a politician's. Don't say anything too specific so that when people read your work, or comments, they can simply import any meaning they want. It's vapid, sophomoric, and maudlin. Just like a hollywood screenwriter.d

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 1:30PM

As I look back in rememberance of my having read this "A Million Little Pieces", in which my parents gave me enough money to purchase at the 5th grade book fair, I remember James espousing that he confronted liars through his stint at Hazeldon. Oh, how he expressed his disdain for them! Those dirty liars claiming to having taken part in things that they didn't! Claiming to be something that they weren't! Oh, the horror!

Now, I wonder, where are we in the grand "scheme" of it all? Will the light, or darkness (for you Orah students), of the current news only further characterize James's self hating persona or will it show him for narcissistic parasite that he is? I know, the two are often synonymous. Well, I can only say that I hope to see it all come to forbaring in the interviews that will have to be taken in order to defend his "little" memoir.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 1:31PM

donnie -

Agreed. James fishes off the shallow side of the pier.

helenJan 11, 2006 at 1:31PM

What is more amazing than the conman James Frey is the fact that Millions of people actually thought it was a good book! Ofcourse that was after the high priestess Oprah was overtaken by her emotions by this 'harrowing' tale. Unbelievable. It is truly indicitative of the dismal state of our educational system when garbage like this is considered
a literary achievement! God help us!

WyoLesboJan 11, 2006 at 1:44PM

I have no problem with Frey's refusal to use the 12-step program. I have remained clean and sober (after more than 10 years on drugs, primarily meth) without the use of any "traditional" method. I was, however, more open-minded about AA/NA and attended several meetings before deciding it wasn't for me. And there are, in fact, several established support groups (Women for Sobriety and Rational Recovery) which do not use the 12-step method.

A neighbor recommended, and loaned, Frey's book to me and I questioned it from the first page. Would any public airline allow someone to board who was, from his description, unconscious and covered in vomit and blood? This is the first in many events which seem highly unlikely. Although parts of his rehab experience "ring true" many aspects do not. I'm curious to know how Hazelden employees feel about his memories of what was allowed within their facility.

When asked about his root canal(s) being performed without any medication, Frey told Oprah (in an obviously prepared response) "I'd rather have my teeth drilled again than have my heart broken." While physical pain can be preferable to emotional pain, no one I've spoken to has any explanation as to why Frey needed to be denied ANY form of local pain medication such as Novocaine.

The Smoking Gun website has a 6-page article regarding the lies in Frey's book (the ones they could actually prove). Frey, to say the least, has taken "dramatic license" with regard to his recollections. To his credit, though, he apparently first presented his book as fiction and was unable to find anyone willing to publish it. (He supposedly "rewrote" it as nonfiction but I have my doubts as to what, if anything, was removed in his "rewrite.")

I've rambled enough. I must, however, comment on those of you who refer to Frey as "good writer." I have a degree in journalism and, in my opinion, he is not. (Take it for what it's worth ... someone else who posted a message also claimed to be a "writer" and used the word "of" instead of "have" in more than one instance.) His writing style, to me, seems to be designed to simply increase the number of pages in his book.

I'm glad I didn't actually BUY his book. The most unfortunate aspect of all this, as mentioned by Jo Ann, is that all this controversy will most likely result in MORE money for Frey.

Reminder: Frey will be interviewed by Larry King tonight on CNN. I hope Mr. King has read "The Smoking Gun" article.

BlaineJan 11, 2006 at 1:56PM

ND Says: People who endear themselves to millions on fabrications alone deserve to be tied up, dragged through the streets and stoned.

How's the weather in Fallujah today ND?

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 1:58PM


ND's just embellishing his feelings. I'm sure he doesn't really mean it. Give him a break. It's the message that counts, not the threat of death.

Randall EisenbergJan 11, 2006 at 2:01PM

Well, whatever. I read this book a few weeks after I got out of rehab. Not Hazelden, not enhanced or embellished, but a place with people trying to get better.

Real people.

Shortly after recommending it, friends had cautiously, almost reverently suggested this book might be too much for me to handle at that moment. I took it on and was at first amused, then a little irritated. So much of what I had learned and experienced was essentailly being mooned by this writer. It is no surprise to me, or anyone who has really been there, that the decption is now being revealed.

The essential part of recovery, the AA way or really any way is honesty. So many parts of Frey's story were so phony I wondered first and most of all at his true and present sobriety.

Running out of the facility with a counselor to drive to a crackhouse? Right. I saw one counselor go ballistic when a resident opened a bottle of raspberry vinaigrette.

I feel bad for the people who still defend Frey, much like I feel for people who still support Dubya. But unlike our "leader", Frey still has a chance to come clean and say, "OK, you got me, now here's what I *really* got out of recovery" and maybe salvage a little dignity. But I doubt it.

I wonder how long it will be before an alumni, a real one from his visit will stand up? Or Hazelden itself, for that matter. Now that it is common knowledge where he "got clean", the liberties he took with their methods and establishment must be galling to many there. I must admit I was monentarily captivated by the bleak images he created about where he did *his* 28 days. That is, until I saw some photos of Hazelden. Check it out, I have spent many nights in far worse hotels.

But then, it is the AA way to "have no opinion on outside issues, nor be drawn into public controversy" even in an attempt to defend what they do. Perhaps it is for the best that Frey rejected the 12 Steps.

I hope, at very least, this book and the controversy will compel people to look more closely at themselves and their beliefs, and what they hold to be true and important.

BlaineJan 11, 2006 at 2:01PM

That's just the point Donnie.
Take a deep breath. Relax. No one lost money here. No one sold their soul to the devil (although some might argue JF did). It's a book. Which most of it is definitely fact. It's a very interesting situation but some of you have such strong feelings, it's so obvious you're escaping from your boring ass life.

EricaJan 11, 2006 at 2:06PM

Randall that is the worst post I've seen on here yet.

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 2:11PM

Concerned Reader:

I think you missed a lot of my posting.. to respond to me as you did. Maybe you should read back a little further. lol

BlaineJan 11, 2006 at 2:14PM

Class of 88 or Randall's posting?

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 2:24PM

The kitchen's getting hot:

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Random House will refund readers who bought James Frey's drug and alcohol memoir "A Million Little Pieces" directly from the publisher, a move believed to be unprecedented, after the author was accused of exaggerating his s

MegJan 11, 2006 at 2:30PM

They're offering refunds of his book. That's the power of indignation.

If you write a moving story that isn't true, it's called a novel. If you write a moving story that IS true, you call it a memoir. This is not a matter of mild revision. This is a matter of an unskilled writer making money off the backs of addicts looking for hope. You want to salute that? I have no idea why people who are REALLY struggling and dealing and living their recovery with honesty don't take exception to someone making serious coin off a bogus story.

Even if parts of it are true... and they are, I get that... his foul-mouthed, arrogant defense of his choice to make other parts up is not going to convince me this is a man to invest in.

Billy Bob ScorntonJan 11, 2006 at 2:38PM

I won't sign my real name, a true Freyesque move, but I do have a few comments. I worked at Hazelden for five years and I found his book a true theatre of the absurd. I found none of his stories plausible so I won't comment on any single one. As work of absurdity it is indeed a success. He works very hard to slaughter literature and must appeal to the same crowd who buy into the gossip rags . I didn't know what I was getting into when I bought the CD. If I had known what I was getting into, I would have steered clear of it like the plague. I spent about twenty five bucks on it so I forced myself to listen to the entire smorgasborg of bullshit. What I suspect about all the hoopla over the fraud is just another publicity stunt to gain attention to his new book. The timing of this with the appearance on Larry King live is not a cooincidence.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 2:49PM

Classof88 -

I think you missed my reply to you, entirely. Your exertions were addressed.

EddieJan 11, 2006 at 2:58PM

Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling came up with an very clever idea for a company, and it inspired a lot of other businesses and made a lot of people a lot of money. Sure, it wasn't exactly "true," but ...

The truth matters and when people present something as true that isn't, it hurts everyone.

SonjaJan 11, 2006 at 3:13PM

I read this book and have recommended it numerous times. I will say that while reading it I had some doubts that it was didn't matter because it was well written in the sense that I felt like everything he was going through, was happening to me. Whether fact or doesn't matter...if addicts and families of addicts find solace or hope from this book...what right does the smoking gun...or any of us for that matter have to take that away from them? I will continue to recommend this book regardless of embelishments.

IndigoGirlJan 11, 2006 at 3:13PM

Regarding Frey's recollection of "rescuing Lilly" from the abandoned building where she was smoking crack (Frey distinguishes it, by definition, from a "crackhouse") : Didn't I see that same scenario on an episode of "Law and Order"? "NYPD Blue"? Any movie with a drug-theme?

OverwormJan 11, 2006 at 3:18PM

I am a bit taken aback at all the complete and prideful defenses of Frey. Many people have experienced public criticism for lies, or actions, or what have you. Usually, either the general public who doesn't know the person through personal history will say "yeah, the criticism is valid" or "no, the criticism is too much."

However, here, on this forum alone, we have people laying such blind faith at the foot of a man they don't know and have never ever met. Why? He wrote a book. I got that. Many people liked his book. I got that. But . . . you . . . don't . . . know . . . the . . . man. What drives you to defend him at all costs when he has lied about "true events" in his book.

Call the book a work of genius, if you feel that way. Say it changed your life or a loved one's life, if you feel that way. Say it's the greatest book you've ever read, if you feel that way. But why do you say the man could not have possibly lied? Or, if you admit that he lied, why do you say it does not matter than he lied and scammed millions of people?

I remember people zealously defending Jim and Tammy Fay Baker by saying that just because their ministry helped some people, it did not matter if they lied and stole from others. Think about that.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 3:24PM

Another thing that I found laughable, James had his celebrity lawyer (Martin Singer) address The Smoking Gun by way of a letter threatening litigation if they continued with their story about him. As if, Mr Frey himself couldn't be sued by everyone from the American Dental Association down to Jane or Joe Reader.

CoteJan 11, 2006 at 3:26PM

If anyone has been through anything like james frey in their own life, even just a little, his writing makes a world of sense, i think the people who critcize him for false information or his style of writing really need look at themselves, because i'm sure they have a millon little shattered pieces also, they just can't fix them like he has.

JeffJan 11, 2006 at 3:28PM

I called BS on this one from the 1st page. My wife read it and insisted that I read it to. I have an intimate knowledge of addiction, and this thing screams BS.

I am willing to bet that 90% of the book is fabricated. From the crackhead girlfriend to his 'mobster' friend who 'took him in as a son'. What crap! Does he really want us to believe that drug counselors allowed him to enter a crackhouse to get his 'girlfriend'? First of all, no relationships in rehab. Second of all, they would allow him to enter a crackhouse during treatment???

His desire to be perceived as a tough-guy was just ridiculous. This putz would be eaten alive in jail, and he would not be able to push anyone around in rehab, especially in the supposed condition he was in. He had a hole in his cheek, right? I guess they have great surgeons in rehab that he didn't bother to write about in the book, because I didn't see any scars on this fool's face, at all.

He's a spoiled brat who got hooked on some drugs. His mommy and daddy sent him to an exclusive rehab and he tried to make up for his lack of 'war stories' with these 'memoirs'.

Remember how he said he was a dealer and that's how he made his money to buy drugs? I also remember him asking his parents not to give him money anymore because it enabled him to go out and use. I am willing to bet that every penny this guy spent on drugs came from his parents.

This book is a joke. Don't be fooled by a fool.

Emily SwankJan 11, 2006 at 3:29PM

I can't believe those of you who think that there are merely *some* embellishments. If it is true that he never spent those three months in prison (and TSG did a DAMN good job of proving this), then his entire boo hoo story of how his beloved girlfriend hanged herself on his VERY LAST DAY, oh why oh why couldn't she just HOLD ON, falls to pieces. If he never spent those three months in prison then I guess Leonard and Miles didn't really get his sentence bumped down for him, did they? Did any of those characters even ever exist? Face it, if he didn't spend those three months in prison, then the entire story collapses like a house of cards. At this point, I have no doubt in my mind that both his books (and the second one is even more obviously baloney) are more fabrication than truth. I didn't read the book because I wanted to read a big load of hooey; I read it because it was purported to be FACT.

jkottkeJan 11, 2006 at 3:33PM

Hello, everyone. I appreciate the vigorous conversation here, but please try and keep it a little more civil (per the "extra-fine print" at the bottom of this page, aka the rules). Examples of what you should not being doing are calling people names, insulting people, and publicly wishing people dead. If you can't do this, I'm going to close the thread. Thanks.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 3:45PM

Well, the guy is obviously a dishonest turd, but the more interesting fact is the unbelievable cow like audience of that ho Oprah.

I mean, I guess one shouldn't be surprised that people who get their reading recommendations from nutty hygeine obsessed gas-bag wouldn't be the most astute judges of what is and is not BS. But, holy cow, I picked the book up at a book store when it came out and read about 3 pages of it and said to myself "Hmm, is this a print version of some crappy made for TV movie?" I was surprised to learn that it was a "true story." It's just so over the top.

If Oprah hadn't pimped this book, this would be a minor story.

mybeckaJan 11, 2006 at 3:52PM

You know, I'm not really sure what the debate is here. People have the right to be upset if they want to, if it turns out James is lying, but just because they are upset doesn't mean that James is not a talented writer or even an addict. The fact that James is stating that all is true makes me wonder if he even knows fact from fiction. Doing all those drugs has had to have fried his brain some, and I for one questioned just how many of the events were true. Never once questioned his feelings and his perception of events, just wondered about the 3 month police stay, deaths of the two girls, because none of those things were really discussed on Oprah. And I can't imagine Oprah not trying to reach out to the families of those two girls and seeing how they felt about James and his book. She knew that there was no possible way that all was indeed factual. It's a good book, an interesting take on addiction, and it's getting people to take a hard look at addictions in general. Anything that starts people talking about serious issues and trying to figure out other ways to address them are a good thing in my book. That's the thing I love about the United States, the freedoms to express one's opinion about anything, and not having to think like everyone else, regardless if anyone else agrees with you or not. Thanks to all for all's opinions, and thanks to James for starting a lively debate.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 3:57PM

That's a bit like thanking the Shrub for starting a lively debate about whether or not it's appropriate to torture *suspected* terrorists.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 4:07PM

mybecka -

I'm not going to refute all of what you are saying, but lets just keep one thing in mind here. James is not a talented writer. He made a plethora of submissions to publishers and was turned down every time. It wasn't until Anchor/Random House informed him that they would publish it under the guise that it was non-fiction. James then proceeded to remove some of the "untruths" in order to have it pass as a non-fiction. Then, from know the rest of the story.

mitchJan 11, 2006 at 4:20PM

For some reason my original message was deleted. It's truly sad that there are so many hateful people that want to discredit Frey. Embellished or not, the book has saved and giving hope to others. I also think that Josh's message should be deleted and that he should get some counceling. Why didn't you get rid of T D E. His message was extremely insulting!!!!!

CindyJan 11, 2006 at 4:23PM

I read a million little... & more then halfway through "my friend Leonard" when I heard/read about the "fabrication"...all I know is for me it has DEFINITLY changed the way I feel about even reading the rest of his book!! I went from not being able to put it down to having a hard time picking back up!!! I think it's one thing to exagerate something & another to totally LIE!!! From what I read on the smoking gun, he never did more then a few hours in a holding cell. It just makes me wonder was there a Lilly or a Leonard, etc?? I agree w/some of the other comments, I found it hard to believe a lot of things. I am in recovery & have been in & out for 12 years. I have also had my share of exp. in detox/rehab. I have yet to hear of them sending you to the dentist. It isn't rare to see people in there w/their teeth missing & they sure as hell are not being sent to the dentist let alone have root canal w/no anthesia. Nor have a lobster buffet sent in. I don't think that even happens at "Betty Ford" clinic. Considering some of the shitty choices I made in my life I consider myself to have a pretty good memory....but I can't remember every detail from last month!! I was/am very disappointed to find this out but after hearing it you have to wonder...everyone has died one way or another so there is no trail. I also being in recovery got pretty pisst off when reading that he doesn't need a 12 step program & addiction is not a disease. My own experience & other people that I know have tried only to use again eventually. I also find it ridulous that he goes to a bar almost every night......WHY the hell would anyone put themselves in a situation like that???? I read & started his 2nd book ONLY because they were non-fiction. Needless to say I am disappointed

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 4:24PM

Concerned Reader,

It sound to me like you think we are on opposite sides of the fence. When clearly we are on the same side. I'd take offense to the suggestion I'm on the payroll for James Frey if I didn't find it so laughable. I do not agree at all with what he's done. When I said I knew him and the girls I was saying that I know for a fact what he's done is twisted the truth entirely. I certainly would never recommend an "memoir" that was based on lies no matter what the message. I find it an offense to society to sell this book as non-fiction.

I was mearly letting you know that he did indeed go to school with the girls and knew them, and that they were not in Ohio.

Bonita M. SampsonJan 11, 2006 at 4:27PM

Class of '89 - bonita
I bought this book because of Oprah, she and her staff really liked this book and were excited about this guys life as an alcoholic/addict. Everybody has a story. I've been in AA for 17 years - when telling my story, I can't remember 1/2 of the stuff I did and what I went through when I first came into the program. I kept saying, how can he remember all of the things he went through? I didn't like the way he wrote and I lost interest in the book and stopped reading at page 188.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 4:28PM

Honestly, Mitch, I think the outrage most of us feel doesn't stem from Frey's lying. It's a reaction to the virtually indefensible stance his supporters are taking.

R. L. MACKJan 11, 2006 at 4:29PM

I have read half of this book and knew from the start it was BS. I am a recovering alcoholic who has done 2 stretches in prison, and I can tell you one thing. Mr. Frey would have been passed around like a whore at a biker rally. He is a well to do frat boy who wants to be the next Henry Miller. The guy wouldn't make a pimple on Henry Miller's ass.

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 4:31PM

Here is my hometown, and the facts about James Frey's Highschool years...

memerJan 11, 2006 at 4:32PM

This is a matter of an (unskilled) writer making money off the backs of addicts looking for hope.

At the end of the day, if significant parts (in number and/or quality) of the book are invented (or at least not experienced by him directly), the whole thing is to be trashed. It's only value now is as a cautionary tale.

To think I was about to buy this book for an ex-friend of mine who could use some bonafide inspiration.

Lindsay BishopJan 11, 2006 at 4:35PM

I have read both A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. I think regardless if the stories are true or not, they are still fabulous reads. James Frey is a brilliant author and I will continue to read anything he gets published.

A true addictJan 11, 2006 at 4:36PM

I am soooo happy people are getting refunded. I have been on my own soapbox about this Frey liar ever since the book was published. He is an ego ridden weasel who couldnt make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood, couldnt sell his crappy scripts then someone (a savvy producer) suggest he jot down the most horrific things about a rehab he could come up with ala RAMBO IN REHAB. Everyone knows dentists terrify, so, they think trump the scene in Marathon Man. The book is so plotted and obvious then when you see or meet the guy, he is a wuse. In fact, (this is not a homophobic statement though I believe he homophobic) I believe he is in the closet. Hence, this crazy scene he writes about beating a gay priest because he came onto him. OKay, but then Frey says THE GUY DESERVED IT. Hello, how many men have come onto women; are they supposed to shoot them and believe to be in the right. Believe me, homophobe. Next he is sexist. I'm sure every girl is a crack whore--- and they are all madly in love with him. Next, he is mr rambo. Every man fears him. The dude is a shrimp. It's hilarious. One of the biggest scams of the century ala literary world. He is laughign all the way to the bank of course. And hoping THEY DONT CANCEL the movie deal... which hopefully brad pitt will have the gumption (I think he will) to kill. He optioned it. bye bye movie. Frey will need to carefully invest his money because he is a laughing stock. No one will pay him to write anything again. In fact, he will most likely get a fake name. He hurt the world of addiction and gave false hope to addicts, which enraged me since this pussy at best threw back some beers and smoked pot on mommies dime. There is NO such thing as a recovered alcoholic or addict. You have it for life. And you need to treat it for life.

I am so glad this guy was exposed. And I hope Oprah is horrified and possibly learnred something about advocating things she isnt even sure of. Thanks.

LDJan 11, 2006 at 4:38PM

Let me ask you all something? Why do you care so much if James Frey embellished parts of his book? Why does it bother everyone so much that he is a successful person as a result of his writing. And further more, so what if he is counciling other addicts? I am a recovered anorexic. I spent time in a treatment facility. I am not trained in working with anorexics but can I offer insight and hope and support to those who are? You bet. I personally don't see how that is any different than James Frey being support of others as they try to recover from addiction. The only difference I can see is that he chose to write a book about his journey. He chose to get it all out there for everyone to see. How many of you would be willing to write about your biggest regrets and mistakes and then have people call you a phony? The man is making money because he wrote a terrific book. Period. Give me a break. You people are splitting hairs. I find it ridiculous that so many people have their panties in a bunch over the fact that this guy may have fabricated a few parts for the sake of storytelling. Pick your wedgies and move on.

Beerzie BoyJan 11, 2006 at 4:40PM

Memoirs need to be factual. They are non-fiction. Obviously, things will appear differently to different people, but inventing a melee with cops when a simple arrest occured is not factual, this book is not non-fiction, and not a memoir.

Lindsay BishopJan 11, 2006 at 4:42PM

To memer:

Regardless if this book is true or not, it is still inspirational. It's funny how as soon as James Frey's integrity is questioned, he's all of a sudden become an unskilled writer. And ex-friend or not, everyone could use a little hope, whether they're getting that hope from something real or not. All you have to do is believe.

Poo NuggetJan 11, 2006 at 4:44PM

The books where really good. Had Frey never gone on his press spree where he totally sold his story as stone truth, I wouldn't have a problem with him or ever the fact that he greatly exaggerated the truth, but that he did, makes me dislike him greatly and belittles much of the pleasures I found in reading his books.
I thought his tone was a little too tough and arrogant then and now I see why, he was trying to sell a persona that didn't exist.
And if you think James Frey was some kind of hardcore've got another thing coming. No one truly fucked up can make it through Denison with good grads in four years....bullshit.

JoeJan 11, 2006 at 4:46PM

I fully support what LD just wrote and couldn't have said it any better.

JeffJan 11, 2006 at 4:51PM

It doesn't matter if it's factual or not? He is still a 'great writer'? This makes no sense.

This thinking has half the country making excuses for and rationalizing the criminal actions of the Bush administration.

BS is BS, and should be labelled as BS. Don't be a sucker.

If you think he is a great writer you need to stop listening to Oprah's suggestions and read material by real authors with real talent. This twerp is a scam artist.

Poo NuggetJan 11, 2006 at 4:51PM


It's not the initial's about purporting mistruths and the damage that may have caused the people he did touch. Those with the real issues and real struggles...he broke a lot of peoples hearts by continued misrepresentation of the truth...that's what makes so many people do you not get that aspect?

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 4:54PM


1) I am glad that you found humor in my comment about you being on Frey's payroll. It was joke to begin with. It made you laugh. It served its purpose.

2) I am happy to see that you are on the same side of the fence as me.

3) Nothing I said was meant to discredit you. I was questioning the idea that he knew the girls. Now, that we are on this, my question to you is, did he know them or know of them? Because, as you may know, there is a difference. The parents comments and the fact that he portrayed himself actually being in the accident and having such an intimate connection, really makes me draw some conclusions of my own. I know I am not alone in that venture.

5) Maybe its all a mute point now. It appears that they are offering refunds. I will rest my case and go look into getting my money back.

SarahJan 11, 2006 at 4:56PM

Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? ... some of you people need to stop pointing fingers and take a good look at the things you've done in your own lives

Poo NuggetJan 11, 2006 at 4:57PM

Refunds are only if you bought your book directly from the publisher...I think that anyone...worrying this much about this, including me....needs to find a better hobby....

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 5:01PM

It only inspires because you think it's true. If you don't understand that then you're dillusional.

JoeJan 11, 2006 at 5:02PM

Poo Nugget,
I totally get that aspect. However, I believe that the so called embellished events that everyone is freaking out over are unsubstantiated and I frankly don't believe them. Just because certain things were not documented doesn't mean that they didn't really happen. I know this from first hand experience.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 5:04PM

Poo Nugget (feel dirty typing that) -

Amen. Could have said that better myself.

Lindsay -

All you have to is believe! Believe that its not true! Shift this book over to the fiction section on Amazon, BN, NYT Best Seller list and everwhere else on God's green, plastic, metal, concerete, written and televised creation.

Concerned ReaderJan 11, 2006 at 5:07PM

Poo -

Don't look for a new hobby. Just because Frey and Oprah have hoodwinked the literary world doesn't mean that we should stop reading. Just take issue with the fact that these plastic fools are killing artful writing of the fictional or non-fictional sort.

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 5:19PM

Oprah's probably none too happy.

Just about every lead for every article printed on this matter has revolved around Oprah getting duped. Now, whether or not that's true, it's not good press for her, and she's got an ego folks.

-The man who conned Oprah.
-Oprah's been duped.

etc...that's not good news for Frey.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 5:20PM

On second thought, I think Frey lived every word. Here's one passage:

"I start crying again.

Softly crying.

I think of Lilly and I cry.

It's all I can do.


You can't make up pure gold like that.

JeffJan 11, 2006 at 5:26PM

Oprah got fooled like 90% of the other people who read the book. I can't stand her and her fake crying, but she is human like the rest of us. Oprah shouldn't be blamed for anything related to this. She should only be blamed for subjecting her audience to visits by her best friends from time to time.

tricksterJan 11, 2006 at 5:28PM

Maniac brainiac winning the game
[He's] the lyrical Jesse James!

JoeJan 11, 2006 at 5:32PM

I think it's time to retire this message board. Comments have become extremely redundant but mostly ugly and hurtful from both the doubters and supporters.

Nancy NurseJan 11, 2006 at 5:36PM

A Million Little Pieces
A book that showed me the road I could of taken in the 70's-80's.That I am so very glad I did not take. If the story is embellished I really do not care. After I grew up and matured I became an Emergency Room nurse and I have seen things that make the book appear tame.
If Mr James Frey has helped just one person and there life who in the world should pass judgement. So many people live that insane life and much worse. Hats off to Mr.Frey

LawrenceJan 11, 2006 at 5:51PM

Excuse my naivete, but does anyone know of an addict/alcoholic who does not lie, exaggerate, con or manipulate?

donnieJan 11, 2006 at 5:53PM


That was beautiful, man.

Here's something infinitely more beautiful.
From Jesus' Son:

The traveling salesman had fed me pills that made the linings of my veins feel scraped out. My jaw ached. I knew every raindrop by its name. I sensed everything before it happened. I knew a certain Oldsmobile would stop for me even before it slowed, and by the sweet vocies of the family inside it I knew we'd have an accident in the storm.

I didn't care. They said they'd take me all the way.

JayJan 11, 2006 at 5:59PM

I'm more offended that he's a bad writer thatn the fact that he lied...and...

Sorry to throw the curveball here, but someone above shut down my brain's language processing plant with this little nugget:

"If you were inclined to believe it was true but later found out IT WAS IN FACT FICTION..." (my emphasis)

In fact fiction? My head hurts.

CraigJan 11, 2006 at 6:00PM

Jesus' Son is an excellent example of a lot of messed up addiction/criminal crap that (probably) happened to the author and was molded into poetry and sold as fiction (classily, Denis Johnson doesn't like to discuss how much of it is based on his life). Do yourselves a favor and check Jesus' Son out; let's just let Frey fade into the blip in literary history he's bound to be.

Drew MacEachernJan 11, 2006 at 6:12PM

Who cares? I started reading the book based on a recommendation before all the hype I'm discovering, and had assumed it was a novel 'based' on true events and did not take all facts literally.

Nowhere on the cover does it say 'Autobiography' or 'Memoir' - do people assume everything in Dave Eggers' 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' actually happened, simply because it is written in the first person?

If Frey was never on Oprah, this wouldn't even be a news story - the fact that people are complaining and Random House is offering refunds is preposterous.

Read it. It is a compelling and gut-wrenching novel.

ihramJan 11, 2006 at 6:14PM

The book was obviously interesting, but some parts of his story just screams out fiction. This guy tells us about his experiences with crack, and i think its an insult for the actual addicts of crack who recovered. I grew up with drugs around me, i was also once an addict of crack/cocaine and meth, and the way he describes life is complete bs. This guy needs to see how difficult things really are for people who grow up with illegal activities in their everyday life. I have proably had an more interesting life then him, and I am only 14 years of age.

2dazla8Jan 11, 2006 at 6:15PM

I am a licensed substance abuse counselor who is also in recovery. I bought this book when it first came out, long before it became popular. I have lent it to many clients who have related to the story as I myself did. True or not true, it offers some insight and awareness to people who have experienced addiction first hand and also for those who have not. I am a little bummed that all of this up-roar has arisen but nonetheless I feel most of this book is true only because of his firm grasp on what the reality of addiction is like.

DeRangedJan 11, 2006 at 6:43PM


So many of you people hurt my brain.

He did not "embelish." He flat-out made shit up to pump up his silver-spooner ego to be the tough guy he apparently always wanted to be. How can you be inspired by fairytail? I work with drug addicts every day. I have never, not one single time, seen a client maintain long term sobriety without a support group of some kind. How will those "helped' by this book feel when the find out it was mostly contrived crap? If he "embelished" a 5 hour stay at the police station into a 3 month jail sentence, complete with poignant imaginary killer cell mates and beatdowns, how the hell can you trust a single word of this book?

Kris CliffJan 11, 2006 at 6:54PM

I've read A Million Little Pieces and am just now hearing that parts of James' story are fabricated. I can truly understand how rumors that the book is embellished could take away from the book's creditability. I DO feel, however, that the fact that James made it through what he did and that he's still alive is an accomplishment that far outweighs a the few minor details that may not be 100% accurate in his book!!! There's not a chance in hell that the addiction and the rage and the withdrawal that was so clearly depicted in the novel could be fabricated. So while creditability can be taken away for the rumors that the whole book is not ALL TRUE, I give him a hell of a lot of credit for his drive and his ability to survive through situations that most of us can not even begin to DREAM of.

TannyaJan 11, 2006 at 7:11PM

Whether or not the story of his life was imbellished or not, I still believe he wrote what was true to him. I loved the book and wish James Frey would write a follow-up. I would like to find out what he and his friends did after he left treatment, and how he reacted and dealt with his girl-friends dependency and death.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 7:39PM

"do people assume everything in Dave Eggers' 'A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius' actually happened, simply because it is written in the first person? "

Well, no, but then again Eggers doesn't make dozens, if not hundreds of personal appearances, claiming that the book is factual.

Eggers does not hire lawyers to send threatening letters to The Smoking Gun (see their website) threatening to sue people if they dare to state that the author was writing fiction.

Eggers does not have a website in which he claims that questions about the factual basis of his books are "bullsh*t". That's a quote by the way.

Frey is a writer of modest talents whose fake life story was used as publicity for his book. That's tacky enough.

But then to deny the truth and threaten lawsuits to protect the fictionalized life story shows two things 1) that Frey is a true jerk and 2) that he is painfully aware how his fake life story is the key to his current success.

Dr.Jan 11, 2006 at 7:41PM

Remember Frey's self-righteous tirade about the "Rock Star" that stood before the group at the facility and told exagerrated stories of their exploits? How about when he and the judge called out the new comer who came in telling lies about the drugs he did?

Throughout the book he is just so damned condescending about anyone who came in telling stories that might have been worse than his. It was he who was the hardest of them all!!! Noone could possibly be worse than James, and if they tried to act like they were, then they were either liars or in the Mob.

That is why I think this whole thing is so galling.

I tried to watch him when he went on Oprah but could only stay with it for a couple of minutes. He sat on her stage and simply bathed in the "bad boy" image that everyone was pouring on him. In those first few moments of the show, he told several stories that ended with him being the guy "your parents were afraid of."

It reminded me of George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode where he got the girl by feigning the "bad boy image" next to his dad's car.


You give him a "hell of a lot of credit for his drive and his ability to survive through situations that most of us can not even begin to dream of"? I think you're closer to correct than you know, most of us couldn't "dream up" situations like James did, that's what makes him a writer.

barbJan 11, 2006 at 7:57PM

I have been in rehab. there is no way they would have aloud him to stay there with that kind of behavior. i'm also a dental assistant and local anesthetic such as lidocaine has nothing to do with addiction i can't imagine a dentist working on him without it

AnneJan 11, 2006 at 7:59PM

This is not about embellishment. Embellishment is a few details here and there, maybe an imagined conversation, a little dramatic license...This is an all out lie! The entire book is a lie! The entire premise of the book is a lie, and he has continued to peddle his lies (as himself, not the narrator of the book) in interviews in order to sell his book. I think he has bigger problems than drugs and alcohol--he is a narcissist and pathological liar!

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 8:02PM

ever met an addict? both fiction and nonfiction, and in turn, the enmeshment of the two is textbook addict. so whether or not his book is factually sound on all accounts is irrelevant. even the fabrications lend credibility to the life and story of an addict, which is the ultimate goal of this book. frey is an addict writing about the life of an addict... truth or lies, the book is true to form.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 8:18PM

This just in. Joan Didion's husband is alive and well. I guess this might trouble some readers, but her memoir was just so *powerful* that it really doesn't matter whether or not it was true.

AngelaJan 11, 2006 at 8:25PM

ON THE ONE HAND, truth is a major theme in the book. Lines like "it rung true," and "the truth is all that matters," are riddled throughout.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the truth he is stressing is not the journalistic kind but rather the what-really-matters-in-life kind: taking full responsibility for your behaviors, being open about fears and insecurities so that others can do the same.

Another service this book this does is counteract the pathetic glamour our culture has given to drug addiction.

Do these recent revelations detract from the book? Yeah, a little, but not enough to knock Frey from my top ten favorite comtemporary writers. His descriptions of the woods behind the rehab in winter is pure poetry. His characterization is also brilliant.

Don't waste any more time reading these messages. Go to your bookstore, read the first few pages. If you don't like it, put it back. If you do like it, do what I did: devour it in one weekend and then pass it on to a friend.

bbJan 11, 2006 at 8:25PM

My teacher said she thought that book was a good book and she cant beleive that u are saying this!

Dr.Jan 11, 2006 at 8:28PM

Truth or lies may be true to form and irrelevant to an addict, but they're pretty important to categorizing and marketing a book as fiction or non-fiction.

That's what this is all about, James has had many opportunities to say that this book is inspired by his experiences, but he has refused to do so. In fact, he has called those who question him liars and threatened to sue.

His inarticulate responses to this controversy are laughable.

Keep in mind what the post far above says, if you pull out the blatanat lies (i.e. Being involved in the accident that killed his good friend "Michelle", not facing seven years in Prison, etc.) then large portions of the story begin to fall away until all your left with is an upper middle class kid smoking cigarettes in a rehab facility that his parents sent him to.

AngelaJan 11, 2006 at 8:29PM

BTW: to those who say the whole book is a lie -- ????!!!!! He was an addict, he was arrested, he did go to rehab, he did meet all of the people he said he met. There's just so much you can lie about!

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 8:39PM

still, i continue to support frey in his recovery, and i know that an attempt to shame the man will not and cannot change his behavior. an attack on his character is unwarrented. he was an addict. he is an addict. he will come to his own conclusions through his own truth, and not because a public has decided to question his motives or his story. the book tells a necessary story. lord only knows that fox news and cnn claim to report fact. now THAT is the truely laughable perspective.

Dr.Jan 11, 2006 at 8:40PM

Are you sure that he met all of the people that he said he met? Like the Federal Judge who teamed up with a mobster who he just met in rehab to help a junkie avoid a seven year prison stint that he never in fact faced? Are you sure he met that guy?

Dr.Jan 11, 2006 at 8:43PM

Again, when selling a book to the public as non-fiction (and repeatedly going on national T.V. and swearing it's all true), it's not about HIS truth its about THE truth.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 8:45PM

From a Frey essay you can find on Bold Type:

"I wrote a page or two pages a day every single day for 310 straight days. I tried to be as honest as I could be, I tried to write the truth, every word came straight from my heart."

Ya, 3 hours in police custody versus 87 days in jail? Close enough!

JackJan 11, 2006 at 8:48PM

I've worked in publishing for years, and I'll say straight out that if Random House is publically offering refunds for Frey's book, this is a BIG f--king deal. And probably even more fabricated than even the Smoking Gun report reveals.

I've never heard of ANY book publisher ever doing something with this. And it makes me wonder what the office atmosphere at Random House is. Heads will most probably roll...

And I really want to see what Oprah has to say.

Apologists for Frey might really want to step back and see reassess what attracted them to his work.

We was robbed!

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 8:53PM

your standards are high for frey. are they equally as high for 'the smoking gun'?

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 8:54PM

and interestingly enough, i think we will have to agree to disagree on 'his truth' vs. 'the truth.' i have worked with enough people to know that 'the truth' is pretty damn subjective.

SherryJan 11, 2006 at 9:09PM

I saw this guy on Oprah and found him hard to believe because the attitude he seemed to display seemed inconsistent with recovery. I still think that the 12 step programs are the best and this guy does not have an attitude that makes me think he is truly sober in every sense of the word. He gives other recovering addicts a false sense of what it takes, I think. I will be very surprised if he is clean and if he is now I would not be surprised if he relapses in a big way.

BHartJan 11, 2006 at 9:13PM

Could someone please post the address for his website... i can't seem to find it? Thanks

JackJan 11, 2006 at 9:18PM

Therapistme, your criticism of the Smoking Gun is astute to a point. But that does not hold water at this point. If the Smoking Gun was erring in its coverage, Random House and James Frey would have legally pounced on them for slander and this issue would have been addressed pretty quickly.

Instead, Frey's lawyer sends bullying letters to the Smoking Gun. Frey himself will not publically speak about this claim. News of his lying is spreading like wildfire around the publishing world. And in a move I have never heard of being done before, Random House is publically trying to distance themselves from him by pubically offering refunds and refusing any more comments.

It sounds like the only thing the Smoking Gun did not do right was dig even deeper. Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass, meet your new friend Mr. Frey!

KrisCliffJan 11, 2006 at 9:20PM

Emily Swank... If you didn't even take the time to READ the book, you shouldn't be making comments. Take the time to do your research and comment when you have a knowledgable insight to provide.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:26PM

i suppose i am trying to take into account the life of one man and his recovery. as i mentioned, each individual has the right to his or her opinion and thoughts about the book; however, i want to keep in mind that frey's life and recovery are being held in question, and i share concern for him as a human being as well as the fact that only he knows his story inside and out.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:31PM

incidentally, i also believe it to be a rumor that random house is refunding money for the book.

JackJan 11, 2006 at 9:31PM

"i share concern for him as a human being as well as the fact that only he knows his story inside and out."

Good point. But again, the other people who would know his story would be his editors and the people who he worked with closely to get this book published. If they felt for him and believed he was being railroaded, Random House would issue a statement defending him.

Instead, they seem to want nothing to do with him. And are basically admitting guilt in issuing refunds.

Foster and nuture relationships with people you truly know. Not asshats like Frey who most people don't know beyond his book and have never met in person.

What is it about our media saturated culture that has people defending strangers because they are famous so blindly? Where is Paddy Chayefsky when we need him.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:35PM

i suppose your assumption that i don't know frey personally can be your assumption. and perhaps you should call people asshats whom you know and not people whom you have never met in person. just a thought. unfortunately your naive assumptions could extend in both directions. 'the smoking gun' in and of itself publishes lies repeatedly. it is, in fact, a lie that random house is handing out refunds. why are you so angry?

JackJan 11, 2006 at 9:35PM

"incidentally, i also believe it to be a rumor that random house is refunding money for the book."

Here is the source of the rumor:

Associated Press via Washington Post.

I have a funny feeling 'therapistme' has some vested interest or connection with Frey. Congrats!

JonJan 11, 2006 at 9:36PM

The truth is subjective???? What! Either he was in prision or he wasn't. (among many other impossibilities in the story) Nothing subjective about it.
Truth by definition is actuality. Subjective by definition refers to what occurs in someones mind.
I loved the book, but am so mad that I was lied to.

JackJan 11, 2006 at 9:39PM

"i suppose your assumption that i don't know frey personally can be your assumption."

Sounds oddly like you want to veil yourself--yet out yourself--as being connected to Frey.

Don't know who you are, but it's odd your posting like this and with this tone.

Heck, if you even are James Frey, it's even odder. And a bit

Sorry, gotta go. Dinner and reality beckon.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:39PM

funny feeling well taken. i suppose i have a vested interest in recovery. and life. and growth. and truth. and again, this is about opinions and assumptions... my perspectives as well as yours. i can choose to support a man in recovery. you can choose personal anger and bitterness toward someone you have never met, and whose life may or may not directly influence yours. all of this is obviously hitting a very personal button in your life.

the newest "news" out there is that random house is NOT giving refunds. you can beg to differ.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:45PM

again, i thought this was a place for thoughts an opinions on the matter. that is what i am trying to share. i am not trying to veil on unveil any connection. i am simply trying to open up possibilities... the possibility that frey's work could be total truth or total fabrication are equally insane. the possibility that any 'tsg' report could be total lie or absolute fact is also insane. you seem to be shocked that frey might be a human being with connections to real people... that is naive. your words influence people, just as his have influenced people. there exists truth in his work, and that is to be extracted by discerning readers. similarly to any text. why not just ride this one out and let time reveal reality and fiction. again, the anger is intense, and i don't totally understand it.

JackJan 11, 2006 at 9:50PM

"again, the anger is intense, and i don't totally understand it."

It's called being lied to. If you don't get that, then move on.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:51PM

you must know him personally...

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:55PM

and i don't want to move on completely because i know that the book has positively influenced a lot of people. i don't entirely agree with many of frey's ideas and methods. i don't think the book lends credibility to the 12 steps and i think that is sad. on the other hand, i don't completely accept a disease model as the only perspective on addiction, and because of that, i think frey's recovery thus far is refreshing. one individual mentioned that she would not be surprised if frey relapsed. of course not. should any of us be surprised if ANY addict relapsed? One cannot watch an interview on Oprah and make decisive conclusions about one man's recovery. my choice is to remain open minded in this matter. my choice is to believe that i am wise enough to extract the right things from a person's story and leave the rest behind.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 9:58PM

i can obviously grasp the perspective that frey has placed himself in the public eye and if he did, in fact, lie, he will certainly face the consequences. but again, he will experience a full spectrum of natural consequences if he lied beyond the legal limits. and natural consequences if he lied beyond his own moral limits. he will not, however, be influenced or changed by shame or names.

jamesfreyfanJan 11, 2006 at 10:07PM

I read both his books and thought they were brilliant. Why do people persist on digging into other peoples business? If James says he lived through these experiences who are we to say didn't?
Why would his entire family and his friends lie about the life he led all those years ago!
I am a fan of James' work and I admire him for what he went through all those years ago. I support him through this ridiculous matter.

therapistmeJan 11, 2006 at 10:10PM

it's interesting to read all the slams on hazelden and other treatment programs. hazelden IS a beautiful facility, but it is all non profit and is certainly not a resort for the rich and famous.

i have often wondered how hazelden employees and administrators feel about frey's book. on many levels, they must feel discredited. on other levels, the publicity must be wonderful. now, that would be an interesting perspective, although i am sure they can't "confirm or deny" his presence there as a patient.

Jennifer BellJan 11, 2006 at 10:18PM

I am about to read the novel as part of a book club. A memoir is memory. Memories are often not completely accurate. After a few dozen pages, I still believe he is a gifted writer.

classof88Jan 11, 2006 at 10:20PM

btw, I just watched Larry King Live with James Frey.. and it's just a rumor about the publisher offering refunds. It's not true.

BillMJan 11, 2006 at 10:30PM

I am a drug addict/alcoholic in recovery. I am off dope and just about every other drug that you can imagine 6 months exactly today. I read the books while in rehab. Myself and everyone else who read the books while there loved them. I think that they help to show how low a person can go whether thair fact or fiction is besides the point to me. I can identify with many parts of the book even the not being able to look into your own eyes. I think taht many of Mr. Frey's bottoms are real. But as therapistme says lying and maximizing things about yourself, your history and your usag are all inherent to people who are drug addicts. The only part of the book that i didn't like was how he put down the fellowships that use the twelve steps. I say this because although he may be able to stay sober through the idea of "just hold on," I and hundreds of thousands of other people just like me cannot and i think that it sort of gives a type of false hope to the newcomer that they can stay sober by themselves, and they may be able to but most people cannot.

saviorselfJan 11, 2006 at 10:37PM

Why are all the AA adherents so sure anyone who doesn't follow their simple little cult-like program going to relapse? That's bad karma. Don't get me wrong, every drug or alcohol enthusiast should try AA once. Why do people keep insisting it's so good after failing so many so many times? A few people do better with a higher power and others do better with personal responsiblity. I really don't think God cares if I go smoke crack. She's busy with the Milky Way.

AA is inherently dishonest using bait and switch techniques. The higher power can be anything... it can be (beat)... that doorknob. Bullshit. Move on to step three where you turn your life over to the higher power and you are fucked. OK doorknob, what now? The higher power was first Jesus Christ, then God, then higher power, then became higher power as we understand HIM. AA was formed as a Christian group and still is a very religious group.

It's a disease? For heck's sake show some proof...

It's the most effective? Again - proof....

You can have an allergy to alcohol? let's see the proof....

It's wierd how I've turned into a defender (sort of) of a frat boy wanker.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 10:39PM

"If James says he lived through these experiences who are we to say didn't? "

Maybe "we" are people who can tell the difference between 3 hours in police custody and 87 days in jail?

Maybe "we" are readers who like to think that authors of nonfiction have an obligation not to lie to intentionally lie to readers.

Maybe "we" are people who think that it is shameful and disgusting to lie about death, addiction, and recovery for the purpose of selling books

MelissaLynnJan 11, 2006 at 10:42PM

Who cares if some of it was fabricated. It's a great book and James Frey deserves focus on how he got over his drug/ alchohol addiction rather than the little insignifacant things in the book that may have been exaggerated. The only difference calling it 'fiction' would have made is the people the book helped would still be in trouble because they probably wouldn't give it as much credit and it would be untrue because he did go through the main struggles. I am sickened by the things people choose to focus thier attention on.

SpartacusJan 11, 2006 at 10:43PM

All i have to say is... Who cares?! It is his story no matter how far -fetched it happens to be. i think its amazing that so many people raced through this book. Why should he be chastised for spicing it up? I believe he called it a memoir because although he might have exaggerated it a bit it still hits pretty close to his heart and he was great to share it with us. Perhaps he shouldve labeled it fiction, though i could care less, a good book is a good book and youre the only one who should decide if it is or not.

T D EJan 11, 2006 at 10:48PM

"Memories are often not completely accurate."

Do you think there is a difference between mistakenly believing, say, that you got a red bike for you 10th birthday instead of your 12th versus believing that you spent 87 days in jail instead of 3 hours or believing that you were involved in an accident that killed two people when, in fact, you had nothing to do with it?

Dr.Jan 11, 2006 at 10:53PM

The bottom line is that if I knew the book was fiction I would not have purchased it.

Therapist, what you have been saying is that even though its not true, it's true. There's no logic to that.

There is no subjective aspect to the truth in this case. If you're not facing 7 years in prison, then you're not. And then your buddies can't help turn it into 3 months in jail.

Further, if you weren't involved in the death of "Michelle" then you can't cry in the shower about it and make your readers believe that's part of your "fury."

Dr.Jan 11, 2006 at 10:58PM

My money is in his wallet based upon this fraud and that sucks. He suckered me and millions of others but I guess that's just him being an addict and me being an enabler.

TJan 11, 2006 at 11:03PM

I read A Million Little Pieces about a year ago and absolutly loved it. It was such a real book...and if you haven't been an addict then you can't say that what he was feeling was false or true. James even said that he got his records from the rehab to write the book and he kept a journal. And about him looking into his own eyes, you can't comment unless you've been into his shoes. Its hard to look at yourslef when you are ashamed.

IndigoGirlJan 11, 2006 at 11:13PM

It is the policy of Random House to refund money to ANYONE who purchases books DIRECTLY from them, the publisher. In that aspect, this book is no different from any other. You must, of course, return the book and pay for postage on its return.
If you purchased the book at a bookstore or other outlet, online or "offline," it is up to that particular bookstore and/or outlet.

JackJan 11, 2006 at 11:15PM

The problem is this is not a free book. It's not like Random House found this author and then decided, "Hey! This is a great story! Let's publish it and pass it out for free to people who need help."

That didn't happen at all.

This book was/is a product. And part of the appeal of the product is the fact he was selling it as the truth.

What has he done with is fame/power? Cut movie deals? So MORE people can then pay HIM to hear his stories? Give me a break.

Many people who have gone through a fraction of what he supposedly went through have devoted their lives to helping others. Helping them in private and personal ways. Speaking to people in trouble. Even becoming abuse counsellors themselves. They don't seek fame or fortune, but they seek to help others.

Other than cutting book deals, cutting movie deals and schmoozing on Oprah and Larry King, what has this guy done beyond promoting himself? Nothing.

Even his own website-- focused just on him as an author. Not even one link sending people to places that have helped him.

The guy is an arrogant selfish jerk. He'll definitely "help" you if you pay him to do it.

TLCJan 11, 2006 at 11:19PM

I have just watched James Frey on Larry King Live and I read his book as well. In my mind what James captured in his book was how addictions can take control of people's lives, the impact it has on the family and the hope that this book might give thousands of addicts and their families. I was deeply impacted with th book because I was able to relive my stint in treatment years ago and the ensuing gratitude I feel for the help I was able to get. What is even more impactful for me was how he was able to capture the "PAIN" of addiction. Interestingly when I read at the end of the book the "status" of some of his fellow treatment roommates it looked like the same status of some people I too went to treatment with, relapse, death, suicide and a smaller percentage still in recovery. I applaud James to writting a book that brings to the forefront the "Seriousness" of addictions and providing people with hope there is a way out. If I could talk to James personally today I would say "HOLD ON" - THIS TOO SHALL PASS

Emily SwankJan 11, 2006 at 11:25PM

Kris Cliff or whatever your name is: I read both books. Your assumptions that I did not don't surprise me-you clearly base every other opinion on false assumptions as well.

TommyJan 11, 2006 at 11:28PM

I hated the character James Frey portrayed in his book, because although he has been spoken of as being so candid and self-degradating, he actually becomes the hero in the book of his "self-deliverence." People who believe this story are put at risk of trying a method of rehab that will most likely fail. There is danger in that. Now one might say that the twelve steps fail at least 80% of the time. You would be right. But at least this has been studied and quantified, what is the success rate of the James Frey method of rehab?

Another point...On the premise that the story is true. The girl he falls in love with at rehab...he helped destroy. He disrupted her rehab, never let her find her own inner strength, and abandoned her. The way I see it, a person in rehab is separated from the opposite sex so that they can focus on getting better, not on forming a relationship with another dysfunctional person, who ultimately can not serve the purpose of getting better. He tries to be her hero, and she never has the opportunity to reach within herself and find the hero that is there. Alone and afraid, the only thing she is left with is emptiness and the false prayer..."just hold on." To what James? She is broken and alone and never found what is inside of her because of you.

Finally...the character always searches for truth. He belittles those who are falsifying their experiences. I am sure at rehab, there were many like Bobby (they guy with the big mouth). There are many in life. We are all searching for truth...even non-addicts are. If this book was intended to give laypeople a sneak peak at how unglorious drug addiction is, it did in the beginning. But by showing his personal achievement it loses the real horror of addiction, which is wasted life. If it was intended to be a guide for the addict as was portrayed on Oprah, with all of the hugging and encouraging words of the one and only James Frey, it is a joke. It is also blatently irresponsible. Addicts need to find the spiritual self that lies beyond the selfish need, want, give me more, that drives them down. They need to find purpose. What is the purpose of "just hold on???" Hold on to what??? Although James Frey is a spoiled, middle-class kid with a very large safety net set securely beneath him by his dad's executive class money, many addicts do not have that luxury. Most addicts are faced with dirty, infested, criminally overridden refuges at hospitals and clinics all over the country in inner cities...NOT at some cushy rehab in the midwest. When they leave, no one is waiting to pick them up with a new poick up truck and a place to live. The only hope they have is that something greater than themselves will see them through this impossible time. He professes against this presence many times in his book. He take away the one thing that many desperate addicts cling to as a reason to hope, and stay sober.

TommyJan 11, 2006 at 11:39PM

I am happy to see the publisher stand behind their product, but what are bookstrores doing about it?

Tom NesheimJan 11, 2006 at 11:44PM

He didnt just stretch the truth, he out and out lied ..turns out he never even spent one whole day in jail....hes a real desperado...The thing that pisses me off most the end of the book hes giving the message that 12 step programs dont work.He did it his way,which is to say to yourself "just hold on". Thats the same bullshit message as :just say no" that never worked for anyone either...I just hope that people havent died by being turned away from real recovery in a 12 step name is Tom and im an alcoholic addict...and ive been sober 21 years...and i attend AA meetings regularly

TomJan 11, 2006 at 11:51PM

wow tommy i didnt read your post before i makes my little post look .Seriosly though i totally agree with everything you say.and you say it in such a great way:)

Chris RogersJan 12, 2006 at 12:03AM

Had Frey's "tale" been used for a movie script instead of the book, it would have created the kind of film that left you gaping and covered in popcorn kernels when you walked out, lost in another world trying to figure out how anyone could survive that.

Instead, it seems that it's just a mess...and to think, this all came out a day after I posted how great I thought the book was from a non-addict point of view.

FantasmogirlJan 12, 2006 at 12:10AM

Call me a cynic, but if he outright lied about even a quarter of what's written on those pages, how can any logical and rational person actually believe that the other three-quarters is true.

And when it comes to addicts trying to believe in something, choosing this book and this person based on what he wrote to be honest, true and real as something they believe...well, isn't it kind of cruel of him, supposedly a recovering addict who cares about these people, to sham them by stating outright lies in a book that is supposed to be actual fact? Any semi-intelligent person would be aware that a book of this nature would be utilized by those who have the most experience with the subject matter (addiction/alcoholism).

jerryJan 12, 2006 at 12:19AM

Again, it's a poorly written book. It's asking you to take capitalization as some kind of symbol. As if his art, his craft is summarized in the upper case letters of a proper noun - so stupid. He's a hack, which isn't really a problem, except that he's also a liar.

Oprah's going to stand behind him because she's now forever tied to him. She relaunched her Book Club brand with his book and she needs this to go away quickly and quietly, which also mean she'll probably announce another book next week.

And by the way, Larry King is hardly a beacon of journalism. Why do you think all the politicians love him.

AneshaJan 12, 2006 at 12:25AM

Don't know if this was brought up yet because I haven't had the chance to read all of the comments, but I think the word "embellishment" is being used as a synonym for "complete fabrication" for those defending Frey's books. If you embellish a story for dramatic effect or to make a point or to make it more engaging to a reader/listener, you start from someplace real/factual and then sprinkle garnishments to taste. You know, put the steak on the grill, add a dash of salt here, a pinch of lemon there etc.

But you have to start with the steak.

Does anyone believe that there was any meat to begin with in the case of the 'priest' incident? Here's a guy in such despair he's gonna kill himself, decides to seek a last ditch bit of solace in an institution he doesn't regard and--imagine that--a man steak, but enough smoke to the fire to make Frey's farce possible because we all know that molesting adult males is a priest’s favorite pastime. And even though it didn't happen to him, he read about it once in the Granville Times and he was so deeply saddened by what he read that he himself felt
victimized by it so he felt like it was him so...he EMBELLISHED a wee bit.

Most of the comments I read seem to be from those who bought Frey's make-believes as truths hook, line and sinker and now feel compelled to justify why they did by attempting to blur the line between B.S. and literary license. And ironically as such, you are enabling the behavior of the ‘addict' that Frey claims to be.
You feel sorry for him. He didn't mean it. Look how wounded he is..Mommy, can we take him home with us. PLEASE? Memoirs don't have to have basis in fact. Lying in this case is justifiable because (fill in the blank)...
One thing that is lost here is that, regardless if Frey's character in the book is almost entirely made up and many are comfortable with that, are those same people comfortable with this fictional character now that it has embodied life itself (in the form of the author Frey)? He's way past the literary license stage. He's on the big stage with Oprah, et al. Performing brilliantly,helping fellow addicts/alcoholics/Criminals heal themselves because 'I've been there'. Well Kind of. Mostly. Theoretically. Partially. Never, but I read about it once in the Granville Times...

jerryJan 12, 2006 at 12:30AM

Great post, Anesha. The priest scene made me throw the book across the room.

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:37AM

Jack, I couldn't agree with you more. On every comment.

Many, many people recover from drug addictions through hard work and suffering. James Frey is not the first.

Many people go through a life of hell trying to escape pain. James Frey is not the first.

Many people experience complete and utter loss and agony. James Frey is not the first.

Many people write novels about their experiences. James Frey is not the first. Nor is he the best.

He lied about his experiences to aggrandize his suffering. He co-opted other peoples' stories of suffering to make his book "better".

And now he is making serious cash off of those lies.

Addicts deserve better than lies. They deserve truth. They deserve someone who cares about them... and not just selling books.

Wake up, people. You want so badly to feel something you don't seem to realize it's fake. You can help yourselves. You don't need James Frey.

KristenJan 12, 2006 at 12:39AM

I can't believe people are so hell bent on discrediting a book and a man. Both A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard are amazing books that tell an incredible story. Frey is a great writer with pure talent who has overcome a lot of crap in his life. Who cares how many days he spent in jail and the other insignificant parts of the book? If you do then you really really need to get a life...and a job. Oh, and if that is your job why don't you try doing something that actually makes people feel better instead of trying to punish them? There are American soldiers dying in Iraq and the citizens of this country are complaining about a fabricated book! I mean come on!

ZoeJan 12, 2006 at 12:53AM

I have to say this because it appears that nobody else has or is going to. WHO CARES!! It's a book, fiction or not, it's a story that has helped people, in fact saved people. For others, it might have only been a good read, either way, it's just a book people.

It's gotten great reviews, so I say let it be. Are we all that bored that we have nothing better to do then to sit and try and figure out if some guy has extended the truth or not about a life that only he lived? SO what if he lied? It made for a great book! I don't see what all the fuss is really about. That's just my opinion on this though. Each to their own.

TiffanyJan 12, 2006 at 1:00AM

My book club read this and I was skeptical and disturbed from the start. I don't really care about his now admitted lies about his cheek injury, jail time, police record, etc. He defends his "essential truth." First, his "essential truth" is tainted because the stories that shape his stay in rehab -- Leonard and Lilly -- are complete lies, I suspect. I wish the Smoking Gun would investigate and out these lies. More important, why is no one criticizing his irresponsible message that you can overcome your addiction without a higher power, a mantra, a 12-step program, etc. He is asking us to believe that he did it himself, while filling us full of lies throughout his "memoir." His entire persona of creepy untruths leads me to believe that perhaps he the addict -- and the recovered addict -- we are led to believe he is. I just hope that throngs of people, true addicts seeking recovery, don't cling to his every word and try to overcome their addictions "on their own." James Frey is a pompous, arrogant, smug, dishonest, opportunistic, money-grubbing person. He wants fame, fortune. I doubt he has the best interest of any addict at heart, except for James Frey (if he really is an addict.)

BillyJan 12, 2006 at 1:02AM

Please, stop insisting this book has saved people. Can anyone document that? I doubt it has saved anyone. And it's irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

PotfryJan 12, 2006 at 1:06AM

Top 10 New Titles for James Frey's Book

As posted on

Angry Frat Boy Giggling Cops

Boy, Barely Interrupted

Rebel Without a Seatbelt

Jimmy Frey's Excellent Adventure

The Crazy Kegger When Jimmy Got So Busted!

Clapping Erasers: The James Frey Story

The Hopeful Thug

Upscale Suburban Madness!

Dude Where’s My Car Part II

The Winecooler Hooligan

jasonJan 12, 2006 at 1:07AM

one thing i haven't read on all of these comments is an opinion of a recovering addict. i am a recovering addict and beat it the same way james did. and for the few of you who think we are just lyers and thiefs i feel sorry for you and your attitude. your ignorent. as a recovering addict i felt james pain through the whole book. i went through some of the same withhdrawl symtoms he went through. i am now over four years clean and have a great job and actually help kids who haven't gotten started early on drugs get off before it's to late.

BillyJan 12, 2006 at 1:07AM

I laugh as I read your reflections on all James' rehab buddies who died, or how James destroyed Lilly. I am 99 percent certain none of them existed. None. The train station/crack house Lilly story was just ridiculous. So is the Leonard character. Please, people, don't try to model your recovery after James. It's not true. Use whatever resources you have, but please not James Frey. He's a phony.

JulieJan 12, 2006 at 1:08AM

I watched James Frey on Larry King tonight. I hope this isn't the end of this sham. This man has done a terrible disservice to all who read and believed his story. I wasn't surprised Oprah called in because her name and neck are on the line too. She doesn't want to appear to be a fool.

AneshaJan 12, 2006 at 1:09AM


Good point, Kristen. to heck with this.

I'm gonna put down the poison pen and go hunt down bin laden.

On second thought, maybe I'll just piece together a managerie of personal accounts and news stories of people who are/have hunted down bin laden, engage in the thrill of the hunt vicariously/safely then write a highly stylized, pretentious first person account of the trek (aka memoir which is "only a recent addition to the GENRE of non fiction" according to our esteemed truth teller), and hope that Orpah the Killer Interviewer gives it legs.

Bless your heart for bringing me back to REALITY (whatever that means) Kristen!!

TiffanyJan 12, 2006 at 1:11AM

Jason, several recovering addicts have posted here. We don't think recovering addicts are liars and thieves! I am so glad you are recovered and able to help others! James isn't, though. You are using your experiences to help others. James is fabricating his experiences to help himself to millions of dollars. I am glad you "beat" your addiction the way that James lies about doing it, but please keep in mind that you are strong. Coming from a family with many addicts, I can promise you that many, many people can't beat it this way.

JoniJan 12, 2006 at 1:13AM

Kristen--I think that the reason that many people are upset about the "insignificant parts of the book" that were fabricated is that the entire story is based on these not so insignificant facts. This week I started "My life with Leonard" and read in great detail many pages about Mr. Freys time in jail--the people he met and the things that occured when none of it ever happened! It was fiction. It was sold to me as truth. I don't like being lied to. I am not trying to punish anyone. Lastly, what in the world do soldiers have to do with this conversation? There are many horrible things going on in the world--children are dying of starvation in numbers greater than our soldiers dying. It is very sad, but totally irrelevant.

DanaJan 12, 2006 at 1:16AM

As a recovering addict/alcoholic I find it horrifying that a lie such as this is given credibility. Honesty is essential to recovery and now that is being tossed out because this has supposedly helped others. I hope that when George Bush taps your phone for the greater good you remember that, after all, these lies are somehow "good for you".

jasonJan 12, 2006 at 1:16AM

tiffany thank you for your comments and maybe your right, i just want the book to be true because of the number of failed attempts every succsess is good for all recovering addicts.

Bob PJan 12, 2006 at 1:21AM

I admittedly have not read the book, mostly becasue as a recovering person my wife recommended it because Frey says (according to my wife) that Frey would not go to AA because he did not want to trade one addiction for another (AA). I'll read the book now that I know it is fiction.
The sad thing to me is that other newly recovering people will read his book and believe what they read - I recently actually heard a new person in an AA meeting say the book was his "map" to recovery. How sad that is. Anything based on a lie simply will not work. Every week I go back to the treatment center I used and talk with all the new patients. I always tell them that AA is not the only way to get sober - but a 12 step program is the one way that will work for everyone that wants it. In my short time in recovery (12 plus years) I have talked with about 10,000 newly sober patients in treatment and I have never seen even one get sober without the help of a 12 step program.
Lastly, I feel for James Frey. I watched the Larry King interview and just felt from the beginning that he was trying to justify the lies. He may not have had a drink or a drug in 13 years, but he really isn't in recovery. I just think without a 12-step program he could be very close to a relapse. If I have an alcoholic mind the day and place will come and I will drink again. A 12-step program treats the mind so we no longer have an alcoholic mind (we are recovered) and can then deal with life without drugs and alcohol.

BuzzwaldJan 12, 2006 at 1:26AM

Only in a culture so consumed with cult of personality could such a furor erupt. Only in a culture where authors, not their work, is the real commodity could this happen.* Why is it that readers can't be satisfied with their own (often profound) response to a story, memoir or otherwise? Why do they also demand a piece of the author, a relationship, a kinship, a spiritual connection? Why do they insist on turning a piece of art (and, memoir or not, that's what this book is) into a Ouija board? For readers like these, reading the book isn't enough; they want to stroke its spine and share its creator's pain. Well, tough luck, people, you can't share Frey's pain. He didn't feel most of it in the first place.

But so bloody what? So what if Frey dreamed up half (or more than half) of the book. All memoirs (including yours, dear reader) will contain their share of prevarication and/or fabrication. I say we call A Million Little Pieces a work of "faction" and leave it at that. If you enjoyed it, fine. If not, also fine. Either way, you still have your latte and your own dreams of a more compelling addiction. Frey may not have spent those three months in the slammer. He may not have nearly roadkilled a cop. But he did write the book. It is still his story, his telling. The darkness is there on the paper. Why does it have to come with a mapquest link?

BuzzwaldJan 12, 2006 at 1:39AM

Some will blame Oprah for this trend, and they're right. But I think that what Oprah has done to get more people reading serious books outweighs the deleterious effect of occassionally making an author better known than his work.

IOW, Franzen is still both right and wrong for his snub or Oprah. But as with Frey, whatever the depth of the BS that an author has to wade through, getting the book to the other side is worth it. You just have to learn to hold your nose.

DanaJan 12, 2006 at 1:44AM

Buzzwald, the problem lies not in shades of gray but in intentional misrepresentation. This cannot be a guidebook for recovery. I find it an extremely dangerous precedent to be fed lies disguised as truths and then just say "Oh that's OK, no harm done, that's what's best for me". I am very disappointed that truth doesn't seem to matter in our culture anymore. We have lies fed to us from all sides, when we find out the truth, we shrug it off and claim that it doesn't obscure the point. It DOES obscure the point when it comes to an honest recovery.

Bob PJan 12, 2006 at 1:45AM

Oh yeah, one more thing. Anesha you are great!

MegJan 12, 2006 at 1:49AM

Kristen, I can do what I want in my spare time, and if my desire is to point out lies, so be it. How do you have any clue what I've done in response to Bush and the war? How do you have any clue what else I work towards in my life? You're here, too, girl. Don't forget that.

I don't need your permission to set my priorities or to campaign for what is right.

And I live in Canada, anyhow. I didn't elect a psycho. We have an idiot, but not a psycho.

George D.Jan 12, 2006 at 1:53AM

This book is dangerous and reminds me of Audrey Kisline's book moderate drinking where she claimed acloholics could moderate their drinking. She later killed a father and his daughter drunk driving and was sentenced to prison for four years. She also rejected AA . Hope this man doen't meet that fate after his newfound wealth.

AndrewJan 12, 2006 at 2:44AM

I don't have an issue with someone crafting a book of fiction even if it is a story about a recovering/ed addict. If the book is good enough and if there is a base demand it will be published and consumed. Had Frey posited his book as fiction, "based in part on a true story" then the reader (especially the reader in a "need-for-hope state) would have had a chance to read the book, then take what was useful without giving up the ability to leave behind what was not.

But that is not what Frey did. Frey, in interview after interview (prior to having his honesty questioned) said that the book was true. Do a quick Google search "James Frey" and you will find some of those interviews. One that strikes me as capturing his intent, at the time was done by In the interview he says: "I tried to be as honest as I could be, I tried to write the truth, every word came straight from my heart."

THAT is not the quote of a man who is marketing a book based on hazy accounts. Those words mean what they mean. We should expect, based on his quote, that he is going to forget details or even re-create some things that he cannot remember. That I could accept.

Frey however goes way beyond that. He lies about his DUI arrest and he lies about his link with a young lady killed by a train. He knew better and if he did not then he should have done what TSG did and gone back to review his own record.

Some have said that Frey's overall message is more important than the details. That might wash if addiction were not so damn detail oriented. And what is his message? "Hold On?" Just say NO? I mean, is this new? Didn't Nancy Reagan basically get told to shut the hell up and sit down for saying, "Hold On?"

If people find inspiration in Frey's work then they should at least admit that his honesty is a bit less than inspiring. James does not live in some flip universe wherein he gets to claim something to be true when it is being hailed by Oprah, partly true when TSG digs up some police records and then blame the "haters" when he is called to answer for his loose relationship with integrity.

If you are inspired, great. But inspiration based on untruths is not really all that inspiring to me personally. All he had to say was, "This is a story." But he did not. He said it was his true story. And while no one expects perfect recall or a perfectly made factual bed, most people who buy non-fiction are looking for as much truth as possible. Frey did not water down the truth, he drowned it.

It looks as if getting truth from him now will be as tough as pulling teeth, but then even his version of that is a bit hard to swallow.


Andrew D.Jan 12, 2006 at 3:06AM

I just finished reading A Million Little Pieces and found it to be quite an inspirational book. Many of the claims about fabrications may be true. However, unless you have actually been to rehab, like myself, you really can't grasp the feeling that overcomes you. Yes, many may think he embellished but in his mind there was no embellishment. That is the way he most likely felt about his experiences. And also, he was in rehab, he writes about the incidents that occurred while he was off drugs, and he plainly states that he can not remember things when he was using. So all in all I believe that the memior is a personal look into the feelings and thoughts of a drug addict and what it feels like to be a recovering drug addict with no embellishment.

Jeff SimpsonJan 12, 2006 at 4:40AM

I think James Frey was mislead by his publishers into not making this fiction to begin with. The booksellers are in this to make $$$ and felt that it needed to be non fiction. He originally tried to market this as fiction and should have stood by his guns. Unfortunately, the gun (ie. smoking gun) backfired on him.

Tom LearmontJan 12, 2006 at 5:04AM

For a critical assessment of James Frey as a writer, take a look at exile issue # 167 and the review by John Dolan. It's hilarious. The problem is that most people can't tell good writing from bad; when somebody has the chutzpah to dictate to them, they believe. Frey cannot even tell the difference between a beaver and an otter, as you'll see when you go to

AmusedJan 12, 2006 at 5:30AM

Recommendations for new tatoos:
(F*ck The Bullsh*t It's Time To Fabricate More Bullsh*t)
(F*ck the Bullsh*t It's Time To Write A Third Rate Novel)
Or best of all:
Which, of course, stands for:
(F*ck The Bullsh*t It's Time To Relapse Go Face Down Cry On Oprah With Mom And Write Another Bullsh*t Book)

sarahJan 12, 2006 at 6:06AM

i believe that his book was very true for I am a heroin addict and I know that rehab is exactly how he wrote about it. I thought the book seemed very true I have no doubts that it is alie!!!

ellenJan 12, 2006 at 6:26AM

i have read the book and have seen him on larry king last night explain himself and his book and personally i loved the book and would recommend it if you have ever live with anyone with an addiction this book would make some sense to you because most of the book is about him being in rehab and why doesn't smoking gun ever question that because out of the 432 pages maybe 18 pages might not be true come on smoking gun find someone else to go after. james frey's book is a great book just take the time to read it

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 7:53AM

frey's depiction of hazelden is amazingly accurate. i will take that truth. if the rest is a lie, i still benefited from the one truth.

stevieJan 12, 2006 at 8:06AM

"Man, this guy is toast."

Steve Zahn
Shattered Glass

rickJan 12, 2006 at 9:24AM

James Frey's softball interview on Larry King (with his mom holding his hand and Oprah calling into to tell him he's still a good boy) has done nothing to prevent him from being considered a fraud.
These were not little embellishments. He did not take just a little license. These are lies told to make money.

BillMJan 12, 2006 at 9:24AM

you ask for proof that james' program of recovery doesnt work? ask anyone who has relapsed what happened to them. you ask for proof that addiction/alcoholism is a disease? if it wasn't then whydo insurance companies pay for their clients to go to rehabs? it is also considered a disease because of its five characteristics,
If addiction didn't have those five characteristics of a disease, then there would be no way in hell that insurance companies would pay for people to go to rehab. the idea of rehab is to put the disease into remission, like cancer, it never goes away but you can try to control it.
And yes the odds of people staying sober suck out of the long term patients in the rehab that i was at ($900 per day for about 90 day, payed for by insurance) two out of the fifteen people i was with are still sober, myself and a friend of mine. and for people in the 28 day program, i know one person who is sober from it out of the thousands of people who go through it. and these are the odds from the best rehab in the nation/world.

Kay HarrisJan 12, 2006 at 9:29AM

I found the book to be very accurate in its portrayal of alcoholics and drug addicts. Keep in mind he is not referring to some one who is under control of what he uses. The demand for more and more and the need to fill is so real. I have seen people like this and have lost many friends to the devastation of both alcohol and drugs. I Went through the family program myself and found his descriptions to be accurate. I agree with his thoughts on the 12 step program and their meetings on a daily basis. Alot of it is filled with people who just want to go on and on about their problems and many can't seem to "get over" it, How ever I also know that it has worked for alot of people...What works for one may not for another but who are we to judge? The issue is surviving! If this book is not true the research was great!

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 9:36AM

I don't doubt Frey's depiction of rehab, or how he feels about it. Clearly he's hit on some emotional truth, what it feels like to recover, what it feels like to be told that there's only one way to recover, but the fact is, and it's a fact, there's no debating it, he lied about certain events, big events despite the fact they absorb only 18 pages, in his life in order to make the book more sensational. Lied, not remembered incorrectly. Lied. It's one thing to say that he got arrested in Granville and got into fistacuffs with the arresting officer and another to say that he hit a cop with a car and got into a full on billy-club brawl with 4-5 cops. He also claimed he had crack on him, but was never charged with possesion of crack, or any other narcotic, not even coke. See, if he had coke on him and he called it crack, I'd be willing to say, yes, that's embellishment. But he didn't, folks, he had one 12 ounce bottle of PBR -- ha!

Now, for some of us, that taints the entire experience of the book. For some of us, it's no big deal. That's a personal decision and I don't have any problem with it. If the book works for you, great. I'm glad you're reading. I hope your interest in this book makes you pick up other books with similar topics, and better writing.

However, the metamorphosis of his 8 hours in jail into 87 days has serious implications on his second memoir. The entire book is based on that claim. That claim is a lie. That entire book is a lie. I don't know how anybody defends My Friend Leonard as truth. Emotional truth, sure. But you can write fiction to get at emotional truth. It doesn't have to be true to be emotional true. But it does if it claims to be memoir.

Accept Frey as your savior, as a great writer, fine, but accept, admit the truth about him and his claims. He's a liar, and that's ok with you.

jerryJan 12, 2006 at 9:44AM

All right stop enable and listen
Frey is back with my brand new invention
Fictional crack grabs a hold of me tightly
Flow like a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop yo I don't know
Turn off the lights and I'll blow
To the extreme I rock a mic like a vandal
Light up a stage and wax a reader like a candle
Dance go rush to the speaker that booms
I'm killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom
Deadly when I play a dope memoir
Anything less than the best is a felony
Love it or leave it you better gain weight
You better hit bull's eye the kid don't play
If there was a problem yo I'll fabricate it
Check out the hook while my DJ revolves it

Frey Frey baby

MikeJan 12, 2006 at 9:45AM

How can anyone of you in this thread who have been to rehab or had substance abuse problems be ok with this guy? How can any of you look past his self-serving dishonesty and say it's ok because he helped people or "brought goodness into the world" as one post put it? He has helped no one but himself. Anyone who knows anything about substance abuse and recovery (which I do, just so you don't have to ask) knows that hard, brutal honesty is absolutely essential. It's one thing to lie to yourself, as we so often do, it's another to lie to other people on such a grand scale, and it's completely another to PROFIT from it. This guy owes everyone whose life has truly known the type of horror he describes an apology.

jerryJan 12, 2006 at 9:53AM

This is the nature of memoir, of non-fiction. Frey sold a part of his life, and by buying the book and reading it and becoming a fan(atic) these people feel like they're being called a liar. They've aligned themselves with this guy and they can't possibly back down and consider for a moment that this hero was a fake all along. It implicates them. And Americans hate being implicated. They don't like art, literature, music or film, especially film, that implicates them, that points a finger at them and asks them to be responsible. Which makes all this hilarious, as Frey ordained himself the high priest of personal responsibility.

Frank DalyJan 12, 2006 at 10:15AM

I think this book was pure and simple BS..As I read the book I felt strange..I've been around and some of these things could simply not have happened.It would have been nice to have some of the other patients on Oprah but they all seem to be dead...

JeanJan 12, 2006 at 10:20AM

No matter whether truth or fiction. It sure has gotten all of you to spend a little time on it. So I guess in that way it's a success. People are talking and if you weren't going to read the book I bet some do now.

So James if nothing else owes us Thanks for making much ado about nothing.

memerJan 12, 2006 at 10:23AM

@ Lindsay Bishop (sorry I'm late)
"Regardless if this book is true or not, it is still inspirational."

The simple fact of the matter is that the book achieved bestsellerdom largely based on the declaration that the fantastic tales told within were true (that is, actually happened to him.).

That a real human experience all this and was able to overcome is the heart of the inspiration for most. To hear it's largely a fiction after the fact(so to speak) is a smack in the face to all and quite possibly a setback for many.

It's a fraud, pure and simple. I don't understand what there is to defend.

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 10:25AM

Go Jerry,'s over, who cares....let the guy be....he looked beat up and tired and's a shame that we tore that poor guy apart...whether he embellished or lied or whatever, doesn't give us the right to destroy him...he's just a guy like any of us and who wouldn't want to write a best selling novel...we're all just a little jealous of his success and we want to take him off of his cloud...that's been done, now leave the poor guy alone and sharpen your teeth for the next poor fool

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 10:26AM

being familiar with rehab, the 12 steps, recovery, etc., and still trying to support this guy on some level is part of MY recovery. my recovery prevents me from passing judgement. my recovery asks me to consider my own heart whenever i have a strong reaction to a person or situation. my recovery asks me to concentrate on myself. my recovery says that alcoholism and addiction might be a disease, or it might not be, but nevertheless, it influences the whole person. definitions and theories aside, i am trying to live with rigorous honesty, and the choices of frey or any other addict does not influence that. i enjoyed the book because it struck MANY nerves in my body. i related to much of what he wrote and said. i agree that lying is not a sign of recovery. i can look at my day yesterday and know that i was not always living as if i am in recovery... but today is a new day, and frey will go on from here just as i have. i can only hope that i am not crucified along side of this man.

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 10:32AM

Therapistme, try to focus a little less on the my and me and I and you'll make it just fine

Dennis MooreJan 12, 2006 at 10:34AM

I happen to have been through hell myself, and came out the other side with plenty of battle scars. I can relate to the experiences of finally hitting bottom, whether kicking and screaming or going quietly.
My wife read the book first and handed it to me. The first thing I noticed was the amazing detail someone that screwed up could remember. I told her ( non alcoholic/addict) it's impossible to be that fucked up and remember all the minute by minute details. Like myself, most of my friends in recovery might remember the first meeting, but maybe not, but not any detail.
Good book(s) though, and quite a feat for a real alcoholic, to recover by will power alone.

DawnJan 12, 2006 at 10:43AM

I don't care if this book is the biggest lie anyone has ever told. It is one of the best books I have ever read. If even just one of the things that Mr. Frey describes in his book happened to him then he is deserving of all the sympathy and applaude for getting clean he can get. He didn't force anyone to buy his book. Everyone who bought it, did so out of their own freewill. If you are adamant about not owning the book anymore how about instead of trying to get your $20 back you donate it to your local library? That way, it can be enjoyed by someone who may really need to hear his message of "Hold on".

saviorselfJan 12, 2006 at 10:46AM


Congrats on your sobriety.

Are all the people who have failed in your rehab proof of the failings of what we have for treatment now? My point is why are not more options available? Why do I hear repeatedly that only those who work the program will stay clean? What's wrong with searching for alternatives?

Regarding addiction being the following and therefor a disease


Perhaps spilting hairs here, could it be addiction is a condition? Think of all the American soldier junkies in Viet Nam. By all measures they were addicted. Upon returning %90 stopped. Without working the steps. All on thier own. I bet many of Frey's frat brothers drank and used in excess and are happy accountants with out any use issues now. Are all the ex-smokers out there in remision from an incurable disease?

Insurrance companies pay for many medical conditions which are not diseases.

If I go into a dr. with a problem, usually I get some options for treatment. I find it very odd that this doesn't happen with addiction. The current thinking is harmful to many. And not effective. Many people stop on their own and shut up about it. Many addicts are functioning and grow out of it and mature.

Addiction is currently treated in a bizzare evangalical fashion and many of the precepts are unquestioned. Even though current methods fail the majority. It is false to say anyone not following the program will relapse. Plumb not true.

OK, fine it's a disease. Why do I have to seek forgiveness for my sins? Do sins cause addiction? Why do I have to turn my life and my will over to god as I understand him? This works for other diseases? With such meager success rates why is there not more study or options? Why such blind devotion to a program with lousy results?

Peace out,

BuzzwaldJan 12, 2006 at 10:46AM

Dana responds to my point by saying that Frey's book cannot be used as a guidebook for recovery. I agree. But that's not what it is. It is a memoir. Others remonstrances cite TV and radio interviews in which Frey avows that the accounts in the book are true. Well, I don't care what Frey said in an interview. When I read a memoir I don't withhold judgement on it until I've seen the author testify on a talk show. We have to learn the separate the artist from the art.

Wilson PaulJan 12, 2006 at 10:51AM

I read the book and was astounded at some of his claims i.e. plane incident and jailstuff. But I was further convinced that he was a fraud when I heard his punk-ass, lisping recount of how tough he was....pretty pathetic...And Opran-oompah-whatever her name is still backs him. The publishers and the show as well. Why not? They stand to lose most by freys defrocking, both monetarily and credibility-wise. No surprise.
To say, but for a few lies, the book really helped a lot of people. Is like saying who cares if Michael Jqackson molested children, he made great music. A lie, is a lie is a lie.

shannonJan 12, 2006 at 10:51AM

I read A Million Little Pieces. While I am disappointed to find out that he made up much of the material, I think the book will do more help than harm. I am an alcoholic who did this without AA. I got a lot of inspiration from a book called Many Roads, One Journey. A much different book than James', but meaningful to me. If James' book speaks to addicts out there and helps them move toward recovery, great. I finished the book before I learned of the scandal. My reaction upon finishing was that I'd like my girls to read this when they leave for an example of how far it *could* go ... no matter the substance, using is a slippery slope, and we need to get this message out to young people in many different ways. James' book may be more appealing to a certain kind of addict. Bottom line, I believe it will help more people than hurt.

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 10:53AM

poo nugget...
perhaps i was just trying to prove a point. everyone's posts are completely centered in the 'my' and 'me' here. we don't need saviors telling us whether or not we wasted a few bucks on a book that we probably could have checked out from the library. you exist in your reality, just as i exist in mine.

i think the interesting aspect of the discussion surrounds alcoholism and addiction as a disease or not.

and honestly, we can really all only speak out of our own stories. it is interesting that poo nugget would encourage me to NOT talk in the 'my or the me' because anyone who has been through treatment knows that it is a defense mechanism to speak outside of the 'my' and 'me'. a healthy person shares his or her own reality, and doesn't assume that "he or she" can speak for the masses.

Ma;ry Anne SchneiderJan 12, 2006 at 11:00AM

As a recovering alcoholic with five years of continuous sobriety, I found James Frey's book genuine in his description of addiction and the hope he found in rehab. That paralells my own experience. Several observations: the first step in recovery from addiction, wherever it takes place, is honesty and the honesty begins with an alcohoic's "story," his ability to acknowledge and relate the cycle of addiction, to recognize it's power for destruction and to want to get out of the cycle. Contrary to the shock people have expressed over the graphic details of his addiction, those details are commonplace and similar to all addicts and alcoholics who reach the bottom of addiction; if you have ever listened to just several "stories" as they are told in speaker meetings, the disgusting facts of addiction are the same for all of us. Most of us do not need to embellish our stories as we realize we are "garden variety," not unique, never have done or felt anything that has not been felt by others who share the same pattern of addiction. Probably not good to lie on your fourth step in any way. Interestingly enough, James does not endorse twelve step programs of recovery, although while in treatment he certain follows the principles other addicts use to get well. To me it does not matter where he got recovery, but that he did. He does not like the idea of a Higher Power, again, that is fine. No one has ever told me what to believe in recovery, just that I might develop a belief in a way of life that is entirely different than the one I had drinking and using. To use the Tao and embrace the tenets within is one way of living a new, and non-addictive lifestyle. Finally, the "love" James found in treatment is also very common. To take the alcohol or drug out of an addict is to leave a hole that most of us try to fill with other things...he describes trying to fil lthe hole with food and like many in treatment (the reason for seperation of the sexes) looks toward attention, sex, love to fill that void. I sincerely believe that James does not lie about his continuous clean and sober time and there seems to be evidence that he has in fact built a new life that includes close family relations, a wife, a daughter and it is build on a chemcial free basis, however he ascribes it.

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 11:03AM

Was just an honest suggestion...not an attack...relax
I am not authority just another human being who has struggled with pain and found that focusing on things other than myself all the time opened my eyes....that's why you have treatment in groups and with other people....yes?

Concerned ReaderJan 12, 2006 at 11:07AM

James Frey's interview with Larry King last night was further testament to his self-centeredness. When one of the fans of his readership called (God help these people, you have to feel sorry for them.) and said that she just got out of recovery and wondered if James had any valuable advice for her? He answers with the folllowing, "My book is about drug addiction and I stand by my book". Gee James, thank you for the valuable advice. If you weren't so focused on all things James, you could maybe just offer a helping hand to someone.

The real joke here is most of the members of his readership are treating him as if he is some self help guru and it turns out that the the man truly has nothing for anyone. Not in person and barely in his book. The book itself offers the following adage for people struggling with difficulties, "Hold on, just hold on", he says. Gee thank you James! It's really as simple as that! What a real contribution to the human condition, your quotes will rank right up there with Aristotle's some day!

Further to that, if you go back to the first part of the interview. He treats most of Larry King's questions as if they could be used to implicate him. So how does he answer them? The same way he answer those who are in need of help, "Well Larry, my book is about drug addiction and I stand by it.". Just like a great american con artist, he pleads the fifth ammendment on every thing. Right down to when the waiter asks him what he would like to order for lunch today.

There were some indvidual's that posted messages here yesterday, stating that the book helped them. I am interested in hearing the why's and how's. Please chime in.

Concerned ReaderJan 12, 2006 at 11:20AM

Mike -

Kudos to what you said. You and I are asking some of the same questions. Lets see if some one can develop a descernable response.

RudyJan 12, 2006 at 11:27AM

You people are pathetic. James Frey wrote a gripping and truthful book about his battle with alcohol and drug addiction that has inspired millions of people to turn their live around. So he embellished his criminal record a little bit, big fucking deal. This book wasn't about him being in the mob or about him being a criminal so who gives a shit if he did not hit a cop. If people are upset about that than stop using this book as a bible and figure it out for yourself. Do you what you need to do and stop relying on other people. Get a life.

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 11:28AM

Go Rudy, Go! Get some....

KalebJan 12, 2006 at 11:30AM


Seriously people. Get a life. It's a god damned book.

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 11:32AM

Hey, if you liked "My Friend Leonard"...check out "My Friend Gepetto" by Pinocchio...hahhahahha....sorry couldn't resist

Concerned ReaderJan 12, 2006 at 11:38AM

Sorry Rudy. We will take descernable responses only. The grade school appproach of "get a life" and "you people are pathetic" won't float. Especially when it's coming from someone who thought that a cliche memoir was a great exercise in american story telling.

simplepersonJan 12, 2006 at 11:40AM

Forget James Fry and the book, which was, as several people have pointed out, a terrfic page turner. So was the DaVinci Code - that has also 'helped' some people by giving them something to believe in (they now know Opus Dei and the Priory of Zion are running the world). But it was labeled fiction from the start.

The bigger issue is does 'Truth' matter in America anymore? Whether it be from a publisher/marketing organization or an author or a TV star.

Everyone bemoans lying presidents - whether the current one or his predecessor - but somehow except it on a daily basis if it can be labelled as 'art' (or national defense) and we willingly feed the national consciousness that lying is OK.

We read the book in one sitting and were captivated by the story as many posting here were, and am glad to see the things that recovering addicts have to say about it.

But I wonder how many have considered the dangerous flip side of this argument that an at risk kid, an impressionable kid or anyone just getting exposure to potential addictive influences might come away from this book and the unheralded acclaim it has received - indeed as truth - that 'it is OK' and no matter how bad it gets you can easily turn it around. Oh, and you can have your breasts enlarged and don't have to exercise either because we can vaccum that out of you as recovery steps 13 and 14.

If anyone is not outraged by this issue (again not at Frey as he has the right to write anything he wishes) - the real issue being that the offical sanction of lying by the publisher (who should have as much fiduciary duty to its consumers to correctly label its goods as any other manufacturer) AND Oprah Winfrey for not checking her facts thoroughly (both who are in the public eye and whose sole purpose in this whole exercise is to make money either by direct promotion or through the advertising of her show) is OK needs to have a long, hard look at their own hypocrisy meter - and what it says about our culture as a whole.

If anyone does not see the fundamental 'wrong' of this issue and can separate lies (untrue things represented as true) at one level as OK - yet has an opinion on everyday issues in America that they believe (and bore their friends at cocktail parties and in blogs as I am doing now) invlove lies spouted daily to the public - whether they be from Presidents, orporations in response to charges of thievery and Environmental destruction, our school districts denying at risk and disabled children proper education, the lies that we cannot achieve health coverage for all our citizens or the simple deluge of consumer marketed claims we cannot escape from - and ARE outraged by those only have to look at themselves as to why these are occurring.

If lying is OK in this case - stop lying to yourself that it is not OK for anyone else .

Beerzie BoyJan 12, 2006 at 11:41AM

"So he embellished his criminal record a little bit, big fucking deal..."

Rudy, would you feel the same way if he repurposed your loved one's death to make his book more interesting?

Or do the ends justify the means?

SMJan 12, 2006 at 11:42AM

James Frey handled himself with class and dignity on Larry King Live -

I read his book and wasn't sure if I should feel cheated but after watching him last night I believe he is a stand-up guy who doesn't owe any of you motherfuckers a goddamn thing, myself included.

I think Oprah has made the final statement about this whole fiasco and any further discussion about the Smoking Gun article is a complete waste of time.

On a side note - Will someone put Larry King out of his misery already- or more accurately - out of ours...The guy is a complete moron and is clearly becoming increasingly senile. He obviously never read the book and the questions he asked were a complete joke. I actually felt sorry for Frey for having to suffer this idiot for a whole hour -

And what's the deal with that bumbling idiot Anderson Cooper? - could his dick be further up Larry King's ass last night?

These are the motherfuckers you should be lynching, not Frey.


SamfordJan 12, 2006 at 11:43AM

The ends justify the means

Tony BaggadonutsJan 12, 2006 at 11:44AM

Go Concerned Reader, go....hahahahaha

MatthewJan 12, 2006 at 11:45AM

I wrote on this:

There is an author in Minnesota who received attention for her "memoirs" because her family basically is calling her a liar.

What is fiction? What is a memoir? The problem with the woman in Minnesota and Mr. Frey is that they are damaging the entire genre of memoir.

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 11:48AM

SM, you call that class and dignity....hahahhahha.....I stand by my book...over and over and over....he didn't once directly address any of the (very few granted) real questions put to him....class and dignity my baggadonuts

tomJan 12, 2006 at 11:49AM

doesnt anybody get it...he didnt spend even 24 hours in jail...he didnt meet mobsters and judges in rehab there probably was no lilly...and he is not even an alcoholic or addict....he made it up...!!!
he was just an over privaliged rich kid,popular in school,on the shcool soocer team....who got caught driving after he had a few beers....

CindyJan 12, 2006 at 11:49AM

.....It's not abput him or anyone for that matter making money...... I couldn't wait to read his book & started the 2nd. My whole feeling has changed towards it. If it's NO big deal then why didn't he sell it as fiction? Probably because he knew it would sell better if he was dishonest & put it out there as a "biogrophy" Maybe if he had got into a program & got some recovery he would know about honesty & changing your old behaviors instead of doing it"his way" which I have yet to see work in "real life"! It's not like he strecthed the truth a bit...He TOTALLY made shit up!!! It's just wrong!!!!! I am just waiting to hear if there is any truth, actually hoping there is.

John BJan 12, 2006 at 11:50AM

False advertising is a form of fraud, regardless of the subject matter of the book. I guess the tagline, "Based on a True Story," which would have been perfectly legitimate, doesn't sell as well as straight non-fiction.

Beerzie BoyJan 12, 2006 at 11:52AM

So, Samford, given that I haven't yet heard a single substantive response to the query about how Frey's book has turned someone's life around, it's okay to repurpose other people's deaths if you make a shitload of money and get a movie deal?

andreaJan 12, 2006 at 11:52AM

I am amazed at how many people have comments to make about this book and the author with out ever reading it! I watched Larry King's interview last night and thought it was pathetic. One would think a professional person about to conduct an interview about controversy might have prepared by reading the book. Perhaps then his questions may have had some substance to them and maybe he could have got the title right of the second book. It is clear everyone is all to happy to jump on the bashing band wagon when someone of his background reaches such success. Media personal seem to be jumping in on the gross exageration and land of embellishment themselves saying the majority of the book is fabricated. The sooner people realize it is about capturing headlines and making money we will all be better off. I think it is amazing James Frey can even read let alone write, considering his early involvement with substance abuse. Most of his school years must be a blur. The overall message of the book is great and the fact that he is now leading a productive life should be good enough. I think the bigger scandal is professional people (media) braodcasting their biased judgement to the world when they can't even be bothered to read the book! How about a little balance sure ask the questions smoking gun raised but how about a little focus on his achievements.

Concerned ReaderJan 12, 2006 at 11:54AM

Yep SM.............

Larry King + James Frey = a dignififed, narcissistic, senile, lying, any thing for a dollar puppet show.

Tony BaggadonutsJan 12, 2006 at 11:58AM

Just a note on the whole James Frey was so messed up and his memory is screwed thing......He graduated from Denison in 4 years with a good hardcore crack addict pulls that get off it....I still think we should just leave the guy alone....and amen to the fact that Larry King didn't know his ass from chin last night...

Tony BaggaPooNuggetsJan 12, 2006 at 12:01PM

And who else thinks John Favreau should play him in any movie...perfect match! Hiiii Yooooooo

Craig S.Jan 12, 2006 at 12:07PM

I missed the Oprah show on James Frey but read the TSG article and subsequently saw him on Larry King last night. It's obvious Frey lied to sell his book and is now caught up in his own web of lies, which his future fortunes as a super successful writer depend upon. If you have the LK show on tape, watch Frey's eyes and body english when his mother comes on - as she heaps faith and praise upon him he looks like he wants to shrivel up and disappear. Throughout the program he does not act like a man who has been grossly mischaracterized, he acts like someone who has been caught in a multi-million dollar deceit.

The lies (or "embellishments") are not insignificant relative to "page count" (Frey's principal and rather weasly defense on the LK show), they are at the core of his purported journey. They render his story, in essence, fiction. Of course he first tried to sell the book(s) as fiction and was not succcessful. So he re-wrote them as "true story", and presto - mega success.

As an addict in his own self-styled recovery, Frey's lack of candor might pose a bit of a problem; as a spokesman or hero figure for addicts everywhere, his manipulations and machinations send a very poor message.

One wonders if Oprah would have have seized upon his book so passionately had she read it as fiction; I doubt it. Absent the Oprah seal of approval, one wonders if the book would have enjoyed the millions of sales it subsequently garnered. I doubt it as well. So Frey's meteoric rise, the millions in royalties, the movie deals, the national adulation - all of it depended upon his core deception, which extends further to his family and friends, to bringing his mother on national TV to proclaim his truth.

A fascinating detail of TSG report is the very threatening letter sent by Frey's high profile attorneys, who threaten to sue not just for damages to Frey but for copyright infringement on their priveleged communications should TSG make the threat public (which they then did by posting the letter on their site the day before Frey's appearnace on the King show). One wonders if Frey and his attorneys will now attempt to make good on their threat. Somehow, I doubt it, as any litigation would involve testimony and invite even more scrutiny of Frey's "embellishments".

Frey now wants us to look past his lies to the "larger truth" of his story. Here it is -- James Frey is an addict caught in the grip of his own lies, and no matter how much money he made or makes, that will not change. He gamed his publishers, his family and friends, Oprah and her audience, everyone who reads his book and accepts it as "true", and himself in the bargain.

Joey SouthmeatJan 12, 2006 at 12:08PM

Heart knows....we just read that book, it was called "A Million Little Pieces"...but thanks for writing another one

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 12:09PM

The lesson James Frey teaches is that addicts cannot be trusted no matter how far into "recovery" they are. Thanks James.

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 12:11PM

"He graduated from Denison in 4 years with a good hardcore crack addict pulls that get off it"

MANY an addict has graduated with high marks from Ivy League and higher.

And I still do not understand the assumption that EVERYTHING he wrote must be a lie. That is simply untrue, addict thinking in itself. EVERYTHING he wrote in the book is not a lie. EVERYTHING he wrote in the book is not true. Give me a break with the absolutes.

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 12:12PM

addict or non-addict... our job is to use DISCERNMENT when be injest any form of media.

Concerned ReaderJan 12, 2006 at 12:12PM

Andrea -

James may be able to read but he cannot "let alone" write. His book was turned down by a number of publishers. It wasnt until Random House/Anchor got the bright idea that, if it was somehow true, they could publish it as non-fiction.

Might I add, last night Larry King compared James's writing style to Hemingway's. It is one thing to allow one to have a voice but it is entirely another to match the writings of a great american literary artist up with the contrived drivel of a soothsayer that writes under the guise of non-fiction. Thank you for rewarding bad behavior at the expense of a long dead artist, Larry.

Joey SouthmeatJan 12, 2006 at 12:13PM

Don't doubt that he was an addict (nor that addicts can graduate from good universities, I did), just doubt to what degree...what's higher than Ivy League?

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 12:14PM

i suppose i was referring to higher degrees... sorry about the confusion.

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:15PM

Okay, a few things:

a) I'd take Anderson Cooper throwing a fit over the bullshit that went down in New Orleans over anything James Frey ever, ever said. Ever. Anderson Cooper at least TRIED to get to the truth. Larry King is a bumbling idiot, but don't be hasslin' on Anderson. The entire MSM is a joke at most points, but I think that guy has some semblance of a soul left.

b) I could give a flying FIG if James Frey looked tired. Lying keeps you up at night! You do the crime, you do the insomnia.

c) Literary debate is worthwhile. If your only contribution to the discussion is "Why are we talking about this? Get a life! You suck!" then I'd ask you, "Why are you commenting? Get a life! You suck!". If you don't like the debate, don't partake.

d) He did not embellish at points to make the story more resonant. He crafted a major lie that led to his next book!

e) If the whole story was true, why was he shopping it as a novel in the first place?

If you care ANYTHING about artistic integrity, this debate is incredibly important. If you don't like dissenting voices, then become a Republican.

Tony BaggadonutsJan 12, 2006 at 12:16PM

That's what I figured, just wanted to bust your chops a little :)

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:16PM

Hemingway would have kicked Frey's lily arse.

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 12:17PM

many of the addicts in my circles are some of the most "successful" individuals i have ever met. great grades, great degrees, great money, great ... i guess that the assumption that everything he wrote is a lie because he couldn't possibly have graduated with high marks from a good university is just faulty logic.

Dumb as bag-a-hammersJan 12, 2006 at 12:18PM

Meg, loved the dissenting voices thing...but not fair to pigeonhole, yes?Not all Republicans are socially conservative and not all are "super-patriots"-see Howard Zinn

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:20PM

Sorry? I got stuck on your log in name :P.

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 12:20PM

Very few people are speaking in absolutes. I am not and have not suggested that EVERYTHING is untrue. However, large portions of the book (more than 18 pages BTW) are based on things that didn't happen and James Frey and his defenders REFUSE to simply admit that and move on.

If I sold you a Rolex as real and you found out it was a fake, would you mind my embellishment or would you be okay with it because the watch gave you the time when you looked at it?

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 12:22PM

I never once said in any of my posts under any of my names that he was a total liar or that his entire book was a lie...I think we should cut the guy a break...I do take issue with people using a memoir, novel, or whatever as a guide to inspiration, yes, a anything by Poo Nugget, Tony Baggadonuts, Joey Southmeat, Dumb as bag-a-hammers or Tony BaggaPoonuggets...

Mary Anne SchneiderJan 12, 2006 at 12:23PM

I am a middle-aged, middle class mother of two who, at the age of 44, was a chronic, daily drinker who drove drunk every day for the last year of my active addiction. I had done many "responsible" things in my life, including holding jobs, performing them faithfully and well, raising children, coaching soccer, PTA, etc. etc. but, like many alcoholics who continue to drink I ultimately gave up everything I did and everyone I loved so I could drink. I understand, for myself, that I have a disease and do not ask you to agree or disagree with it, it is just what I understand. I got sober in a 12 step fellowship and continue to stay sober that way. I do not represent that fellowship, I just tell those who are suffering from addiction that it is the place that I go to and it is the place I got sober and continue to stay sober. Of course, the door is always open there and anyone who has just the desire to stop is invited to come and listen to our "stories" and see if they can identify and want to get sober. James Frey has told his story. I can tell you that after I was arrested and involuntarily placed in treatment, I tried my darndest to get out. I could see that if I did not stay, I would lose my husband, my home, my family etc and for the first time ever in my drinking life, I was literally seperated from booze and had a chance to see just how bad things were. I could, of course, left treatment any time I wanted to, as it is not jail. Like James, after just a short time in treatment I began to feel hope and I began to get support from the people around me, people I formerly looked down upon. I knew many "colorful" people in treatment, though not as colorful as those described in the book, and they were very meaningful to me in the first stages of recovery. In fact, I was very disappointed when I learned that some went out and used again after treatment...I thought naively that we would all meet up some day like a grand high school reunion, only a sobriety reunion. What I see in this story that James has written is a very truthful description of addiction and a very accurate portrayal of hope. I am openminded enough to believe that recovery does not just happen where I found most frequently happens there and I highly recommend going there and giving it a try. The man who brought the "message" initially to the co-founders of the 12 step fellowship stayed sober in the Oxford group. I'm sorry James isn't perfect, sorry I'm not perfect. In fact, being an alcoholic has freed me from needing to be perfect. The principles that I have learned where I go and try to understand and practice are, of course, very similar to the principles followed in many other places...people trying to live a good and purposeful life. So, if I look to the Tao, or the Koran, or the Bible, or a bumper sticker (which I do on some days) for my "message" that is all well and good for me. Today I know that I cannot put alcohol or drugs in my body or my ability to follow any type of useful life will be severely impaired, as for me to take one drink is to take many and end up drunk and passed out. I will climb in a car and drive, and do many other things that I would never consider doing when not using alcohol. Again, I point out that James describes his "confession" or fourth step very vividly in the book...I found it has been necessary for me in sobriety to use therapy and fourth step work to relieve my self of the guilt of the past and continue to live day by day as best I can. So enough out of me, but perhaps some of you people could come off your high horses, realize this is his story, which is essentially the only thing an alcoholic has to share with another alcoholic, and that recovery for me began when I could begin to identify with others' "stories" Do alcoholics and addicts "embellish?" Go go a couple of meetings and see what you think. Take what you need and leave the rest...

MikeJan 12, 2006 at 12:24PM

I had always argued the over the top events of AMLP. When TSG came out with their piece, things made lots more sense. Example: Frey claims that the only person in town that cared about him died in a train crash when he was 12, and that is why he got into drugs.... The girl actually died when he was 17. and according to witnesses they hardly knew each other.
In college he was your typical partier.
In rehab Leonard was a made up character. Lilly likewise was made up out of thin air.
These characters were central in the book. If they did not exist, then the story falls apart.
As a fictional story, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is much better...
Frey lied, and continued to lie on Larry King...

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 12:25PM

i guess i would deal with my own consequences. i might be angry, but i would not want to call you horrible names and discredit everything about you as a human being. perhaps i would chalk it up as education. perhaps i would hit a pillow and move on? perhaps i would realize that you must have had a reason to do what you did? perhaps i would wonder what that reason was. this is just my personality. you might find it hard to stomach, but it is kind of the way i roll with the punches in life. i don't play the victim role well because it is unproductive for me.

and quite a few people on here are talking in absolutes.

i am quite able to acknowlege that aspects of the book are a lie. i am moving on... to a larger discussion about why many people DO regress to absolutes when they are frustrated or angry or sad or ashamed. and why there is debate about the disease model of alcoholism, and assumptions that many of us tend to make about addicts, and the prejudices that drive us all.

BuzzwaldJan 12, 2006 at 12:25PM

Forgive me, but when your argument here begins with a reference to a Larry King interview instead of, say, something from Plato, your foundation is weak. To say that you have some insight based upon an author's body (sic) english [language] in a televised interview is also dubious. If you've read the book and aren't sure how you feel about it, reaching for the remote isn't the answer.

Joey SouthmeatJan 12, 2006 at 12:26PM

Meg, just having some fun and humor with my post compare him with Hemingway, Faulkner and Bukowski was absolutely ridiculous....I even liked the book, but at times, he was trying so hard to be "tough" and "cool" that it took away from the story....I think if he put a little more of his true self in it, it would've been even

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 12:32PM

Wow Buzzwald, you're super smart...I bow to your powerfull intellect...nice tone Socrates (SOO KRATES) hahhahahhaa

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:35PM

I honestly think he's a really terrible, contrived writer. And not much of a sparkling on air personality, either. He's rabid with cliches and full of his own significance and blank as to why anyone might take exception to his 'survival'. Not to mention that he wrote a crappy David Schwimmer vehicle in '98.

He's like every angry guy I ever took my degree with, saying the word "fuck" in his pieces to try for shock value.

If the truth isn't enough to make your memoir work, live a little longer and try writing it again.

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 12:37PM


But, however you would react to my "embellishment", it appears that you would acknowledge that you had been lied to, and deal with it from there.

TeniJan 12, 2006 at 12:37PM

It really does not matter if James Frey embellished some parts of his story. What is important is that the truth that he experienced is changing lives and helping people over addiction and substance abuse of anykind.
I wonder what all the ado is about.
As for me, I feel what Smokin Gun has done is highly irresponsible jornalism.
It's only in America that the wounded are killed.
Go figure.

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:39PM

If you're talking to me, Buzzwald, I think it's quite worthwhile to refer to Larry King if the author we're discussing appears there to deal with the allegations. What's your point?

What does Plato have to do with this discussion besides being a pretentious name-drop on your part?

T D EJan 12, 2006 at 12:40PM

"has inspired millions of people to turn their live around"

Oh really? Where are these millions of people, exactly, who have turned their life around?

Since it's publication in 2003 I haven't seen a significant drop in drunk driving accidents, drug overdoses, or drug prices.

Oh wait, is the expression "millions of people" just something that is *emotionally true* and not factually true?

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 12:40PM

i think i already mentioned that i realize that he lied in aspects of the book. as i have continuously said, i think there is a much greater conversation to be had.... i am addressing, much more completely, how an individual REACTS to another person's story, whether or not it is true.

Poo NuggetJan 12, 2006 at 12:42PM

Meg, in the end, he is just a human like you and I, just because he got a little famous from his book doesn't give us the right to tear him to pieces...I think he was extremely indirect in his interview and obviously avoided the "truth", but he's just a guy trying to live...he wrote a book that a lot of people read...I have never heard him say of himself that he was a great writer or that he should be acclaimed...put yourself in his shoes...he's taking the blame for everyone's own errors and beliefs...yes? He wasn't a dick or a tough guy last took balls for him to go on that awful show...he seemed beat up and as apologetic as he could be...I'm done beating on him...what concerns me is all of the "addicts" that are wailing because the guy stretched the truth in the interest of a good story...he wrote a story, not a self help guide....get it?

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:42PM

No journalism that uncovers truth is irresponsible. Get your head out of the sand and stop revering someone who lied to you to make buckets of cash. Many, many more addicts have helped THEMSELVES without James Frey's book. Reading Frey's book didn't hasten their recovery. Their own strength did.

You rob them of their dignity by putting him in the picture.

MegJan 12, 2006 at 12:43PM

Google Salon + James Frey. Read what he says about his writing and other writers. He's incredibly arrogant.

Concerned ReaderJan 12, 2006 at 12:45PM

Buzzwald -

If you were talking to me, my last post was referencing Larry King's show because last night he matched Frey's writings up to those of Hemingway. That is a literary comparison.

Excuse me for saying this, I have read "A Million Little Pieces" and believe me I would gladly trade it for a TV remote that would land me right smack in the middle of a set being given by the worst contestant on American Idol.

No one has compared him to Plato yet. With all the hype and mindless comentary from James's readership and the media, that may be next.

Tony BaggadonutsJan 12, 2006 at 12:47PM

Meg, I stand corrected....he sure did come across like an asshole there...sorry...good reference

Buzzwald UnderstudyJan 12, 2006 at 12:49PM

But I do have to agree with him that, although creative, Dave Eggars does suck!

tomJan 12, 2006 at 12:53PM

the whole book is most likely fiction...characters and all.....look at the mug shot on the smoking gun.. he doest look like any of the hard core addicts or alcoholics ive ever seen.....he looks pretty

CindyJan 12, 2006 at 1:13PM

Right on Tom!!!!!!!!!!

T D EJan 12, 2006 at 1:16PM

My sister killer herself because of a Frey's book. She was a heroin addict but was high functioning, had a job on Wall Street, the whole deal - so she read the book and thought that she didn't need to get help because she hadn't hit bottom like Frey had. She never woke up on a plane covered with vomit and urine and missing a tooth - if anything, she was sitting in first class sipping a glass a wine on her way to go heli-skiiing in Finland.

So she kept using. We tried to reason with her but she always said - hey at least I'm not wanted in 3 states like that guy who wrote the book was.

So to everyone who claims that "millions" of people have been helped by Frey, I ask you how many have been killed?

Note to the reader: Some of the details of the above have been changed. For instance, I don't have a sister. But the post is still *emotionally true* for me.

NatJan 12, 2006 at 1:19PM

This book was inspiring and gripping.
Is it really relevant whether the book was non-fiction or fiction?

People find anything to complain about.....

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 1:29PM


I apologize, you are correct that we were (or are) having two distinct conversations about two distinct, and legitimate, issues and I respect that.

My point of view is that of a non-addict's reaction to the deception that has surrounded the marketing of this piece of work (and this author). I will not question anyone's legitimate reaction to this book and how it may have helped them in their own life.

What has irked me is the author's reaction to those who question his repeated assertions that this book is an actual depiction of actual events. His reaction has generally been a string of expletives and now a threatening letter from his entertainment attorney.

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 1:29PM

Yes, Nat it is relevant. It may not be relevant to whether or not you liked the book, but there's no possible way for a reader, once their told it's non-fiction, to judge the story separate from the notion that all of this actually happened. To call it non-fiction is to give it a different kind of power and hold over the reader. You're not asked to suspend your disbelief. You're simply asked to believe.

Readers pay attention to genres and the rules of those genres. When pull a book off a history or biography shelf you have certain expectations. One of them is that the writer is adhering to the rules of the genre. If you buy fiction or poetry, there are reasonable expectations that come along with those books. If it's memoir, if it's being billed as totally true, down to the last detail, then yes you have expectations. These expectations are built on trust between the writer and the reader. Is their leeway between the writer and reader? Yes, but Frey abused it, went way over the line, and wrote a second book whose complete premise is a lie.

Please resond. Respond to the fact that the premise for My Friend Leonard is completely staged.

AnneJan 12, 2006 at 1:30PM

I wonder how many lives he really has saved by the "emotional truth" in his book. He completely rejected the 12 step program and decided his own self-prescribed path to salvation would involve placing himself in a crack house and ordering a gigantic drink at a bar to see if he could master his inner "fury". I wonder how many people will follow this plan and have very different results.

ToddJan 12, 2006 at 1:32PM

"The Message, Not the Details"???

Ridiculous. That's like justifying putting an innocent man in jail for murder, and when it's found out he was innocent, saying "That detail doesn't matter! All that matters it the message: Murder is bad!"

Real people get effected by "details". I shudder to think how many addicts read this book and got some comfort from it - and are now going to be sooo disappointed. It's not a stretch to say this book could be the cause of thousands of relapses and drug overdoses by readers who believed in it and now realize that someone they thought they could trust and believe in is a liar.

JackJan 12, 2006 at 1:32PM

"What has irked me is the author's reaction to those who question his repeated assertions that this book is an actual depiction of actual events. His reaction has generally been a string of expletives and now a threatening letter from his entertainment attorney. "

And not much else. That alone is making me wonder what the deal is with this guy. If he what he said was the truth, why not just go "Fine, you want proof, here it is..." and further substantiate it.

But he doesn't do that. Just excuses upon excuses.

Mary AnneJan 12, 2006 at 1:42PM

Gosh, I'm sure glad that James doesn' t look like" a hard core drug addict or alcoholic." We all know what THEY look like. Here's how one looks, 51 years old, blonde, slim, nice clothes etc. etc. etc. and hardly anyone in the community can "out" me as a "hard core alcoholic." In fact, I believed that I could not possibly be one because I looked so good. You should see the photos of me at the end of my drinking, looking soooo good...wore the same clothes every day for weeks at a time, since I was only going to the liqour store anyway, covered in bruises with broken ribs, severely underweight because I stopped eating since I only had room for drinking, sure, got the vomit and pee thing covered...Wake up, these are just the pics of addiction, not shocking, not limited to those who "look" hard core.
Got a story here in DC about a well known journalist mugged in a very nice neighborhood one evening about 9:30 p.m. It appears that the ambulance did not arrive on a high priority call very quickly nor did this fellow fare well in triage at a local hospital because he "appeared to be intoxicated" and not a nice gentleman who had been mugged. Was he treated differently because he "looked like a drunk?" Did the lack of a speedy response to the scene and neglect in triage lead to his death? Don't know, but for those on a higher moral ground who "know" what addicts and alcoholics look like, take a good look around. You might be sitting next to one and not even know it.

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 1:54PM

Go back and re-read James' depiction of what had happened right before that mugshot was taken. Then look at the mugshot. There is not even a hair out of place! That mugshot, and that police report, are the basis for My Friend Leonard and Lilly's tragic ending.

VickiJan 12, 2006 at 2:05PM

Everybody experiences a bad time in life. This itme could be bad, or this time could be horrible. James Frey is a brave and courageous man to of shared his horrible time with the world. Some parts are not 100 percent true, but who gives a fuck . Every book based on a true story contains a bit of embelishment. A book isn't a book without the author embelishing. James Frey is brave and I respect that. I'm not going to waste my time feeling dishonoured by the fact that he mighten of been involved in the train accident. That doesn't bother me one bit.
sincerly, Vicki

AneshaJan 12, 2006 at 2:06PM


I think you nailed it dead-on. The book's fundamental for existing, the root of the story--regardless of the page count dedicated to it--was fabricated. He had to develop the 'street cred' or the story wouldn't have worked.

The book's essential truth was a falsehood.

I'm not gonna buy a book on climbing Mt Everest written by joebaggadonuts (with all due respect, joe) unless he/she can establish his/her credibility first.

And I seriously doubt that those who read the book would have suffered through 400 pages of experimental but often monotonous writings if they knew it was 'for pretend' unless it was one of their own (children) writing it. Oh, teenage angst...

gil clarkJan 12, 2006 at 2:15PM

I was thinking about Bob Dylan. All the biographers disagree with his autobiography. but his viewpoint is still valid. I once read a critique about the Big Book of AA and the guy said what makes it great is not the adventures or car crashes or other incidences, it's about the inside deal that goes on with the alky. Frey describes that part very well. Having had many similiar adventures as Frey, I was skeptical of a few things when I was reading. I've been to rehab - how the hell do you keep track of twelve patients? James describes eight weeks in rehab, you think all the facts are going to be straight? The people complaining about truth and fiction are missing the point. But that's totally normal, people are always so uptight they completely miss the point. Good things always get attacked. I hope James shrugs this shit off and keeps on. Anyway, I loved My Friend Leonard. Read it. You will love Leonard and you will have more feeling for James.

Joey SouthmeatJan 12, 2006 at 2:18PM

That's Tony Baggadonuts, no offense taken :)

AneshaJan 12, 2006 at 2:23PM

To make my point worthy would it help if I told you that I was in rehab?


Okay, I confess. I was in rehab.

There. I said it.

And before I went in, I didn't like to be lied to.

And after I got out, I didn't like to be lied to.

But I just lied to you. I've never been in rehab. I only
said I was so you would buy into what I'm saying.


Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 2:24PM

If being uptight means that I reserve my love and feelings for people who actually exist, then I don't want to be loose.

AneshaJan 12, 2006 at 2:25PM

Sorry, Tony!

CarrieJan 12, 2006 at 2:26PM

A Million Little Pieces is a great read, regardless of fact or fiction.

Obviously, after reading the book, I don't see how it's possible that anyone could believe everything that happened-how could all of these things occur in one person's life? Is it plausable that an accredited rehab facility would let the author leave to go rescue his crack addict girlfriend at a whore house in Minneapolis and then return hours later with her in tow, accompanied by someone who WORKED at the facility? How about when he beat the priest in Paris halfway to death and no criminal charges ensued because the priest knew that he couldn't go to the police because he had tried to "molest" the author? Tell me, who would have more credit to the police, an established priest or someone who was drunk/high at the time of the incident and has a previous record of things like drunk driving?

I am sure that Frey met many interesting people in rehab. I am sure that many of them have been exaggerated profusely to the point of untruth. That said, I am also sure that this book was a fantastic read that was written in an incredibly powerful style. I recommend the book to people simply based on the style of writing- and really, that is why the book is successful. If this same story were written in any other way, it would have been much more obviously contrived and fictional. It is not necessarily the events in the book, but the way it has been written and the overall message that make AMLP a bestseller. While this book may be better suited for the fiction section of Barnes and Noble (and My Friend Leonard almost certainly is), it is still a captivating read that packs a powerful message: it is possible to overcome addiction.

For those who feel they have been fooled: If you actually believed that everything in the book was true, then you have a right to feel fooled- because you are a fool.

For others still complaining- shut up. The book was interesting, fact or fiction. Why aren't people putting more emphasis on the fact that the publisher may have placed this book in the wrong genre?

Basic fact: James Frey was an alcoholic who recovered. That is amazing in itself. Basic message of AMLP: Recovery is possible.

Basically, who cares what else there is?

AneshaJan 12, 2006 at 2:30PM

Sounds like you were fooled, huh Carrie?

It's all right. We're not here to judge you.

Just Hold On.

BuzzwaldJan 12, 2006 at 2:31PM


I wasn't refering to you.

Again, I don't care anything about Frey, the writer, the person. I'm interested only in the book. Full stop. Many of Frey's detractors (and I'm not necessarily a Frey defender) continue to cite interviews and Oprah and his personality and all manner of things. If the book -- the stuff between the two covers -- doesn't do it for you, that's fine. But please try to separate it from the guy who wrote it. Truman Capote, whose star has recently reascended, wrote In Cold Blood, which many believe signaled the birth of the non-fiction novel. The book is a classic. Capote, however, was a shamelessly self-aggrandizing media gadfly. No, In Cold Blood wasn't a Capote memoir, but the emotional response of the story's narrator, whom Capote created, was markedly different (let's say it was more "emotionally invested") from Capote's own response to the story, which seemed marked by indifference, especially after the book's popularity made Capote a media darling.

Sound familiar?

IOW, blame Frey. But don't blame his book.

johannahJan 12, 2006 at 2:33PM

does anyone one know of any other crackheads finishing college - not a fucking chance, this is a work of fiction from start to finish - its not a story of redemption in any way shape or form, its the story of a messed up guy who thinks hes a tough guy, its a story of a guy who wanted to wanted to incorporate a gang-rape scene in a book (that has no artistic merit). and one other thing - his mom on Larry King showed the medal she received for taken part in a 3 day family program, but in the book he says they left early - i thinks hes a cry baby - oh woe is me feel sorry for poor jimmy!

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 2:40PM


The fool is the man who, in the face of everything that you just said, whole heartedly maintains that the story is true and when questioned can only respond with expletives.

I only found out the story was fiction after my money was in James' pocket. The least he could do is dignify my "Bulls**t" (his word) with a response that doesn't insult 1.7 million people's intelligence.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. Oops, he doesn't follow steps. Well just hold on to your story then, James.

JillJan 12, 2006 at 2:46PM

The controversy that is surrounding James Frey and his memoir is ridiculous. It must be a slow week in journalism. The main focus of A Million Little Pieces is the author’s journey through rehabilitation. Where he started in his life and the steps he took in order to be the person he is today. He didn’t write a guide to recovery, he wrote his story of recovery. The Smoking Gun is “exposing” insignificant items in the book. Those items don’t change James’ story. It doesn’t matter if an incident occurred in 1993 or 1998; all that matters is, where James’ was at that point in his life. And that point in his life he was a Drug Addict and an Alcoholic. Can anyone remember every detail of a specific situation 10-15 years ago? I doubt it. I think there are more important issues in world other than the length of time James Frey spent in jail. I read on the Internet yesterday that the Publisher of A Million Little Pieces was offering refunds. That Publisher finally released a statement saying they were NOT offering a refund. Should I sue MSN for inconsistencies and exaggeration? More than half of what we read, see and hear is an exaggeration.

A Million Little Pieces has had a positive impact in thousands of people, whether they are drug addicts, doctors, alcoholics, or an average person. Why would someone/The Smoking Gun want to take that impact away from people? People read books for many different reasons. It could be a form of entertainment, education or discovery. I think James’ story is a story that needed to be told. He should be proud of it and stay strong through this absurd situation. I have read both A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. I loved both of them and look forward to his next book, he is a great writer. As James Frey said on Larry King Live yesterday, all but 10 pages of A Million Little Pieces are while he is in a treatment facility. Again, the focus of the book is his journey through his recovery. A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard are extraordinary books with a wonderful message. I think everyone should read them and they won’t regret it.

JaneJan 12, 2006 at 2:57PM

...I'm done with Sergio. He treats me like ragdoll

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 3:01PM

The ease with which people are manipulated is frightening and has implications far beyond this discussion.

carrieJan 12, 2006 at 3:07PM

Buzzwald- you couldn't have said it better. James Frey may be an egotistical jerk who is basking in all the glory of media attention, but in that case, doesn't that make it all the more amazing that he could have written a book with emotional depth?

The book is interesting and well-written- I think that most people who have read the book (even if they now believe or know it to be false) can at least acknowledge that. I personally believe that it was better than interesting and well-written... but who am I to say...

James Frey may, well, suck (to sum it up); but he has written a couple of good books (excellent, in my opinion) and weren't most people who read the book looking for a good read? So what's the problem?

He certainly is giving us some entertainment with his antics. So come on everyone, enjoy the show. James Frey may be a complete fool, but he is a fool with talent (if not for writing then at least for captivating the media's attention). And, in response to the claim that I have been fooled, that may well be true- I have been fooled by my own opinions, which is all I can ask for!

FrankJan 12, 2006 at 3:09PM

Mr Frey did not embellish..He made up A LOT of his exploits..That is not OK...Just like plagurizing is not OK...especially considering the subject matter...Only the truth will set him free...He's a fraud

JerryJan 12, 2006 at 3:11PM

Jack Straw from Wichita cut his buddy down...and dug for him a shallow grave and laid his body man gone and another to old buddy you're movin' much to slowwwwww..ohhhhh

MegJan 12, 2006 at 3:14PM

What is the message of his books, Jill?

Screw people over for years, lie about the details, sell millions of books, swear at people who question you, malign systems that have enabled others to recover, set up a major lie that leads to your next bestseller, and have women weep and defend your honour the world over?

That's success, baby!

Paul and ArtJan 12, 2006 at 3:17PM

"Cathy I'm lost" I said though I knew she was sleeping. "I'm empty and aching and I don't know why". Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike....

GaryJan 12, 2006 at 3:18PM

I've read the book and was entertained. Maybe some of the content isn't factual. Hell maybe none of it is. How long has been since you can believe everything you read anyway. Everything is either embellished, enhanced or otherwise inflated to make a buck. It is with a great deal of saddness that I say that this is "The American Way". Even Oprah will sensationalize to improve her ratings with all her endeavers. Rag magazines, which we all know are filled with nothing but the facts sell like hot cakes everyday. Why doesn't The Smoking Gun explore the validity of these publications. The answer is because this and other source material like this aren't high enough profile. If Frey hadn't gone on Oprah and his book wasn't a best seller you would be hearing anything from TSG. I suppose we should rely on The Smoking Gun to always surface the truth and protect us from such information. Trust me, TSG could care less how any of us are impacted by such issues. Don't kid yourselves - even TSG is in this for a buck.

Keep in mind that one of the most famous pictures in American History is of a hand full of soldiers raising a flag on Iwo Jima during World War II. These men were honored for this. A statue of this event was created and placed in our Nations Capital as a World War II memorial. Magazines, Television and other forms of media have used this image ever since - yet the whole thing was staged by a photographer. There was a smaller flag that was first placed earlier that day with much less fanfair. This doesn't bother me either however because I have seen this picture and have stood at the base of the memorial in Washington. I still feel proud.

Maybe if someone reads Frey's book or listens to him in an interview or lecture - just maybe they will avoid going down such a path or perhaps be comforted with the fact that there is hope that they can get there lives back together. If this only impacts a few positively - it will be worth all of you who have been offended or damaged in anyway.

BukowskiJan 12, 2006 at 3:19PM

the crunch

too much too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody.

laughter or


strangers with faces like
the backs of
thumb tacks

armies running through
streets of blood
waving winebottles
bayoneting and fucking

an old guy in a cheap room
with a photograph of M. Monroe.

there is a loneliness in this world so great
that you can see it in the slow movement of
the hands of a clock

people so tired
either by love or no love.

people just are not good to each other
one on one.

the rich are not good to the rich
the poor are not good to the poor.

we are afraid.

our educational system tells us
that we can all be
big-ass winners

it hasn't told us
about the gutters
or the suicides.

or the terror of one person
aching in one place

unspoken to

watering a plant.

people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.
people are not good to each other.

I suppose they never will be.
I don't ask them to be.

but sometimes I think about

the beads will swing
the clouds will cloud
and the killer will behead the child
like taking a bite out of an ice cream cone.

too much
too little

too fat
too thin
or nobody

more haters than lovers.

people are not good to each other.
perhaps if they were
our deaths would not be so sad.

meanwhile I look at young girls
flowers of chance.

there must be a way.

surely there must be a way that we have not yet
though of.

who put this brain inside of me?

it cries
it demands
it says that there is a chance.

it will not say

©1977, reprinted with permission of Black Sparrow Press

walterJan 12, 2006 at 3:21PM

The only people who think Frey's writing is good haven't read enough and are too easily impressed with gimmick and schtick.


tell us the names of some of your favorite books, the ones you think are well written, not just in plot or content, but in style. I want to know how low the bar is for you.

LinkJan 12, 2006 at 3:23PM

This guy was wanted in three states; not only survives jail (manhood intact) but also befriends a 300 lbs gorilla for a cellmate; defies the police when ordered out of his vehicle "come get me, you pig coppers!" and goes down the same guy on Larry King, looking to defend his 'street cred' brought along his MOM and looked like a scared deer caught in the crosshairs. Will the real James Frey please stand up? LOL

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 3:24PM


What you say is absolutely true, but the answer is not to sit back and take it. Questioning these things and trying to hold people accountable, even if it is in my own little world, is important to me.

But again, what you say is absolutely true.

therapistmeJan 12, 2006 at 3:31PM

i agree with dr. regarding the point of how easily people are manipulated. again, it goes back to my point of discernment and personal responsibility. each of us who puchaced the book did so out of our own free will. every time we act, there is a chance that we will be manipulated, hurt, injured, etc... that is the risk we take as human beings in relationship with other human beings. i think it is less of a tragedy that people feel "manipulated" by frey, than the fact that people don't realize that they are being "manipulated" everyday by cnn, fox, abc, nbc and the like.

LuluJan 12, 2006 at 3:34PM

I have not yet read the book myself...But i'm definitely going to. But hearing all this BullS*** about one book ..really is sad. if its a good book...ITS A GOOD BOOK..nothing will change that..NON-FICTION or FICTION..doesn't change how good a book is. Ppl need to stop looking at this book as some sort of way to bring down the writters..and instead we should congratulate them for a job well done. Now one question, If this book was really FICTION , would Frey get any recognition for it...??? lets hear ur answers..

peoplearestupidJan 12, 2006 at 3:42PM

the writters..., if it was fiction, which it is, was, is, it would never have been published. submitted to 17 different publishing houses, all of them rejected it as fiction. doubleday and nan talese rejected it and said they could publish it as memoir. this means that it wasn't, in the publisher's mind, good enough for them to publish as fiction, but if it was true, if it was memoir, they could sell it.

carrieJan 12, 2006 at 3:49PM

To most people posting messages on this website:

Don't you think that you are succumbing to everything that you are writing against? You are in fact giving James Frey the most attention that he has gotten, well, ever. All of this negative attention is attention nonetheless, and I have never seen or heard so much about a writer in my life. TSG may have exposed Frey's "nonfictional" work, but they have also given Frey and his book more media attention than he could have hoped for. So nice job TSG and everyone else, you have fueled the country's curiosity and will continue to do so as long as this controversy persists. Move the book to the fiction section, who cares, and let's all get on with life!

And as for my favorite books Walter, perhaps my bar is low, perhaps it isn't. Regarding that matter, to quote James Frey for the day:

"I won't dignify this bulls**t with a response".

CindyJan 12, 2006 at 3:57PM

The heart knows....."The train wreck" piece is: the only girl who befriended him was killed by a train, it is in the beginning of the 1st book & he" talks to her" while showering saying how much he misses her. There is No such thing as if you were never an addict....if you are an addict you are always an addict...the choice is to be a recovering addict or an active addict. You say "the fact that he made it out of that hell" Isn't that what we are talking about here?? How bad was his life...he never did jail time...according to him...he made a decision to stop using & it was that simple...he needed no help from any 12 step program...doesn't think addiction is a's a decision according to him...he had plenty of $ for doing nothing (according to the book) he spent most of his time in the bar drinking soda while his friends got drunk....Who the HELL does that?? He never did time in what hell did he come out of??? Many people have experimented w/drugs...especially at a young age..doesn't make you an addict.. I am in recovery & know that drugs controlled my life.. ihave never been able to stay clean on my own...I tried in the past..I no longer even want to do it on my own!

BillMJan 12, 2006 at 4:06PM

I agree that there should be more research done into finding other forms of treatment for addictio there are currently no other proven options. In effect the most logical choice is a twelve step program. Yet i do agree that if you can beat this monster on your own, go for it, i'm just saying that most people can't. Actually during the mid 19th century ther was a group of people who went by the name of the Washintonian that helped each other to stay sober and had a rather high succsess rat but they fell apart from the inside out after something 7-10 years. Hence the Twelve Tradions, "What keeps us here in spite of ourselves." As for the physically dependent people of the vietnam era that just stopped, Have you ever heard of a Pseudo-addict/alcoholic?

N.G.Jan 12, 2006 at 4:09PM

When I read AMLP, believing it to be a true story, I was completely taken in by Frey's tale. I must be gullible, for the only incident I really had trouble buying was the dentist story. As a nurse who is also a recovering alcoholic & addict I simply could not understand why anyone would deem it necessary to have dental work of any kind without anesthesia. It didn't make sense. Poetic license, I told myself. Not a big deal.
But it is a big deal, if Mr. Frey sold what is mostly a work of fiction, and called it autobiography. I watched him on Larry King Live and kept waiting for something real to come out of his mouth. It was awful when that woman called in and asked him about recovery only to have hiim answer I "stand by my book." He looked like a deer in headlights. It makes me doubt if he's even a recovering alcoholic.
I enjoyed both his books, and couldn't put them down, perhaps because I have experienced the despair of hitting bottom. I was fascinated that someone could eschew 12-step recovery and seemingly stay clean in such anarchist fashion. I rejoiced for him as I do for anyone who triumphs over addiction, even though I found his methods highly questionable.But who am I to judge how someone else stays clean?
I admit to feeling close to Mr. Frey, to holding him in high regard, as if I knew him, and had shared part of his life. Not so now. I feel slightly duped, disappointed. I wanted to believe, because it's a cool story.
The only thing that could salvage my respect for Mr. Frey would be to hear some Truth come from him, and I'm still waiting. I think he owes it to his readers. I'd rather hear an admission of guilt than more "embellishments."

Henry ChinaskiJan 12, 2006 at 4:11PM

No one loves the Buk? Sad, sad stuff...he was amazing

wabJan 12, 2006 at 4:12PM

One thing everyone seems to be missing is:

If his criminal past has been almost totally fabricated, what about his stories about rehab? How true are they? How true are the characters, situations or the stories? How true are the emotions?

Only Frey can tell, and, I won't take him at his word. From the stories of addict's reactions to the book, it seems that the emotions may be more truthful and merely embellished, instead of totally fabricated.

I don't mean this as a criticism of the writing, but of the author.

Matty P.Jan 12, 2006 at 4:22PM

You know Bukowski, Kerouac, Burroghs did this as well except they sold it as "fiction." And after seeing the Larry King interview last night it just re affirmed my initial instincts that this story is drivel. Frey was obviously uncomfortable as he tried to explain away his definition of a memoir. How Clintonesque of him to rebuttal with it depends what the meaning of a memoir is. Go into any bookstore anywhere and see where they place memoirs. It will most likey be in the Biography section. This pile of lies belongs more in fiction if in a bookstore at all. He and the publishers duped their audience into buying this book. You either have to be a good writer or have a bad life to write a good book. Frey is and had neither. Nothing more then a spoiled rich kid that got burnt out on his vices. Oprah, Doubleday,. and Frey are just trying to save their profits insetad of doing the right thing and fessing up that this was nothing but snake oil in a glossy cover.

MirandaJan 12, 2006 at 4:24PM

I am a recovering addict/alcoholic who has not read the book. A very good friend of mine, another recovering alcoholic, told me about this book on the eve of picking up her 1 year anniversary chip in Alcoholics Anonymous. She had been feeling pretty squirrelly after being sober for almost a year and turned to me as someone she could talk to. She expressed doubts about really being an alcoholic on the basis of this guy's book. Quote, "I never woke up on an airplane, covered in blood, with my teeth knocked out". We talked about how each individual's bottom is different and about the real and very true horror her life would likely return to if she picked up a drink. There is no doubt in my mind about what this girl has gone through due to alcoholism and addiction. She then decided to give another friend of ours the book to hold for the time being, stating, "I don't think I can handle such a heavy read right now". The guy she gave the book to told me that he'd read it and it was very anti 12 step programs. That's cool with me because I figure however you get clean and become a useful member of society is fine and dandy. However, AA and NA are what has worked for me and some people I care a great deal for. And when my friend told me the author had supposedly gotten clean by sheer will-power I knew that was something that had never, and would never, work for me long term. I was watching the news this morning when a scroll came by on the screen commenting on the controversy surrounding alleged fabrications of Frey's story. That's when I looked it up on the Internet and read the New York Times reportage about the author's lies. And they are lies, not literary embroidery. He does a great disservice to genuine alcoholics and addicts who are striving to get sober and maintain sobriety. The nature of addiction, whether viewed as disease or moral failing, is dishonesty. I do not believe he is in recovery having written a book riddled with lies about his purportedly real-life experiences. Anyone who has been to rehab or attended a few meetings has met and listened to people who feel the need to one-up everyone else with how bad it was for them. That's just ego bullshit. In How It Works from the book Alcoholics Anonymous it states that there are people who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. Without the capacity to be honest it is highly unlikely a true addict/alcoholic will get clean and stay clean. James Frey is an upper-class spoiled narcissist who enjoys attention he doesn't warrant. I met dozens of guys like that when I was in the game. Most of them weren't even addicts in my estimation. I saw them as confused and usually sociopathic personalities who thought they had problems. It is probably a flaw of mine that I don't have much sympathy for people like that. I was a crack addict and alcoholic who eventually became a junkie and I have truly lived the life. I don't appreciate someone like James Frey duping so many people with his false tales of addiction. I come from a lower-class background that was full of sexual, psychological and physical abuse. As well as substance abuse. My siblings and I did not have recourse to good educations and I've been in rehab 3 times and detox several times. These were state-run institutions in South Carolina and not some cushy country club rehab. I've been raped and beat up on the street; homeless or squatting in abandoned houses; I was a prostitute for years; I have hepatitis C from a dirty needle (thank God that's all); and the person I love most in the entire world is my daughter and she does not live with me as a direct result of my drinking and drugging. That being said someone like me is a true success story. I have been sober for 19 months now and I am learning how to take care of myself. I have a wonderful support network of sober friends, a caring sponsor, and my child is in my life. I am so grateful to AA and NA for what they have given me. As I see it a solution to the problem and a relationship with God. There is no reason to lie. We all have our baggage and there are ways to deal with it in this life. But to use lies to make a false image for yourself and a career based on that image is reprehensible. And the people who say his book can help even though it is fabricated are foolish at best. To use lies to shed light on the problem of drug addiction is ludicrous. I'm glad I didn't waste my time reading his book

mary anneJan 12, 2006 at 4:26PM

Anyone read "Memoirs of a Geisha' I have to admit, until I read the afterword that I thought the book was non-fiction, based on a woman's recounting of her life story to the author. So, I'm a little out of my league with the "genre" thing, but will state emphatically that I have heard hundreds of addicts and alcoholics tell their "stories" over the past seven years, some sober, some trying and will swear that his rendition of the cycle of addiction and the steps for getting sober and/or clean ring true.

J.RJan 12, 2006 at 4:35PM

Does it matter if the book is fiction or non-fiction, true or false? If it gives somebody entertainment, hope, pleasure, anything- then what is the big deal? Read the book, and take what you want from it and then leave the author/book alone. I don’t think the intent of the book was to change the world, he simply wrote his story.

Matty P.Jan 12, 2006 at 4:37PM

Marry Anne,

True, but the book you speak of is listed and shelfed as "fiction."

Funky Monkey ManJan 12, 2006 at 4:45PM

I just want bananas and to play in the trees and scratch myself all day long...who needs to argue for the sake or arguing....not I, not I the Funky Monkey Man

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 4:48PM

I have lived my entire live around drug users and the criminal element and nothing he says holds water.

When I was 17 and in high school me and my friends used to put windowpane LSD in our eyes and let it melt so it would hit us at once. Then some lines that make his ¼ ounce of cocaine possession look like he was carrying aspirin. We would go down the highway riding on the roof rack of one of our friend’s car and see who would make it to 80 Mph (as fast as the crap-tank would go), switch drivers on motorcycles’, and have sit-up contests over the edge of a twelve story building. When we were in that condition we were sociopaths. Frey played Soccer in college.

My father was put in prison for beating up a police officer one the front lawn when I was about 9 moths old. My mother divorced him. He spent most of his life in prison. He trafficked drugs, was loosely associated with the Irish mob in Boston, he went to prison for 9 years for killing one of his crew that pulled a gun on him and tried to steal from them (it would have been self defense except for my fathers record, and the fact he took possession of the gun), and he’s a heroine addict. When he’s high he can’t make popcorn in the microwave and this guy, Frey, graduates from Denison without even an incomplete class; horseshit.

I did every drug there was except crack until I reached twenty five and all that still affects me. It took five years for me to get my Associates degree because my thought process is so messed up from back then. All the friends I have that continue(d) that life style are in prison, live out a meager life, or dead, and James Fry thinks I’m going to believe he skips bail and flies to France; with what money! I have never known anyone that was in that condition that could afford to go out to eat, never mind a trip to Paris! Or, he got on an airliner soaked in blood, urine and, vomit covered clothing? A cab driver won’t let you get in his cab like that!

Real addicts have an 8 - 10 % chance of ever making it ten years through a rehab program. They return several times before they have some kind of epiphany. Then they usually trade the unhealthy addition for a healthy one (religion, exercise, etc...).

From the police report I read, I’ve come to this conclusion. Frey was in collage and using drugs like the majority of the college population. He probably had the stupid idea most users have to start selling drugs to pay for them. If someone is a moderate user they can get away with this, but most of the time the jackass will use more than he’s selling and get’s in trouble with the dealers supplying him. He get’s caught with a ¼ ounce of coke (this is actually a common amount because it’s broken up into 8-balls (1/8 of an ounce). The cops tell him he’s not under arrest several times but he still persists on helping them. Why? Because it gets him out of debt that’s why… He rats out the people he owes and they go away. You can watch this guy Frey’s life any night on reruns of the TV show Cops

I really can’t believe that because Oprah Winfrey fell for it, now this guy gets his 30 minutes, and a few million dollars.

James FreyJan 12, 2006 at 4:48PM

I stand by my book.

JosephJan 12, 2006 at 4:50PM

It matters a lot J.R...If the book had been sold as entertainment it would be different...Certain boundaries were crossed..Count your blessings that youv'e never been to the dark side...

Dr. Phil's right shoeJan 12, 2006 at 4:52PM

Oh my god dude....everyone with a whiney woe is me life story go're all just jealous that you didn't write the friggin sucks for a lot of us, get over it....

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 4:54PM

And your book is horseshit...

MonkeyManJan 12, 2006 at 4:58PM

Jim, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that wasn't really James was funny, but not him....don't be so gullible

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 4:59PM

I can't believe that people are trying to say that the 'whole book is a lie'... And what is the fact that you are basing this opinion on?!? Who the hell are you to say that James Frey is a liar?!? Do you know him personally? Do you know, firsthand, what went on in the rehab when James was there? Do you know that the 'crackhouse' that he claims to have found Lily in doe not, in fact, exist? Do you know that he pulled this so-called 'imaginary' place out of his ass???? Are you so omnipotent that you can factually state that James Frey did not spend more than a few hours in prison? Does ANYONE know that James Frey is, in fact, just a man out there lying about his past to make a quick buck??? I don't think so. And until someone can PROVE that he is the liar that you're claiming him to be,you should keep your opinions to yourselves and stop trying to push them off on the rest of the world.

The bottom line is that there are people who read the book and loved it and there are people who read it and thought it was bogus. It's a matter of opinion and that is IT. No one will EVER know whether James Frey is a liar or a man who had the courage to share some of the lowest points of his life with the world. No one will ever expose Jame Frey as a liar because only HE knows the truth.

linkJan 12, 2006 at 5:06PM

Well, a compelling page-turner is all the more compelling when it's marketed as being true. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been published or caught Oprah's attention, and he had no problem allowing everyone to assume this was HIS incredible story until TSG went looking for a mugshot for their Hall of Shame.
If he conquered his addictions, hooray for him. Write about it, see if it gets published. At least be honest. Just don't publish it under the guise of some gritty, true-life memoir. I think he just assumed he'd get away with it, or he could claim 'embellishment' for his chunks of complete fabrication.

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 5:06PM

Dr. Phil' shoe,

I'm not doing a woe-is-me. My life was crap and I just fell into it. I'm pointing out that if this guy was in the condition he says. He would not be capable of Graduating from Denison without a hitch, playing on the soccer team, flying off to Paris, and all the other exaggerated etc….

If you enjoyed the book, That's fine as long as you realized it's exaggerated to the point where it's almost fiction.

GaryJan 12, 2006 at 5:12PM

To Jim Haney;
Congratulations you when the contest for being more screwed up. You should write a book. Better yet - don't. I don't believe your smart enough to dupe the majority public as Jim Frey has.

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 5:13PM


I read the police reports, they don't match what he claims. So, i believe some of it is very true and other parts just made up to make him seem like he fought some intense battle in the underworld. He wanted to sell books I don't care.


I know, I just thought it was funny to reply.

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 5:18PM


It is a fact that James Frey lied about his involvement in the train accident episode. Get over it, he lied, and his discussions of it (and there were several) while he was in the rehab facility are BS. Does it matter to you? I don't know, and I don't care, but the lies are documented.

And I cannot figure out which people are saying the "whole book is a lie."

Judebird saysJan 12, 2006 at 5:18PM

I have to agree with Rudy...I read the book and loved it. One of the amazing things is I don't even remember much of how his criminal past was wasn't a crime solving mystery. I wasn't turning page after page wondering what his next prison story would be. I did not care! I connected with his thoughts and his beliefs on how he got into the position he was in. He did not blame anyone else for his problems or his decisions. I was impressed by the fact that he didn't look at addiction as a disease but rather a decision. But that was HIS view and no one else's. He has never said that everyone else should feel the same way. He has claimed all along that AA did not work for HIM...and that's all he can speak for. He mentions that several times actually.

And to whoever mentioned the Larry King interview, I watched it myself and one question I have is couldn't Larry have done his audience a favor and actually read the book before he started questioning the facts for everyone else? I mean come on...the questions he asked were ridiculous. Not only is it discussed in the book several times but Frey and his mother just mentioned he had a brother and Larry goes on to ask "Are you an only child?" It came across to me as a typical media stunt to get the first interview...he wasn't interested in the facts at all or he would have studied them first.

And the person who called in did not ask for valuable advice...they asked "how inspired should they be now after using the book as a tool". Frey clearly says that his book is about drug and alcohol addiction and he could not have written it if he hadn't been through it...and he's been sober for 13 years. There's her inspiration right there...I think he answered it just fine.

I really can't get over the fact that people can be so cruel to bash Frey the way they are. Shame on all of you for being so jealous of someone else's recovery and success. None of you have given much thought to the hundreds of lives he has affected in a positive way. Instead you are all standing behind the so called "investigators" from a website called "The Smoking Gun"...are you kidding me!

Why is it so easy for you all to claim the book is so embellished or that Frey is a fraud...yet you believe whole heartedly that "TSG" leads the way for journalist truthfulness?

If you're out there James...THANK YOU for your book! Thank you for putting yourself out there and allowing us to benefit from your journey. I can assure you there are millions of people who have and always will stand behind you and your book! I'm sure it's been a tough week for you but in the words of a great writer who kept me up all night as well..."Just Hang On!"

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 5:24PM

Jim Haney: So what you're telling me is that if I give you my real name, you can go and find police reports on me and that they'll all be FACTUAL! DEFINITELY NOT.

You're right though... and I have to agree. Maybe he did 'embellish' or WHATEVER, but no one can just 'dream up' a book like that without actually living as an addict. So to discredit him completely and call him a liar is just ignorant.

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 5:25PM


Read the comments posted on this site...

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 5:25PM


But I didn't write a book. My point wasn't to say I'm more screwd up. It was to say when you're screwd up (to the degree Frey cliams)you don't graduate from Denison on time, and play on the soccer team. Your breaking into cars and houses, mugging people, and hiding from the cops, not working with them

If you investigated my life and asked witnesses you would find all the data you wanted to collaborate it. Frey has magically made his all disappear. If anything I toned it down.

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 5:27PM


Your arrest reports are puplic records. Yes I could.

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 5:30PM


Not good enough, I've been here and people are writing over and over that large portions of the book are not true, not that the "whole book is a lie." (the quotation marks are yours)

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 5:30PM

"Why is it so easy for you all to claim the book is so embellished or that Frey is a fraud...yet you believe whole heartedly that "TSG" leads the way for journalist truthfulness?"... This statement couldn't be more true or more beautifully stated! Good job Judebird!

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 5:33PM

I also believe the parents of the REAL young lady that was killed. Do you believe that they are lying and now victimizing James.

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 5:40PM

Jim Haney,

My ARREST reports may be public, but my life as a whole is NOT. Therefore, to try to expose James Frey as a liar because a few police reports did not incriminate him in a few incidents is completely fucking BOGUS!! The bottom line is that the man wrote a book and he inspired people that are addicts as he was. I respect him for that. But no one else in the world needs to agree with me and that's fine... "to each is own".

As I said, the bottom line is that some people liked the book and others did not. It's a matter of opinion and that is IT.

linkJan 12, 2006 at 5:42PM

TSG had no axe to grind. They were just looking for a mugshot and were going on what HE claimed. He said he was arrested on numerous charges and the police documentation didn't support it. Thats what started it.
I guess the police are out to get him too, poor guy.

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 5:46PM


I do believe the parents of the girl that was killed. I also KNOW, as a 27 year old woman, that parents DO NOT always know what their kids are up to.

Dr.Jan 12, 2006 at 5:48PM

If you read through this thread, you see a definite pattern:

"James Frey didn't lie and you can't prove it."

"Yes he did, and here's the proof."

"Oh...well who cares if he lied I still think he's great."


Thanks for letting me express my point of view, now I gotta get out of this quagmire.

TimmayJan 12, 2006 at 5:50PM

What's the big deal...didn't everyone laugh when J. Peterman bought all those stories from Cosmo Kramer when he was writing his memoirs? Hilarious...

Oh wait that was a Seinfeld episode...Frey was writing the gritty afterschool special "Fear and loathing as One flew over the marathon man, Interrupted."

ChristineJan 12, 2006 at 5:56PM

Even if this book was marketed as a fiction book based on a true story, it is still a fabulously written book. I feel the same as some people in that finding out some of this stuff might not be completely true brings a sort of sting to my heart. But I also feel that even if not everything is completely true in this book, the root of the book is. He was in rehab, and the things he went through in rehab in regards to recovery (the most raw parts of the book) are probably not fabricated very much, and that's what matters to me, not the stories on the side.

If you haven't read his follow up book to A Million Little Pieces called My Friend Leonard, you need to go get it. It shows james in a different light and, in my opinion, there are parts of the book that are MUCH more gut wrenching than anything in AMLP. The book started with me in tears and ended with me in tears, and there are very few books that can evoke the kind of emotion that both of these books have gotten out of me.

So my overall opinion of the allegations that the stuff in AMLP is not true (and moreso in MFL) is that yes, some of it might be embellished, but we all know james frey is a writer!! he wouldn't be who he is if he didn't know how to make his words affect people. I personally would like him to start writing some fiction books (even if they're based on his life or someone he knows) so that i can buy them! his style of writing is something i relate to well and i don't care if some of his writing in both of these books is a little untrue.

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 5:56PM

Frey Fan,

As I said before:

"If you enjoyed the book, That's fine as long as you realized it's exaggerated to the point where it's almost fiction."

There are lies inth the stupid book! That's a fact! If it's loosly based on his life story I'll by that, there is too much horse crap to make me belive alot of it. If he lies about one thing he probably lied about more. Infact, i FRIGGING REMEMBER NOW HE STATES HIMSELF RIGHT IN THE f'N BOOK THAT HE'S A LIAR.

Now blow me...


you too. If I did write an F'n book, it would be a kids book that taught children to stay away from Gary cuase he'll touch you.

CameronJan 12, 2006 at 6:03PM

stop bashing people on a message board about a book, you look like an idiot.

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 6:07PM


Finally... Someone gets it.

Jim HaneyJan 12, 2006 at 6:16PM


If you look up a little you can see they sarted it first.

Maybe I like looking like an idiot. T

his whole trhead is about an idiot.

And if I wasn't so board waiting for a client to call I wouldn't post at all. However James Frey wrote a book based on his life story and heavily exaggerated it to make it sell. If I'm poping the bubble I don't care.

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 6:18PM


Here's an example of someone who said that the 'whole book is a lie'

"johannah says:
does anyone one know of any other crackheads finishing college - not a fucking chance, this is a work of fiction from start to finish "

It posted on this site...

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 6:20PM

FreyFan, Christine, take a deep breath and take notes:

Embellish: To add ornamental or fictitious details.

Lie: A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood; something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.

Example of embellishment: giving the cops mustaches and guts.
Example of lie: saying you hit one with a car when you never did.

There is no way to prove if James Frey lied about his experiences in rehab. Most of the characters, uh I mean people, are dead, and the records, I would imagine, are sealed. I would also imagine that anyone associated with the rehab center would never say anything regarding Frey, pro or con. All of this is fine with me, it doesn't bother me one bit. However, the aspects of his life that he claims to be true that are legitimately verifiable have proven false. With that in mind it's not unfair of us to question the veracity of the book as a whole. James Frey has discredited himself, not the Smoking Gun. It's his own fault, and it's a shame because I'm sure the spirit of the book is true.

But again, no one who supports this guy is stepping up to defend the ENTIRE PREMISE of My Friend Leonard. He never spent 87 days in jail. That's a proven fact, one Frey hasn't even refuted! How can anyone take the second book seriously?

FreyFanJan 12, 2006 at 6:24PM

Jim Haney,

First of all, throwing obsenities at me is completely fucking uncalled for and makes you look (as previously stated) like an idoiot (as does your spelling on your last post).

And what are you getting so bent out of shape for?? It's a BOOK for Christ's sake and people are entitled to have opinions... that's the beauty of this country! So if your opinion is that James Frey is a liar... Good for you! But there's truly NO NEED to push your opinion on other people...

Let them think what they want!!! I loved the book and I son't give a shit if it's true, made-up or all a fucking fantasy... It's a goddamn good read and I can't wait for him to publish another!

DinaJan 12, 2006 at 6:31PM

Although I read the book for it's entertainment value and not as a self help book I agree with J.R. AMLP is very well written and Frey should be commended for his amazing talents as a writer. Take from it what you may. So he embellished a bit, now people are saying he is not a recovering drug addict. C'mon people let's not be so cynical he exaggerated a bit to get his point accross. The book is based on HIS preception of HIS life at the time of being drugged out of HIS mind.

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 6:32PM

It's not an opinion that James Frey is a liar. It's a fact. Just keep holding your breath until your turn blue and maybe someone will let you out of your room.

JessJan 12, 2006 at 6:33PM

A memoir is someone's take on their life. Get off Frey's case. Maybe he did add a little extras to his book. But who is to say he didn't see things that way. The media never likes to see someone do well, I comend Frey for his journey through recovery and for writing such a compeling piece, whether some parts are embelished or not.

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 6:36PM


Please look at my post above. Read it slowly, absorb the definition of embellish, check it against your own dictionary, and see if it applies to Frey's characterization of his arrest in Granville. See how it sits with his false claim to have gone to jail for 87 days.

Again, I'm not disputing his rehab experience. I'm not disputing the way things looked or sounded or felt to him. The Smoking Gun piece doesn't either, they dispute the factual claims Frey makes, nothing else. It raises questions about the rest of the book, but they're generally unanswerable.

Another question: If Frey is such an amazing and talented writer, why didn't Talese buy it when it was submitted as fiction?

BuzzwaldJan 12, 2006 at 6:36PM

Frey didn't have to take an oath before submitting the book for publication. (I've read, but can't confirm, that he first tried and failed to get it published as fiction.) And although he has "sworn" several times on the talk show circuit that the account of his descent and recovery is true, none of those oaths are binding. (Sam Alito seems to be getting more benefit of the doubt than Frey.) Sure, Frey is blabbing to anyone who'll listen, but he's doing what all publishers wish their writers would do: he's marketing the product. He's selling. When Oprah came calling and handed him the brass ring on a silver platter, he did exactly what meg and poo nugget and any other self-absorbed onanist would do: he grabbed it.

There are likely hundreds of embellished and outright fabricated memoirs on the remainder shelves that weren't exposed as "frauds" only because they didn't get the...exposure. The authors of those books didn't get the exposure because they weren't lucky enough to get on TV, the literary arbiter of choice for those who think that refering to Plato in argument is "name-dropping." (Plato and me -- we go WAAY back.)

I've heard that Frey's book was the first non-fiction book to get the Oprah imprimatur. It now turns out that it was just another work of fiction. Which is OK for those who know that almost all non-fiction, especially memoir, contains its share of fictionalization. But for those readers who were looking for the the literary equivalent of reality TV, this seems like a betrayal. For those people, I suggest they vote with their pocketbooks and refuse to buy Frey's future books. IOW, vote him off the island.

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 6:40PM


Is it a little thing to say you went to jail for 87 days, when you really only spent maybe 6 hours there?

Is it just a little thing to then base an entire second memoir on those 87 days in jail?

Please, will some fan of this writer answer these questions? Or, are you guys just "standing by his book."

mary anneJan 12, 2006 at 6:42PM

"Our stories disclose in a GENERAL way what it used to be like, what happened and what it is like now." From 12 step literature. And so when I tell my story as an alcoholic, all I am an authority on is my story. The traditions of 12 step programs ask me to put "principles over personality, " which is the same as saying listen to the message without frying the messenger. "To thine own self be true," also a saying in the fellowships, and I believe that is what James has said. This is a "disease of feelings" and it is apparent that a great number of people can identify with the feelings presented in this piece of writing. One alcoholic telling another his story is the basis of recovery, sharing and not preaching etc. Can James Frey make anyone sober or anyone drunk? No, he can't and neither can I. It goes without saying that I do not have that power. If I am looking for an excuse to drink, then I can try to blame someone or something else, but the fact in my recovery is that today I have a choice about drinking or not drinking, on a daily basis, and that is something I did not have six years ago.
What about the steps? Well, the book is obviously again a powerful statement about the first step "We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable. James starts in the first paragraph with that statement of admission and goes on to tell a horrible story of unmanageability. Incidentally, what he describes happening on the plane could very well be true....I have heard many people share about boarding planes in blackouts and ending up in cities, situations etc. with no recollection of how they got there. Second step doesn't ask me to believe anything, just to believe THAT something outside of myself can help me do what I cannot do by myself, stop drinking. The third step is about will, it says I must exert my will (my ability to choose) in a different direction...stop believing in alcohol, start believing in sobriety and become willing to take the same actions other people have taken to get sober. Fourth step is about honesty and courage, making a "searching and fearless moral inventory" which is again detialed in the book, as well as the fifth step where we unburden ourselves to another human being. This is a powerful part of recovery for any addicted person, an attempt to do the timeless and proven formula others, including James, call "confession," so that the addict/alcoholic can put the past and the shame behind and begin living by different principles and supposedly better principles. Part of this process also is going back where harm has been caused to others and making amends. Again, I see that James, following whatever path ot recovery he follows, has rebuilt family relationships, become a member of society and has a great desire to spread his message of recovery. Is his message the only way? No, I don't think so. I got sober and stay sober in the place where most individuals who have problems related to drinking get sent, by the courts, the employer, the psychiatrist, the treatment centers etc. The principles I have embraced are present obviously again in other places, they are not unique to 12 step programs, I learned them there, while others learn them at home, in church, etc. Addiction is an ugly disease and as stated previously in this string, there is a very small rate of recovery over the long term. The message of the book is that recovery is possible, and "hanging on" again is the message we always give in phrases like "Tie a knot in the rope and hang on," "Don't give up five seconds before the miracle," Keep coming back, etc. In my case, the mental and physical pain of withdrawal made me believe that not drinking was a terrible thing...I had to hang on until that part passed and find that not drinking felt good, because I had forgotten that. And I have heard other "macho" tales from all kinds of people about braving it out at the dentist without's not for me but it is some people's idea of macho.

EmilyJan 12, 2006 at 6:51PM

i completly agree with Jess and I thought the book was amazing. Just be and get off his case XD

CarolJan 12, 2006 at 6:51PM

Where does it state that Frey did not do time for 87 days...proof proof proof

maewJan 12, 2006 at 6:52PM

Woo hoo Miranda!!

I too am a member of a 12 step program (NA) and I believe that this book will do alot to damage the reputation of the 12 step program........... the fact that he went on Oprah Winfrey and dissed it is really just too much....... I heard all that before I read the book and decided to read it anyway. It did not affect me the way it did others, possibly because I am an addict in recovery. I saw James Frey as extremely egotistical, close minded, what we like to call around here "A CEMENT HEAD". Honestly I don't know how he stayed clean and sober for the length of time that he did; perhaps the "white knuckle" approach was his recovery program.......

And I suppose you know that in theory, if addicts do not do anything to enhance their recovery, their thought processes never really change........ so it would not surprise me that he lied, I mean what dope fiend doesn't embellish their stories?? And if you say you don't well I call BS..........

I just find it laughable that if he did embellish a part of the story it was a part that people could find out about....... that is where the ego comes in I guess. Obviously he thinks he is above being found out and that even if people did find out why should they care.

Quite frankly I think I would be alot more impressed with his story if he had actually had some humility along the way and been willing to listen and be completely honest with people.

9 1/2 years cln and counting !!

ConernedJan 12, 2006 at 6:58PM

I read the book and felt that his whole story had a false bravado to it. In recovery circles this type of thing can be seen as a war story, which is a story an addict tells to glorify his drug use and the actions and consequences brought on by that drug use. Many of the incedents he he speaks of seem very improbable and he seems to go to great lengths to establish a kind of "street cred", or toughness that seems to have very little with recovering from addiction.

My biggest concern upon finishing this book was the impact it could have on people dealing with addiction problems. I imagined a young person in the beginning stages of treatment or recovery finding his claim that addiction is a weakness and can be handled with willpower alone to be very appealing because it eliminates a lot of the hard work that a twelve step program takes to maintain sobriety. His refusal to find a higher power and to work a program of recovery is something a person faced with the devestatingly difficult task of truly rebuilding thier life could find attractive.

The bottom line is addiction is a desease. This not an opinion but a medical fact. You can no more cure this desease with willpower then you can cure cancer with vitamins. My biggest fear for Mr. Frey is that if he really does have this desease he will eventually fall into a terrible relapse. I hope this does not happen but my experiance tells me it is very likely. Also, I hope people who have this desease realise that the cures lies in doing the tings that Mr. Frey refuses to accept. He is the prayers that I offer to my higher power as he, and anyone else who deals with addiction should be in all our prayers

MegJan 12, 2006 at 6:58PM

he did exactly what meg and poo nugget and any other self-absorbed onanist would do: he grabbed it.

Aren't you cute. I've never lied about myself or my experiences in my writing. And I am no Oprah fan, anyhow. She won't come calling because I don't ever plan to write a novel, but even if she did, I'm uncomfortable with the process and would feel quite comfortable politely saying no.

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 7:17PM


Did you read the Smoking Gun piece. If not here's the link to the actual Granville police report that supposedly put him in jail for 87-90 days:

From TSG:

rey was issued two traffic tickets, one for driving under the influence and another for driving without a license, and a separate misdemeanor criminal summons for having that open container of Pabst. He was directed to appear in Mayor's Court in 10 days. Frey was then released on $733 cash bond, according to the report, which was written at 4 AM on October 25. So, Frey's time in custody did not exceed five hours.
To review:
There was no patrolman struck with a car.
There was no urgent call for backup.
There was no rebuffed request to exit the car.
There was no "You want me out, then get me out."
There was no "fucking Pigs" taunt.
There were no swings at cops.
There was no billy club beatdown.
There was no kicking and screaming.
There was no mayhem.
There was no attempted riot inciting.
There were no 30 witnesses.
There was no .29 blood alcohol test.
There was no crack.
There was no Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Assaulting an Officer of the Law, Felony DUI, Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest, Driving Without Insurance, Attempted Incitement of a Riot, Possession of a Narcotic with Intent to Distribute, or Felony Mayhem.

Frey's fabrications have carried through to his purported Ohio jail time. He has repeated this fiction in numerous interviews and in a recent "Life After Rehab" essay he penned for Winfrey's web site. The essay, the site notes, is "as open and honest as his book." Recounting his three-month imprisonment after departing Hazelden, Frey writes that he would only be allowed to call girlfriend Lilly for 10 minutes a day and how, "soon as I walked out of the jail," he drove six hours to Chicago to reunite with her. After Lilly's suicide, though, he was crushed and facing a bleak future: "I didn't have a job or the type of CV, jail rehab jail jail jail, that would get me a job."

When TSG challenged Frey on his claim to have spent 90 days in the Licking County jail, he laughed and said, "Again, I got to make sure this is all off the record. 'Cause I don't want to read an article in a magazine next week." He then admitted, "I was in for a significantly shorter period of time than three months." We then asked if his detention in connection with the Ohio incident could have actually been limited to time in custody prior to making bail (though we would later learn that he spent no more than five hours at the Granville police headquarters, we estimated such pre-bail detention at a day or two). He replied, "Yeah, that's something more to the line of what we're talking about."

BillMJan 12, 2006 at 7:18PM

Right on Concerned. Try to tell saviorself that stuf though.

James FreyJan 12, 2006 at 7:30PM

Listen everyone. I am a "liar", but that depends on the definition of what "a" is. So what if I bent the facts a little. I mean I was thinking of calling the cops pigs and coming out swinging., and who says that PBR is not like crack? Have you vere tried to drink that stuff warm? And I mean is it really that big a deal if I discussed a real life person in a tragic accident and cheapned her life and death by saying that I knew her and had a part in her demise? And all biographies have a little cpoetic license to them. Like Nelson mandela really stayed in jail that long in a Long Walk to Freedom. I heard the walk outside of the prison was only like 150 ft from his cell, that doesn't seem like along walk to me. All I am saying is that of the 430 plus pages, only 18 are disputed by TSG, I mean who cares if the other 412 were based on ficticious or embellished evnts? Certaintly not I. And in conclusion, I stand by my book.

p.s. Everyone please read my "memoir" "My Friend Leonard


All material above maybe "embellished" for dramatic effect. The author's name, places, events, time, dates, colors, punctuation, theme, characters, pet's names, car makes, and cereal brands may have been changed or completley imagined to protect the truth from ever really being known

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 7:36PM

You're right, James. My bad.

TerryJan 12, 2006 at 7:40PM

I picked up A Million Little Pieces because I am a writer and a recovering addict and alcoholic who has done the rehab thing and the jail thing and I've seen the disease, death and destruction that addiction can bring first-hand. I decided to suspend disbelief - and there was plenty - early on because I consider memoirs these days to be neither fiction nor nonfiction but another class entirely: creative nonfiction. However, that is not what Frey and his publisher calls his book. He calls it nonfiction. That is a problem. As an addict, I know that one of the first symptoms of the disease - and among the most insidious and the first to come back before relapse - is dishonesty.

Fiction or not, what kept me reading the book even after my BS-detector kept going off was what I saw as the central suspense plot. As I see it, the central plot is not whether he is going to stay sober (he did write the book after all), but whether he recognizes that maybe he doesn't have all the answers and goes along with the 12-step program, a big part of which involves recognizing the need for help from a power greater than himself. Alas, in the end we discover that he relies on his own willpower to keep him sober - in essence he himself is the higher power, thank you very much. In so doing, he questions the basic tenets of AA and NA and other 12-step programs that have saved millions of little lives (including my own), which do not require you to accept anyone's God, but merely that you recognize you need help from something besides yourself, dude. (Hello?) Which begs the question, how much of this is B.S.? What else is untrue, and why is he writing this book? You can be an atheist and be in AA, but methinks the lady doth protest too much. Does he have a problem with me having faith?

In my experience, pride and hubris and grandiosity may keep you sober a little while, but in the end, they will bring you down. I'll wait for the epitaph on this one.

KristinJan 12, 2006 at 7:44PM

I dont care what anybody says, but either way Frey was still brave and strong for recovering from the vicious addiction he had. I dont care what anybody says until they have stepped into his shoes. Even if he still fabricated a little bit of it he still does not deserve to be smashed. He is a hero in himself.

ARIALJan 12, 2006 at 7:46PM


AliciaJan 12, 2006 at 7:49PM

Mr. Frey has outdistanced his story, and that is the shame. The curious thing for me is that his book has come under this level of scrutiny in the first place. Why is this? Because he's a literary genius and They are out to get him? Not likely. Was it about Oprah?

And what about those Memoirs to come? I can assure you that my manuscript will be poured over with a fine tooth truth comb. Was it or was it not raining that night? What if my memory is flawed? Oh, lordie. As to out-and-out fabrications? As someone posted here, that makes him a liar. Does it make him a bad writer or invalidate the story's meaning? That one is a personal opinion.

The larger argument about the categorization of "memoir" is more compelling. One remedy might be a new category of literature: Semi-Fiction. Works for me.

One positive result might be that Smoking Gun Dot Com will pledge itself to scrutinize each all published work - memoirs and fiction, cookbooks and Dr. Phil instructionals, and award some sorta Seal Of Approval. Whatcha think? Frankly, I'd like to see them go after other and bigger liars, crooks and scoundrels, the more insidious and wide-ranging frauds.

As the author himself pointed out more than once in a live interview last evening, this is the price he pays for the price he got paid. And then, he smiles all the way to the bank while Smoking Gun bumps up its media exposure. Warners will make the movie, which will further muddy the waters of fact, and everyone goes home disillusioned with the illusion.

my friend jimmyJan 12, 2006 at 7:49PM

i smoked crack with jimmy frey many times.

dJan 12, 2006 at 7:50PM


You, Oprah and everyone else vehemently defending Frey, while simultaneously closing your eyes, are enablers. Classic enablers.

ConcernedJan 12, 2006 at 7:53PM

I am sure you, like me, have met many people like saviorself and Mr. Frey in our journey. Saviorself wrote that the things like we do in our programs is not how other deseases are treated, which is true. Just like A.L.S. is not treated with chemo therapy or bi-polar syndrome is not treated with insulin.

My job is to offer my assistance to those who are in need of the same assistance I once needed. Anyone who is not open to the ideas and stratgies that allowed me to enter into my recovery
will hopefully finally hear what they need to hear before it is too late.

In the end I am content knowing that my intentions are good in trying to spread the 12 step philosiphy and if Saviorself can say the same thing for spreading his beliefs then I can not judge him. That will be up to his higher power. Wheather he believes it or not he does have one and I only pray he finds it.

RECoVErINGAlCoHolICRoCkStArJan 12, 2006 at 8:14PM

I strongly agree with Kristen don't smash the guy. He deserves to be

be recognized for what hes been through and the great job of what

hes done of telling it. I'm recovering myself and I know how hard it is
and im about to be turning 23 myself. And, believe me when your that fuc*ed up even though i have blacked out many many times i still remember the most odd and painful things even though they might be slightly fabricated but as long as people like me and him remember it, THAT IS HOW IT WENT, 80% of the time 100% of the time, haha. so e-mail me if you do or dont agree.ThAnK YoU.

jenniferJan 12, 2006 at 8:16PM

Being an addict struggling with rehabilitation and recovery for many years, I was thrilled to read a book written by an addict about his experience from hell and his triumph over it. If he could do it with all he had been through, then I certainly should be able to as well. Yes I feel betrayed! I admit I questioned his veracity in telling his story but Oprah backed it so I believed it.
Oprah today stated that if it inspired you then thats all that mattered. But he hadn't been through what he said he had, and he isn't who he said he was and who knows if he even was an addict. Inspiation lost!

SabeenJan 12, 2006 at 8:25PM

I included this book in my best of 2005 list on my blog. I read this book because (a) it was recommended by Oprah Book Club (b) I was told that it is a non-fiction, a memoir, true story of a real person.

I don't want my money back. I am confused, what to do with the two posts I have written about this book on my blog. As a work of fiction it is nomore in my favorite books and I find it difficult to look at this book again as a non-fiction, autobiographical events that happened in some real person's life.

AndrewJan 12, 2006 at 8:44PM

Some of the comments here seem to be arguing the following: "So what if it is fiction or partially untrue, I still found it inspiring." Fine, but no one here is arguing that fiction cannot inspire. I have read hundreds of fictional books that I found deeply inspiring, even helpful. That I took parts of what were fictional storieds and found them useful is NOT the point.

The point here is that Mr. Frey put his book out as true, a real account. It seems as if there is good reason to call his treatment of "non-fiction" in to question. And by the by, to those who have stated something along the lines of, "Well, so what if he added to and distorted his criminal record, the addiction part is still what helped," I wonder if anyone has considered the very real possibility that if he lied about one part he may have in fact lied about a number of others. I mean if the paper trail information proves that he lied then what are we to make of those episodes for which no paper trail exists? How do we know that the rest of the book is true? Because he says so? Yikes, I wouldn't take those odds.

If we all got to live like James Frey then life would be very interesting. I could order a piece of equipment at my job for $15,000.00 because my employees REALLY need it. I could tell my boss it was five grand and he would probably be happy. But if it arrived and was really twenty grand I doubt that Freyic logic would save my job. I would have fun trying something like, "Well, listen Mr. CFO, I know that I said it was fifteen grand but my staff REALLY needed it. And yeah, it was really twenty, but my staff is happy, they got something out of it and isn't that REALLY the point, that they found it helpful and useful?

He would say no and he would be right to say no. He would think I had lied to him EVEN if my intent was found to be good. The ends would not justify the means.

That so many people can stand by Frey with nothing more than, "well, so what, it was still a good story" is really somewhat troubling in that the story is really not the issue. It is the validity that he claimed the story held and the reality that it did not that is the point.

Justifications are another wonderful tool of the addict/alkie mindset and Frat Boy James is justifying to save his career, his movie deal, his income and I imagine at some point his own ability to look in the mirror.


CarolJan 12, 2006 at 8:46PM

We cannot just accept lies being marketed as truth, just because it has a positive effect on some people. The ends do not justify the means in this case. We classify books as fiction and non fiction for a reason, not just eeny meeny miny mo. How the book is classified forms the basis of our reaction to the story. If we completely blurr the lines between fiction and non fiction, everything will be regarded as fiction because no one will have credability any more. That could definitely harm any legiitmate writers and the people that THEY might potentially help.

If someone broke into my house and stole a large sum of money, I wouldn't be happy that they got rich off me just because they also gave some of it to charity. The act of robbery would still be wrong. (Maybe not the best analogy, but hopefully you get my meaning.)

If a journalist published a false story and passed it off as true, no matter how pure their intentions, they would immediately lose their job.

Bad enough that it was marketed under false pretenses, but as soon as Oprah came calling, that should have been the time for James to humbly decline. Oprah has a huge following and to stand there and lie to the public face to face, was definitely adding insult to injury.

If a real addict wrote a TRUE account of how this novel helped them towards recovery, I would be interested in reading that, and it would probably be a more legitimate way reaching others.

AmandaJan 12, 2006 at 8:56PM

I am a big fan of A Million Little Pieces. After I read it I recommended it to all of my friends and my husband because of the capptivating, truly moving story of addiction/rehabilitation. It had nothing to do with the crminal past that James has or claims to have. I don't think that the message of the book is lost just because of the current alligations against James. The only reason the book is being questioned is because of James' tremendos success (some people just can't stand to see others succeed).

TimmayJan 12, 2006 at 9:00PM

So let me get this straight:

Sob story about loss and redemption made up or "embellished"
Strange grammar and punctuation/capitalization in document
Illusion of hope to those in need
Financial gain based on selling story to gullible people.

Does anyone know if this book was written in an internet cafe in Lagos, Nigeria?

Bronwyn BlackJan 12, 2006 at 9:08PM

I'm sorry that James Frey chose to lie in some of his memoir, itdeeply detracts from the impact of the story. And it seems to me, from the responses I've read here, that the "story" is a true one, his gruesome horrific battle with his "Need, Need, Need." If THAT part is true, ifh he did truly manage to face down that monster and on his own terms, then the inspiraation still stands, it still works for me. No matter how he got there, he did meet and deal with the heart of darkness. I only wish he'd been more truthful in his reporting. For now, because of his lies, the more important message will be probably thrown out like the baby with the bathwater.

katieJan 12, 2006 at 9:22PM

there are way too many posts to read and find out what everyone else is feeling, but from what i HAVE read, i respond like this. i bought this book just by reading the back cover. and i absolutely loved it. i'm sure that no one investigated girl, interrupted to make sure it was factual and every single part of it was true. people cannot exactly remember everything and i think that this book should connect you with the character of james and not james frey the author. i liken million to girl and wonder if every memoir, non-fiction novel should be investigated for authenticity? i think it is an inspiring book and should be taken as the davinci code. based on fact but embellished. just like every book should be taken with a grain of salt, fiction or not.

AbbyJan 12, 2006 at 9:27PM

I have personally been in ReHab. In "my" Rehab if you walked out the door that was the end of your program. Also----Plaaaaeeeese--I find it incredible that "Staff" was waiting patiently outside of a "Crack House" while Mr. Frey so galantly walked in to retrieve his uh uh very insignificant other.

After having the read the book, I felt like--yeah right. Now the new "developments" have simply confirmed by initial belief.

This is a Serious Subject Topic. Those of us who have been through a "REAL LIFE" REHAB experience don't appreciate Mr. Frey cashing in $$$$ based on lies. Mr. Frey----YOU STINK.

RickJan 12, 2006 at 9:42PM

Well, I wouldn't have bought this book (excuse me, "Book" - gotta remember the Extra Capital Letters) in the first place, so I'm more offended by some folks' pathetic, lukewarm defense of his scam. Reading the Smoking Gun article and some of the block quotes of Frey's prose, I can't believe that anybody with a grain of drug/recovery experience could swallow two words from this blowhard without calling bullshit. Come on!

I'm an ex-heroin addict and 12-step alumnus who's been clean for 15 years, but even if you'd never dealt with the criminal justice system beyond watching a few episodes of COPS or a couple of Showtime dramas, you'd still have to recognize that real life doesn't work like this. Life is not magical melodrama and cartoon dialogue, no matter how desperately you want to be seen as a badass.

This fellow's review nailed it: here . Pay close attention to the characters who populate Frey's rehab. Comedy gold.

For the people who think that intellectual fraud is okay as long as it makes the victim feel important, let me reiterate that this idiot has been on radio, TV & Web, endlessly insisting that "it's all true, man... I lived it, dude." This was before anyone did the hard research. Now that his literary life is proven not based on faulty memory, but simply made-up lies, all the suckers are coming out of the woodwork to point fingers at everyone except for the swaggering conman himself. It's an old story - nobody wants to admit they were duped.

RickJan 12, 2006 at 9:44PM

I guess the HTML didn't take. Here's the review:

fleurineJan 12, 2006 at 10:22PM

No wonder he didn't like the twelve steps, they involve humility and honesty.

mollyJan 12, 2006 at 10:22PM

I have not yet read the book. That it generates this much discussion has to be a good thing. I agree with those that said that AA is not the only source of recovery for addiction/alcoholism. In fact, I have a problem with the accepted wisdom that it is - and stimatizing those who are sober, clean and happy as somehow 'wrong' or 'lying' if they are not associated with a 12 step program. There is no one 'magic bullet', and that goes for AA, as well.

Addicts find their own version of hell, and some face themselves and grow up. Others don't. I was one of the 'relapsers' in AA for years, until I was simply disgusted enough with myself. I have now been sober for years, without AA. What was it? The AA phrase comes to mind, "Being sick and tired of being sick and tired." With or without a 12 step program. My spouse also has many years sober, without a 12 step program. It does happen, but you don't see it in the rooms of AA.

As to exaggerations or untruths - sounds like a typical AA 'drunkalogue', to me.

donnieJan 12, 2006 at 10:39PM

To the people who keep saying that Frey embellished, or couldn't possibly remember every little detail, please remember that what's being scrutinized is not a conversation between two people, but a book, a book that took probably over a year to write, a year to edit, 6 months to launch, etc.

There's no leeway here. The Smoking Gun piece is not splitting hairs on small details. They've caught the guy red-handed. The denial exhibited in this thread is astounding. No wonder we have idiots in the White House.

suaveJan 12, 2006 at 10:45PM

I'm pissed I just spent 40 minutes skimming through these posts. Should have been doing something more productive.

I challenge any of these most spectacular of skeptics to spend a few days in my life and walk away thinking life isn't stranger than fiction. Certainly, almost everyone knew there was some embellishment from the description on the plane, and the detail about what he ate everyday had to be created.

Those of you who went on and on and on about how it wasn't what you were around or went through - think about how many people there are on the planet and realize if it's something different that your experience it doesn't mean it wasn't his.

And for those special, bitter people who took this so seriously and had such great literary suggestions and criticism, please post your most recently published title so I can pop over to Amazon and have it shipped next day.

There have been far more devious people made famous for far more money and a longer period and time. And with much worse consequences. Just look at government leaders around the world... or probably right where you live.

SatineJan 12, 2006 at 10:48PM

Totally. No dentist would ever perform a procedure like the one he describes without anesthesia, no airline would ever board a passenger covered in blood and vomit. They did catch him red handed. And though he may be telling a typical BS drunkalogue type story, that has nothing to do with AA.

Classic EnablerJan 12, 2006 at 11:02PM

Do those of you who feel betrayed by Frey read non-fiction only? If so, do you gravitate to non-fiction because you need the stories you read to be true? If not, what do you do with your suspension of disbelief when you're reading a memoir or other remembered work? Do you read memoirs and novels differently, even if the memoir is written in a novelistic style? If the killing of Lenny in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men moved you to tears (substitute any novel that moved you deeply), how do explain your response, given that you know the story to be a fiction? If Frey's story moved you, perhaps even made you cry, made you examine your life in a new light, what is it that so thoroughly flattened that response and turned it into anger when you learned that Frey's work was in part a work of the imagination?

Here is what puzzles me. Some of you were so moved by Frey's story that you wept -- wept like you did when ET was on the respirator, like you did when Bambi's mother bought it -- and now, because the guy who wrote it didn't actually live every second of it, that emotion/feeling/inspiration is extinguished -- extinguished like ET's orangey heartlight.

I just don't get it. Why is it so important to you that there is a warm body out there that did every single thing portrayed in the book? Or is this ol' fashioned puritanism with a twist and turned on its head? A puritan would have insisted on teetotalling and, duh, purity. This new variant insists that if you descend into hell, you'd better go deep and get some digital pics of the cave drawings and shot of you and Satan (in giftshop tshirts, with a timestamp) standing next to the Pit of Despair.

I'm done.

Since this is my last post on this (a LOT of time wasted today) I'll leave a couple of memoir recommendations behind:

1) Pete Hamill's A Drinking Life
2) Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors.

Both of these stories are, as of this writing, true.

Cue the Smoking Gun...

AndreaJan 12, 2006 at 11:04PM

I went to Chapter's today to buy My Friend Leonard and guess what? They are sold out!!!! I think that speaks for it self. Truth or not he tells a good story. So for all the people that want to bash him there are just as many running to the store to buy the books. I also heard many groups in the Starbucks discussing all the controversy....As a writer what more could you ask for?

mollyJan 12, 2006 at 11:07PM

The "Smoking Gun" expose is a good read. Frey won't be the first to have exaggerated his 'badness', for money or attention or...
It appears he is so interested in 'truth' that he threatened to sue Smoking Gun for exposing it.

I don't pretnd that getting sober is easy. But many people do, in and out of AA. Honesty is key in getting sober & clean-- however you do it, and with whatever help you find in the process. Contrary to popular belief, few humans 'pull themselves up by their bootstraps'. We need each other - it makes us human. That is true for an addict, also. So AA is one of the many resources that can provide this help. But not the only one.

An aside: While drunkalogues may not be the 'core' of AA, I have sure sat through my fill.

Justina CarlsonJan 12, 2006 at 11:10PM

Frey doesn't even realize it was wrong to lie.

He'll continue to spin and pose.

I am disgusted by his ethics---and saddened because I think he has the potential to cheapen memoir in general, literature in general.

I'm quite sickened, and saddened.

mollyJan 12, 2006 at 11:21PM

I don't know about the book, but Smoking Gun story is a hoot.
Eighteen year old Frey with the Chicken Pox was wanted in the jail cell.
Bad-ass kid.

mollyJan 12, 2006 at 11:22PM

oops NOT wanted in the jail cell.

LizziJan 12, 2006 at 11:32PM

Am I being naive wondering why people are still buying Frey's books and, thus, rewarding a proven liar? The point isn't whether you can still appreciate his books if you take them as works of fiction. The point is that this guy is peddling them as honest depictions of his life and what it took for him to recover from it. He's not only betrayed anyone who's read the book, but he has seriously damaged the integrity of writers and publishers everywhere. Has our society become so cynical and jaded that his arrogant dishonest doesn't really bother anyone? There seems to be a "so what?" attitude among readers out there. (It's still #1 on Amazon's list.)

mollyJan 12, 2006 at 11:38PM

I haven't bought or read it. Not another self-obsessed memoir! Spare me. And I do agree with you that the deceit is despicable. But after watching the Supreme Court hearings today, Frey just doesn't seem the most important issue facing our country right now.
*I was curious because of my own struggles with drinking and all I have heard about it - but not curious enough to buy it.

SusanJan 12, 2006 at 11:40PM

I have read both of his books, and no other books that I have read, by any author, have touched me in the same way.
The dispute about the truth in his books, is centered around his criminal past. For any of the people here who have read the book, I would hope that you understood that whatever was on his record, is not the point of the book.
And for the people who are saying that he is a bad writer, with run-on sentences and incorrect capitalization have clearly not done their research. On, he talks about why he wrote the way that he did. He is not an idiot, and all of these "gramatical errors" were purposeful.
If anyone here saw Larry King live on Wednesday night, you can tell just by watching James Frey, that he really is the person he wrote about in the book. From his obsessive coffee drinking which you see in the interview to the fact that he takes on all accountability for his life. He wasn't angry at the smoking gun for what they have said, he was mad at himself for saying things that he was assured were off record. Not only that, but Larry King didn't even read the book before the interview. I lost alot of respect for him after seeing this poorly conducted interview.
I am an enormous fan of James Frey. It makes me sad that there is all of this drama going on about 10 pages of his book that are irrelivent to the point of the story. I am a full supporter of James Frey and I will continue to be throughout all of this drama.

-Oh, and for those of you wanting refunds, get over it. It was $12.

NelsJan 13, 2006 at 12:22AM

Dave never watched the Factor either before interviewing O'Reilly on his show. I suppose Dave has lost a notch on your talkshow-host-respectibility-o-meter, huh, Susan? Jesus F-ing Mother Loving Christ, I hate American culture. This??? This is what concerns our national conscience? Whether or not this Frey-sh*thole has the street-cred to be an Oprah-toted role-model for the rest of our crack-addicted, alcoholic, self-destructive citizens? I mean, why does anyone even wonder why the hell the rest of the world hates us? Huh? WHY?! This makes me so sick. Our culture is pathetic. Worthless.

You know what I would love to see? A Larry King interview of Dave Chappelle in which they air a clip of Chappelle pouring buckets of fake urine into Frey's gaping mouth while Frey does Oprah in the ass and Oprah gives Lady Liberty a good solid fisting. That would make me respect Larry King twice as much as I do now.

NelsJan 13, 2006 at 12:28AM

Btw, in the context of Dave and the O'Reilly interview, I was speaking about David Letterman, not Dave Chappelle, just to clarify.

jimmy'sghostwriterJan 13, 2006 at 12:41AM


If the book is not about the criminal record, why did he include it? Why did he lie about it, then include it? If the answers to those questions don't make you question the integrity of this writer, then you are a twit.

Of course, Frey intentionally made gramatical mistakes, but it doesn't mean it's good. The idea behind making those intentional mistakes is small-minded. It's sophomoric, immature, obvious and JV. That's why he couldn't sell it as fiction. The book wasn't good enough. But, if twits like you are willing to gobble up that garbage because it's "true," it actually happened to someone, then they'll sell it as memoir.

Have you read any James Joyce? How about Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha, maybe you came across some Irving Welsh? Those writers play with language in ways that are meaningful, both in the experience of language and in plot, scene, character. These guys have depth, whereas Frey's entire schtick is all surface. Thin puddles on the surface waiting to evaporate.

Is it at all possible that Frey's nervous coffee drinking had anything to do with the fact that he was scared to death? I watched that show and it looked like the frat boy at the police station getting bailed out by his mother.

Jimmy'sMom'spublicistJan 13, 2006 at 12:44AM

What kind of a bad ass who gets a stupid tatoo that says Cut the Bullshit It's Time to Throw Down, or whatever it is (always sounded like a cross between a deleted Fight Club scene and a Mr. T monologue), has to have his Mommy hold his hand on tv.


BryanJan 13, 2006 at 1:38AM

Even before all of this smoking gun stuff blew up, I felt that people were being hoodwinked, following the hype like little lemmings or sheep. I avoided the book for the longest time, but finally picked up both books (something about the cover of My Friend Leonard attracted me as well as the fact that one of my friends was reading it at the time).

Well, I read 40, maybe 50 pages and found it painful - not because of the hokey forced horror of his probably fake experiences, but because the writing is truly TERRIBLE. Look at these books again people. Almost every other sentence begins with "I". I did this. I did that. Not only is it boring, redundant, subliterate drivel but it truly does indicate where his interest lie. James Frey seems like a grandiose, self-impressed unrecovered alcoholic. His dismissal of twelve step programs (and where would he be without Hazelden) and promotion of himself and his amazing willpower is immoral, destructive, and wrong.

There are many more interesting visionary writers out there (read THE ATLAS by William Vollmann, Steve Erickson, Dennis Cooper, Salman Rushdie, etc.) These are writers! Just wait. When Frey writes his big 600 page novel, it will be unreadable and no one will care about it. This will just be another blip on the radar. His success lies in being relatively attractive and extremely manipulative. People desperately wanted something to believe in in regards to this area. To be edgy and cool and defiant and cliche and hopeful all at the same time.

James Frey is a waste of time (and he gives writing and literature a bad name).

DanJan 13, 2006 at 1:42AM

drug addicts lie what more do i need tosay. tell it worse than it was and better than it is right now. once an addict always an addict without 12 steps he will never last.

aneshaJan 13, 2006 at 1:47AM

'you done playing with yourself, Nels?

Good. Now smoke the cigarette and go to bed.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:49AM

This blip made a lot of $$.... I can't bring myself to read it. I did read SG, which was entertaining. And on to more interesting writing.

As to "without 12 steps he will never last" ..... there is more than one way to recover from addition. But far be it from me to educate the dogmatic.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:51AM

This blip made a lot of $$.... I can't bring myself to read it. I did read SG, which was entertaining. And on to more interesting writing.

As to "without 12 steps he will never last" ..... there is more than one way to recover from addiction. But far be it from me to educate the dogmatic.

AneshaJan 13, 2006 at 1:59AM

Correct me if i'm not getting your point, Molly, but what I think i hear you saying is

This blip made a lot of $$.... I can't bring myself to read it. I did read SG, which was entertaining. And on to more interesting writing.

As to "without 12 steps he will never last" ..... there is more than one way to recover from addiction. But far be it from me to educate the dogmatic.

Am I close?

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:06AM

yes, its
although 'addition' does make for a curious sentence, don't you think?

Every so often Smoking Gun does something interesting. I don't watch Oprah and had not heard of this book until a friend told me about it. I am not particulary interested in addiction memoirs, anyway...although the Pete Hamill book is good.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:18AM

How about "Naval gazing for fun and profit"???
Gawd I'm awful.

JennifferJan 13, 2006 at 2:19AM

I read "A Million Little Pieces" and I think it is an amazing book, true or not. If James Frey says that he can overcome drugs and alcohol without using the twelve steps and AA, then so be it. I don't understand how that is affecting other people with problems, he can't be hurting people who are already hurting themselves. I stand by the book and I will read it a million times over. He stated from the beginning that he couldn't get a deal until he presented his brilliant work as being factual. Why is that America? Maybe because we are so obsessed with seeing people fall so we can feel better about ourselves? James Frey is an amazing writer and nothing will change that.. "the haters are going to hate..."

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:19AM

can't spell either...navel... oh to heck with it. ;-)

NelsJan 13, 2006 at 2:20AM

Look, I've met people exactly like this guy, making people get all swoony over his posed "coolness" and tales of debauchery -- gaining people's "trust" as a guy who has "been there, done that" and all. Guys like this jizz all over themselves when they get attention like this. It's their fetish. It's what they get off on -- to simply pull the wool over people's eyes and fool people into thinking of him as worthy of their respect, when in fact, he's worthy of nothing but their utter dismissal. He's a false messiah. He's like Bill O'Reilly, trying to sucker the sheep for the sake of attention and money.

William S. Burroughs wrote about some pretty sensational shit too, with some pretty poorly formed sentences at that, much of it based on real-life experiences, such as accidentally shooting his common-law wife in the head, and being a heroin addict.

Why don't I have the same vitriol for Burroughs as I have for Frey? Because, Burroughs didn't go around alleging to have expunged nearly all of any self-alleged criminal records. In other words, Burroughs wasn't a poser jerk-off like this Frey loser. He had a legitimately f-ed up life who rolled with people whose "coolness" can be historically verified.

I so wish that I didn't even have to make this point -- I mean, I hate even having to mention Burroughs in the same vicinity as this topic. But come on. If this guy's lameass book goes on to be some relatively sanitized version of Junkie that our absurd and backwards culture actually accepts for its collective consumption, then God save us. Or, maybe, so be it.

KentJan 13, 2006 at 2:20AM

I feel ripped off. I read this book and at times I found myself saying no way. Such as the fact he graduates college in four years while a crack addict (smoking with a professor no less) and being invitigated by the FBI for drug dealing. I kept reading this thinking this guy must be superman. Then the part where his police record suddenly gets cleaned up by a judge and mafia guy in rehab didn't make any sense. But I took his word for it. And told people to go buy this book. You have to read this guy's story. If he didn't make the book so personal. When he shares that it took him years to write the story and he finally did it one page a night for a year. Once you know he shopped the book around and "fixed" it - that rings bs. And all about the many drug struggles he didn't even have. The police fights that never occured. TSG shows that the guy might not ever smoked crack - thats a big embellishment. How do you get behind the underlining message about recovery - when he wasn't even an addict? If I look at the book as a fiction peice it has a John Grisham quality to it. Chaos for the masses. He has loss all credibility now.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:22AM

" If [fill in the blank] says that he can overcome drugs and alcohol without using the twelve steps and AA, then so be it. I don't understand how that is affecting other people with problems, he can't be hurting people who are already hurting themselves. "

Amen to that.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:27AM

Kent, I don't know about crack but more than one blighted soul has made it through college drinking like a fish. It's not laudable.

There is a lot of trash that is published. I am curious as to why this guy has created such a furor. Any thoughts?

JennifferJan 13, 2006 at 2:34AM

molly, I think everyone is just pissed off because they didn't think to run with the money in their pockets first. He outsmarted everyone because he is AN AMAZING WRITER. If having the thoughts and given the opportunity to make that money, ANYONE in their right mind would do the same. I stand by what he says "haters are going to hate."

AneshaJan 13, 2006 at 2:56AM

wow, Jennifer.

Amazing Writer?

You're an Amazing person. I mean that. And I do crack.

Once you've done crack, you never go back.

I like crack. I really, really, REALLY like crack.

Got Crack?

AneshaJan 13, 2006 at 3:08AM

okay. taking my own advice. gonna go have that cigarette now.

thanks for that Jennifffffer.

for more Amazing Writers, I think my four year old is done with her
Highlites for this month, so you can have it. Check out the poem written by Seth B. (age 9) from Niagra, NY entitled 'Slippy Sloppy Cold Things'.

It's Amazing.


mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:14AM

Here is a good commentary on common 'memoirs'

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:31AM

oh this is the best yet:

DeeJan 13, 2006 at 4:28AM

Yeah, I heard about this and I got floored. I think it's because I believe in authors who have real experiences that just aren't "reader-worthy" publication, that authors really write for the sake of the craft and not for personal gain, and that others have way more bewildering and trippy fictional/nonfictional tales that I'd rather read. Frey's just a rich boy nobody who needed to blow up his life to poster-size, just to prove that a lot of the American people are sappy and in need of some other person's misery just to make themselves feel better.

I hope Frey gets his butt nailed to the wall if he's serious about taking up TSG in court.

AndrewJan 13, 2006 at 8:00AM

Again (and I do enjoy this post and the people commenting) I think some of the issue is getting lost. This post--at least as far as I can tell--is not about James the writer (though I think that attaching the word "Great" to his work is laughable) but about James the person.

I don't care if people us AA, NA, Rational Recovery or the Teletubbies to stay sober if they need to stay sober. I respect whatever works for those who need to find a way to live outside of a chemical vocation. I don't care if people publish fiction or non-fiction, Harry Potteresque fantasy or Hooked on Bass fishing guides (ugg) to inspire the masses. I love that there is disagreement and that there are people who think that James is a good writer and those (like me) who think that he is fair at best.

The real issue here is not whether James recovered using Lilly, and vomit stained T-shirts, and fighting the 12-Step God mentality. And it is not how it may have helped others despite his umm, inaccuracies.

The issue now, in light of TSG and his "God, it is falling apart" interview with LK is whether or not he was ever really sick. And That (a little cap work there for James) is where he runs the risk of being totally shattered as the poster-guy, semi-mob-connected, had warrants erased bad-ass, that he says he is.


AndrewJan 13, 2006 at 8:04AM

Oh, and if anyone is interested in a book review, copy and paste this link and read. This review came out well before TSG piece and is rather interesting.

jimmy'sMom'spublicistJan 13, 2006 at 8:09AM


Enlighten us with your knowledge of amazing writers. Who are some of your favorite writers, writers that occupy the same lofty space as James Frey. I want to know who else to read.

Mary AnneJan 13, 2006 at 8:30AM

I'm thinking about another very famous "redemption story" and I'm not sure what genre to put the book under, but anyway there are those of us who have read it, found inspiration in it and take on faith what is said about a Jewish carpenter whose life story we may or may not be able to validate...Most of us read many things, become moved by the written word and form opinions...I love the people posting here that say James is not working any of the 12 steps, as reading the book it is obvious the intent of treatment was to bring him through several of them. Rehab, btw, is populated by all kinds of characters as addiction doesn't limit itself by class, color, income, education lines...when you get to the "popular" places where drunks and addicts go to clean up, it is highly likely they are populated by some very high profile people...I got sober in a $75 a day rehab, no sports stars, actresses but just a bunch of people who included teenagers who shared very similar stories as James', housewives like myself who drank themselves to treatment at home, a state senator's wife, a hockey player from Minnesota, etc. etc. I think I have memoir envy...

KimJan 13, 2006 at 8:33AM

I read many of these and get so angy, exspecially for the ones who have never read the book and still comment on it! This man may have embelished some of the truths, but when it comes down to it he still was an addict and he still beat the odds by reforming his ways. Does he not get any praise for what he has accomplished in that alone? What was this book really about? I feel it was about his recovery and what he has over come not the little mistruthes of his trouble with the law etc. I have a husband who is an addict and a lot he's said in this book I can totally relate to how he was feeling and the things he said that comes out of my own husbands mouth so often, so how can this book be such a lie when it hits home with so many other addicts, alcoholic etc. If it helps just one person or family or person having to deal with these awful deseases was it not worth the read? If one person is saved from this book, just because they could relate, was it not worth the read? I really hope people are not turned away from reading this, just because someone decided that he may have stretched the truth just a little Where it DIDN'T count. It may just save their lives or someone they love. I'm not an idiot and think this book will cure people but it could maybe, maybe get them at least to seek help. There's always a chance

LiseJan 13, 2006 at 8:40AM

Don't know how to send this to YOU personally, James Frey !

Dear amazing Oprah

I have always known that "amazing thing" about you ever since I first met you on TV in my home country Denmark, and now in Belgium (we have just started your December 2005 shows). But yesterday with your courageous an rather unexpected intervention concerning James Frey at your good friend Larry King's talk show it was confirmed :

You are one hell of a woman! It most certainly was a Hallelujah- moment for James, of that I'm sure. He deserves it, also to be "left alone" now. Once more you see that success also means competition and envy and jealousy out there, it's so sad. The most important thing is, as you also pointed out, that James has successfully come out of hell and has stayed out !

One other thing, which you also correctly mentioned : According to me as well, a “memoir” means “according to MY memory” (NOT valid in a biography, of course), and in that “category” it’s always a writer’s liberty to leave out stuff, exaggerate, underestimate, dramatize, you name it. CNN corrspondent Anderson Cooper confirmed that correctly in his talk with Larry King after the show.

Oprah, I take the opportunity here to add : the amazing friends and guests you present on your show ! I must say in the special Oprah way :l ove it love it love it ! It's so good to know who they ARE and not (just) what they DO.

Thank God that people like you exist to hopefully inspire other people in the world to make a difference .... in the world.

Yours completely and absolutely totally 100% faithfully

Lise, who wishes she was closer .... in Chicago for inst. !

donnieJan 13, 2006 at 8:44AM


Stretched the truth.

Will you please stop equivocating. Will you stop threading the needle for this guy.

No one is disputing what the book means to you, or what potential positive effect it may have on its readers. If the emotional truth of this book still resonates for you, great, but don't tell me that this discussion is about embellishments or mistruths.

Frey lied about specific events. He did not embellish. If this fact raises doubts and questions about the rest of the book, there is no one to blame but Frey. Smoking Gun didn't slip in these lies when the book went to press. I didn't tell Frey to make this stuff up. He chose to do this, and he's responsible. No one else. FREY IS NOT A VICTIM!

And it definitely counts. It counts because he wrote it, and by writing he's asking us to consider it important. If it's not important, if the actual content of the arrest is not important, or the car wreck, why write it, publish it and then ask us to care about those events in his life.

jimmy'sghostwriterJan 13, 2006 at 8:46AM


You are a pathetic twit.

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 8:46AM

Oh my, the world is in trouble now. Oprah and Mr. Frey have high jacked the minds of the Danish.

AndrewJan 13, 2006 at 8:57AM


Sorry, I re-posted one of the links you posted. I had not yet read your post.


somervilleJan 13, 2006 at 8:58AM

I have attended Hazelden as a journalist and none of his description of it rings true.

You're not allowed to make calls to the outside world. The last day I was there, a man in for drug and alcohol abuse asked me to call his own wife on Christmas Day and wish her a merry Christmas because he was not permitted to.

It's absurd that the so-called Vegas hood and Louisiana judge would be able to pull strings there for Frey and call their contacts. Hazelden is unbelievably strict and no way could they have been able to pull it off.

To be honest, I doubt Frey was ever there. Someone should call Hazelden, who could at least confirm that he was NEVER there.

SairaJan 13, 2006 at 8:58AM

Apparently James Frey is going to be reading at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto on the 26th and is charging a hell of a lot of money ($40, $50 and around $80 for VIP tickets) I admit I really dont get it. There are so many books out there which I would rate higher. The only reason I even chose to read it was because it was supposedly a true account of drug recovery but now that even that is in question... can't imagine bothering.

mary anneJan 13, 2006 at 9:14AM

Ah, even James' mom takes a bad could she possibly love a child, pay for his treatment and support his recovery parlance, it is called "hating the disease but loving the people who battle it." Addiction is not a moral dilemma, but an illness one...I understand today that I was not a bad person trying to become good, but a sick person trying to get well. That does not absolve the things I did while drinking and a big part of my recovery is accountability, makig a list of the people I have harmed and becoming willing to make amends to them all...for me that means living responsibly without drinking, addressing the people I have harmed and changing the way I behave, and yes, addicts, alcoholics, human beings with personal flaws are worthy of being loved...aren't we all?

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 9:15AM

somerville -

Hazelden also has strict disclosure statements that are signed by both parties involved. Within those dislosure statements it clearly states that the first party, Hazelden, will keep all of the second party's (Frey's) records confidential. This also means that they will not even give verification to a third party in regards to whether or not someone recieved treatment at the facility unless, the second party (Frey) signs a waiver. I do believe that The Smoking Gun has tried to squeeze information out of Hazelden but they did not have any success.

jimmy'sghostwriterJan 13, 2006 at 9:20AM

This is what makes this book brilliant. Anything that means anything to the book is virtually impossible to verify. So we have to trust Frey that he's telling us the truth. When we find out that some of the things he claims, things we can verify, turn out to be false, how does that paint the rest of the book? We can't be at fault for thinking the whole thing is a lie if Frey won't allow anyone to verify the claims in the book. Once the smoking gun piece came out, benefit of the doubt was suspended.

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 9:27AM

Saira -

I must agree. Many of the readers of our world have become naive, sad and cliche ridden lot. To be honest, I couldn't have said it any better than Bryan. Please see his post (about 10 - 20 above yours).

somervilleJan 13, 2006 at 9:30AM

Concerned reader:

I am a journalist as well and have been pretty good at squeezing info out of places where others have had no luck. I am going to call Hazelden today. I will ask them if anyone has at least read the book.
They won't be able to confirm that he was there, but they could in fact confirm, that he was never there.

I would also like to hear what they say about the scenes set there. The one with the rock star coming out on stage to give his speech ? Yeah, right. As if a world famous rock star is going to to do that there. The lectures we had at night did not come from ANY patients who were currently being treated. They were from staff or medical experts.

Famous people have and do attend Hazelden but the whole point of them being there is to become humble and blend in..... it all sounds like one big fantasy.

You're not allowed to go outside by yourself. They're incredibly strict about fraternizing the sexes. They really keep them apart, except for meetings and meals and that's all supervised. Lily sounds totally made up.

The staff at Hazelden are really sweet and I would think they would like their place to be accurately portrayed.

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 9:37AM

Well, I returned my copy to the reputable bookstore in which I bought it from. They glady refunded my money with a receipt, if I had brought it back without a reciept, they would have been more than happy to exchange it for something else in their stock.

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 9:45AM

somerville -

In no way am I trying to discourage you by saying this, but Hazeldon has probably grown tired of questions about James Frey since the latest news broke. Hopefully, you know someone, that way you atleast have a chance of getting a returned phone call.

Best of luck to you. I hope you pen an article and someone runs it for you.

somervilleJan 13, 2006 at 9:55AM

Concerned reader --

Thanks for the tip. I just remembered that I do know a counselor at Hazelden... the husband of( ironically), a memoir teacher I once had.

fleurineJan 13, 2006 at 10:05AM

This book is comedy.
I LOVE the part in AMLP where he rips into the Rock Star who comes to speak at the AA meeting at rehab for giving a puffed up drunkalogue.
Takes one to know one, I guess.
I'm going to try to retrun mine, I could use $11, and I'm not reading it again.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 10:09AM

Saira, I'm with you. When someone I know mentioned he was reading it, I thought maybe....the more I found out about it, the more I thought 'why bother'. There have been dozens of rehab 'memoirs' out there, most of them bad. And I can't think of anything worse than a false, hyped up rich-kid attempt to make a buck (or a few million, as the case were).
Still, the hoopla about this IS interesting.

donnieJan 13, 2006 at 10:13AM

The only good thing to come out of this, hopefully, will be that the public may be a bit jaded with memoir in general. Nothing against the genre, but it does nothing different than a novel with an unreliable, subjective first person narrator. The great thing about fiction is that the focus is on the art, not the artist.

JeffJan 13, 2006 at 10:20AM

The Tao which Frey quotes repeatedly in the book says that "Truth is nothing". I guess he misinterpreted that part of the Tao.

linkJan 13, 2006 at 10:35AM

Looks like he shut down his website BIGJIMINDUSTRIES

linkJan 13, 2006 at 10:36AM

oops,'s there.

JeffJan 13, 2006 at 10:54AM

Another candidate to play Lie, I mean Frey in the movie: Richard Simmons. He'd do the voice perfectly. And you need a tough guy for the role.

JeffJan 13, 2006 at 10:56AM

By the way, anyone notice that his mother was lying for him on Larry King. Frey said repeatedly that the beginning and end of the book was not true, yet his mother talks about picking him up at the airport covered in blood and vomit... Wait, I thought that didn't happen? Which is which? I am confused...

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 10:56AM

The words irony and memoir bring something to mind. A book I recently explored was, Stephen King's "On Writing". What great read authored by someone who can actually write. The aspects of Stephen's life portrayed in this memoir, drug addiction being one (irony), can actually be be backed up by fact of events, unlike "AMLP".

Although, most are not interested in the non-fictional genre of horror, they may find actually find "On Writing" to be much more credible than "AMLP", when it comes to genre of memoir. At a minimum, Mr. King writes about his life and his experience with addiction, with out over characterizing them. Sure, he may add a little more color to events than was actually there when they went down, but atleast he recognizes the need for integrity and a much more needed dose of help during a time of personal crisis. At a maximum, he will teach you a lot about writing.

Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 11:46AM

Concerned Reader have you slept or eaten in days? Wow, you're a posting fool on go, you go, go go gogogogogoogogogoooo

Mary AnneJan 13, 2006 at 11:57AM

The message of recovery is hope, that's all. Lest there be someone out there who might want to stop drinking and drugging and is a bit confused about what might happen in the 12 step fellowships, I will say for myself and not representing the fellowship that NO person seeking help there would ever be subjected to the type of discussion that has gone on here. Preamble states that the fellowship has "no opinion on outside issues." My experience is this, I can come and go from any fellowship meeting as I wish, there are no leaders and no authority figures, we are all there equally participating...when I share my story no one has ever said "prove it" or "that's awful" or "that's not true." On the contrary, I am encouraged to share what is my truth. No one has ever asked me to believe in a particular higher power or "God," in fact the opposite has been true. The freedom of the program for me has been that I am encouraged to gain my own understanding, whatever works for me, can change over time, it is what I understand...when I LISTEN in a meeting that is all I do, no matter what my private opinion might be, or feeling, about what is said is not relevant or voiced. I am there to listen as I am listened to. The program itself is "suggested." What I practice or don't practice is also my's the place i got sober and stay sober. There are other addicts and alcoholics sharing in this string and they have followed a different path in recovery, and I appreciate their voices and can learn from them also. James Frey told his story. If you are interested in other stories that have to do with recovery, the fellowships have "open" meetings, including speaker ones where again one person relates his/her story of recovery...anyone is welcome to attend an open meeting. As far as what happens in treatment...well, a lot of things, certainly people find ways, even segregated to make contact with the other sex, people do make phone calls, people use and leave, people stay sober and don't leave, people come back, make speeches etc. etc. Can you make it through college while drinking and drugging...ask your kids. I graduated despite being in my addiction.

Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 12:19PM

Mary Anne is dreamy

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 12:20PM

yeah. Like I'm gonna read that.

One word, Mary Anne: Paragraphs

Tony BaggadonutsJan 13, 2006 at 12:24PM

Go Tommy, Go...go go go go go.....that's awesome....we already read a book...that's what we're discussing here, no one wants to read yours.....there are enough "woe is me, I was a stupid drunk who found god" stories posted above...they're all the same....self centered whiney victims just like Frey.....keep it brief!!!!!!!

D and JJan 13, 2006 at 12:25PM

Our son died 6 months after his last rehab stay; two were in a residential setting, two in an outpatient, all day setting. What James wrote describes the similar tormet our son went through. When we participated in the "family week", we thought we understood what a powerful hold his addictions had on him. Reading James' book has helped us understand even more, and we thank him despite the fact that our son is no longer here. The gut wrenching sorrow which we feel every single day is perhaps partly balanced by increased understanding. Those who criticize James' writing style have had limited exposure to some of the greatest writers, those who evoke a universal response, compassion, and deeper connection to the wide diversity of human experiences. The CNN interview was a pitiful reflection on Larry King. Never have we seen such poor interviewing, and it seemed obvious that he hadn't even read the book. Small minds seem adamant about small issues.

BooHooJan 13, 2006 at 12:28PM

Sniffle, sniffle

biznatchJan 13, 2006 at 12:41PM


TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 12:45PM

That's good stuff, Biznatch. I think you've got a book in you, eh?

And by the way, how's that Canadian skating pair doing who stole all of our hearts in the last Olympics?

YOMAMMAJan 13, 2006 at 12:46PM

We should change this blog to a discussion about HOW COMPLETELY USELESS, IRRELEVENT, AND INCOMPETENT LARRY KING is.

BooHooJan 13, 2006 at 12:46PM

One of our biggest issues as a society, human race, culture is right in front of everyone on is the anonymity of the electronic is not connecting with other people on a real is working jobs that kill is denying your dreams at every corner because everyone says "can't", "don't", "no".....we are fucked....get away from your computer, go for a walk, jog, run...sit to your up all of these doors that we keep closing and locking....then maybe our brothers, sister, sons, daughter, mothers, fathers, friends....etc....won't feel the need to go away

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 12:50PM

D and J:

Care to share the names of some of those great writers with us? The ones that evoke compassion, universal understanding and credible response? James can hardly be placed in that lot because within AMLP there are nothing but a bunch of narcassistic meanderings. You are right, small minds only seem to be concerned about small issues such as their selfhood.

linkJan 13, 2006 at 12:51PM

I've had exposure to great writers, with immensely more talent than Frey.
There are plenty of writers who could have written this story..probably even better, who've never been an addict or to rehab, with a little research and alot of talent they could pull it off, slap a 'true story' label on it and be making millions like Frey. Except their's won't ever see the light of day because they have this little thing called 'integrity' ...which Frey seriously lacks and continues to demonstrate with his 'I stand by my book' mantra.

Newsflash: CNN reported all future editions of AMLP will contain an authors note.
A little future damage control disclaimer.
"Dear readers, this is the Willy Wonka version of my life...enjoy."

biznatchJan 13, 2006 at 12:54PM

OK - let's talk about the movie AMLP - cuz all you motherfuckers are going to see it when it comes out - who are we kidding?

Who should play James? - I think Ryan Gosling is by far the best choice of the proposed names.

Lily - Brittany Murphy is perfect - she loves cock, crack and smack so much in real life - she is born for that role.

Leonard - Vince Vaughn? (perhaps a bit too young) DeNiro would be good but too old - Any ideas people?

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 12:56PM

I think boohoo onto something.

No, wait.

What I meant to say is: I think BooHoo's on something.

This thread is broken. It has to be, because they let me in here
without even checking my ID and I wasn't wearing a shirt or shoes or anything. And you should have seen all of the people behind me, waiting in line to get in here. It's a Motley Crew!! biznatch and yomamma were right behind me in line--need I say more?

Yomamma is HOT, though. She wasn't wearing a shirt either.

biznatchJan 13, 2006 at 12:59PM

OK - anybody who wants to discuss Frey and whether or not he is a fraud or a liar or what he did or did not fabricate - PLEASE FUCK OFF!

It's a moot discussion and a complete waste of time - Nobody cares if your brother or sister or mother was an addict and how it may or may not have affected you - NOBODY GIVES A FUCK - that is the "truth".

Let's talk about the movie.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:06PM

I'm very sorry about the loss of your son. The death of a child is excruciating.

That said, I have little patience with pseudo-memoirs. Gutter bad-ass'dness & mythic redemption are usually bull. In my opinion, recovery takes a lot of help, self searching, work and luck. Like life. I will probably now read the book (from the library) just to see what the hoopla is about.

JenniferJan 13, 2006 at 1:09PM

Things were a lot different back, and i imagine that an airline would have allowed someone on a flight in that condition back then. Also, when you have memories of times when you were in the wallows of your life like that and you describe it, you cant help but to bring raw exagerated emotions to the surface that went along with it. Its funny how some say they "smelled a rat", or that some things that went on were "far fetched." I on the other hand have experienced some pretty crazy things in my life and have witnessed many, and really dont have much trouble believing his situations, because in my opinion they really werent a huge deal compared to things I know first hand of, and when you consider the emotions he is portraying along with the incident, it is easy to accept it could have happened. As far as the police reports go, the best way for the courts/cops to get even is to discredit Frey. They are a lot of snakes out there, and a lot of them work in these fields. I guess if you have lived in a bubble (lucky you) you might have trouble believing Frey. I on the other hand, have no trouble at all.

CindyJan 13, 2006 at 1:15PM

I have to agree w/s lot of things that Jack said. Even more so Brad, my thoughts the way you summed it all up...very funny!

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:23PM

Jennifer, I agree about the snakes. Some of the most *dysfunctional* people I've ever met are addiction counselors and 12-step gurus. The idea of recovery is to get a life. But everything I have read about this book and the discrepancies sound a lot more than embellishment or distorted memories.
Partiuclarly repellant, as mentioned abovve in several posts, was Frey's fabrication about his relationship with the girls killed by the train and the events leading up to that. That's not something that the fog of alcohol would create. That's something the crassness of exploitation creates.

In my 20s and early 30s I read a number of rehab memoirs, and they all blurred together. Few alcoholics or addicts I have met have ever had "Cinderella" moments, mythic redemption or other such fiction. I certainly didn't. However, after repeated relapses, I finally got and stayed sober and then dealt with life's thorniness that I had managed to avoid while drinking. In or out of AA, that is the reality of most sober alcoholics I know.

WendyJan 13, 2006 at 1:24PM

Anderson Cooper had the Smoking Gun guy and Guy & Nan Talese and Carole Radizwill on last night. At least Anderson questioned the veracity of the entire story with the SG guy. Guy Talese confirmed that memoir = true story. Nan Talese tried to remind everyone that Frey had been an addict since age 10. Uh, how do we know that? Frankly, I don't believe it. Carole Radizwill (Oprah's next author) slammed Frey on the whole memoir thing. Nan T. defended him telling Carole, well, you're a journalist, you understand what memoir is, he's a drug addict, how would he know what memoir is?

This whole thing makes me SICK.

I wish someone would ask Oprah, "Why are you advocating the "just hold on" method of recovery invented by an outted pathological liar?"

CindyJan 13, 2006 at 1:24PM

JR.... Yes it does MATTER if the book is truth or fiction...that's the whole point. I know for me I wouldn't have even been interested in reading it had I known the "truth". I'm sure I am not alone on that! It wasn't put out there as "entertainment"

Beerzie BoyJan 13, 2006 at 1:25PM

I am sorry that Mr. Frey decided to sell this book as non-fiction, when clearly it is not. My wife and several of my friends have read this book prior to this brew-ha-ha, and based on their glowing appraisals, I was planning on reading it, too.

Unfortunately, for me, the main attraction of this book is that it is a true to-the-gutter-and-back story; there is nothing to suggest in anything I have read that this guy is a top-notch writer, and there is nothing to suggest that he is anywhere near the level of greatness of writers such as Hemingway, Fitzgerals, et al.

So what's left to inspire me to read this book? A passably written, mostly fictional book on drunkeness and redemption? Theres a ton of good literature out there; why waste precious reading hours reading something mediocre. If I need mawkish inspiration, I'll start going to mass or watch After School Specials.

biznatchJan 13, 2006 at 1:27PM


You are a loser - James Frey is an artist and a millionaire and you are not - You are jealous, pathetic and sad - ONCE AGAIN, PLEASE FUCK OFF!


mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:27PM

Anyone read "Walk on Water" by Lorian Hemingway. At least, she is a decent writer.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:28PM

nah biznatch, if the book is lousy, the movie will only be worse.

BryanJan 13, 2006 at 1:29PM

biznat and d&j are all idiots. I have probably read more books than d&j combined. To assume that people who criticize Frey's writing have not ben exposed tp great writers is moronic.

As for the movie, I am certain that it will be even more ridiculous than the book -- pumping up all the bullshit bravado and mach posturing and cliches as Hollywood is so apt to do.

I, for one, don't believe any of it. I think Frey made up Lily or at least projected thi whole story on her like he did with the high school girlfriend. As for the incident with the priest, it reeks of homophobia. The rant against the rockstar -- WHAT HYPOCRISY! If anyone romanticizes their addiction, as Frey self-righteously accuses so many of doing, it is Frey himself.

His criticism - no, immature shoutouts at truly talented writers such as David Foster Wallace are ridiculous. Wake up people. He made up Leonard too. If I was to guess, I would say that Frey suffers from Narcissiatic Personality Disorder.

But if the book means smething to you, then fine. You should not be threatened by the truth.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:30PM

I am sick at home today, so this is one thing to do....
Are they any really good rehab memoirs?

biznatchJan 13, 2006 at 1:30PM

MOLLY - you are a moron!

You obviously don't know anything about books or films -

I would like to kind ask you to PLEASE FUCK OFF!

biznatchJan 13, 2006 at 1:31PM

MOLLY - you are a moron!

You obviously don't know anything about books or films -

I would like to kind ask you to PLEASE FUCK OFF!

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:32PM

Bryan, that is hysterical. NPD, huh? But I wonder if Frey is more calculating than that.... how to make a fast buck while laughing all the way to the bank?

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 1:34PM

Jennifer is right.

I think that this whole thing (the dismantling of Frey) has been orchestrated by the cops. It's a conspiracy brought about by the three states where he's 'wanted' just to bring him down. Embarassed that they should be out-witted by one of the country's most celebrated criminals
(he was after all cited for 'open container' in that one bust where they found a half full Pabst Blue Ribbon. They ignored the kilo of coke for fear he might retaliate by summoning 'the Fury' (furry?) ).

To be bigger than these clown cops, he should volunteer to aid O.J. Simpson in the search for his murdered wife's killer; poetic justice since we all know that it was the LA police department that killed her and then proceeded to frame him for the murder.

Or maybe with that sexy lithp he has, he could just be O.J.'s B*tch.

Either way would be cool with me.

biznatchJan 13, 2006 at 1:34PM




I would like to kindly ask you to PLEASE FUCK OFF!

WendyJan 13, 2006 at 1:34PM

Biznatch, I am definitely jealous of Frey's commercial success. I could have A LOT of fun with that money. Pathetic and sad, not today, thanks. You are just plain stupid. Vince Vaughn is too cool and too funny to play Leonard. Fred Durst for Jimmy boy (all he needs to do is cuss and he has that down) and Winona Ryder for Lily. Tony Robbins for Leonard. He'll be able to deliver the "Just Hold On" message with correct tone of motivation.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:34PM

oops biznatch, are you just waiting for the lurid film to come out?
O sorry

MegJan 13, 2006 at 1:38PM

Jason, this might be a good time to close the comment thread according to your disclaimer below?

Vigorous discussion and opposing viewpoints are welcome, but please keep comments *on-topic* and *civil*. Comments containing flames, trolls, or personal attacks are discouraged and may be deleted. If you don't know what this means, please choose not to participate. Thanks.

Biznatch, get it together.

In RecoveryJan 13, 2006 at 1:45PM

HELLO!!!??? Why are some people saying....for what he's been through...he's this & that??? What has he been through?? Did any of these things happen to him??? Or did he drink too much when he was a kid & decide to call himself an addict & write a book?? Where are the scars on his fac from his 40 some stiches...wou;dn't one have some sign of that on there face?? I think it just gives real addicts who may just be coming to tems w/their problem a way to fail by believing that you can go to bars everynight, believe in nothing but yourself & stay clean doing nothing to change your old behaviors. After you stop using you then are left w/you & from EXPERIENCE I know that w/out support & a program (NA, AA) you will either use again or be clean but stay the same manulating, lier, thief, cheat, etc that you were when you were using!!

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 1:51PM

Shudder, Recovery. Self righteous 12 stepper? Oy.
You are right that support is necessary.

GinnyJan 13, 2006 at 1:55PM

Amanda says what's the big deal. The big deal is that the whole premise of his story was that this really happened to him and it really didn't. Sure some of it is true, but much of it isn't, and a person either did or didn't spend three months in jal. You don't 'forget' whether you slept in a jail cell or not. I have no problem with changing details, but he changed his life story. If we wanted to write a 'how to recover from addiction' story he should have done that, but not sold it as a true life story when it isn't.

linkJan 13, 2006 at 1:55PM

He looks just like grownup Fred Savage (The Wonder Years kid) in his mugshot.

mary anneJan 13, 2006 at 2:09PM

Oh, I like being "dreamy" and I'm trying tu use paragraphs!!
Just came from a meeting, try to be brief. Lady in her 40's shared with me that her eldest child is in jail serving life for murder, bringing her youngest to 4-H tonite, and she's getting a meeting in between. Lives with a drunk who beats her and thinking of giving up both abusive boyfriends and alcohol. Her story

Paragraph, (Yeah) another share, guy who did eight years in state correctional facility, six months in solitary and he says developed a relationship with a cockroach after two months and maintained sanity by talking to the cockroach. Most recent arrest, four charges for drunkneness, evading, DOS (not sure what that means) and probation violation, in a blackout doesn't remember how it happened. Bail posted by a prominent educator in his community, treatment paid for by same person, 2 months clean time, "stranger than fiction"

Paragraph and the point, small town meeting, 50 people, horrifying tales about addiction and it's consequences. And you think blood and vomit are the worst part?

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:14PM

Mary anne, that is not the issue. The issue, if there is one, is Frey's brazenly commercial deception. Or is it brazen anymore...hmmm....

The ugliness of addiction isn't news, at least I don't think it is. It doesn't even make for good memoirs, especially when fabricated.

JenniferJan 13, 2006 at 2:16PM

Tommyboy, camparing James Frey's experience with OJ getting away with murder? Now your depiction is far fetched and hard to swallow. Suddenely James Frey's situation is in your mind compariable with OJ Simpson? Seriously, are you okay? James Frey's story is not all that compelling, interesting maybe, but not all that extrodinary, or unusual. Other than the way he writes, now that is a bit odd. Tommyboy, you are lucky, except your a bit dim. But I suppose even being dim is a blessing in this life for some. To broaden your mind on the subject, why dont you actually get into the down and dirty parts of town, live there for a while, stay sober, go along with these people on their journeys, and see what you see. Im positive you will come out enlightened. Maybe not blissfully, but enlightened just the same. Count your blessing son, but becareful, ignorance can hurt you sometimes, if only to make you sound like an idiot.

Mom to little girl in Pittsburgh Movie StoreJan 13, 2006 at 2:20PM

Gimme, gimme never gets

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:20PM

So how long will this author's 'writing' sustain him?
Curious minds want to know.

WhateverJan 13, 2006 at 2:21PM


He was mocking you because of your insane suggestion that the police have a conspiracy which dates back to the early 90's to get James Frey.

And he was right to do it.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:25PM

It does bother me that young people, like my daughter, might read this crap and believe this is the way to get or stay clean and sober. I hope to God she is smarter than that.

Pittsburgh PeteJan 13, 2006 at 2:26PM

Used to turn my sobriety coins from AA meetings in to my local bartender for drinks.....we all had a good laugh at that....take some responsibility for your own lives, you cowards...stop blaming everyone but your own miserable selves...I am the lizard king, I can do anything....hahahhahahhahha

JeffJan 13, 2006 at 2:27PM


Even if you accept the fact that it is laced with lies, how can this book be seen as inspirational? Here is a character (I am not going to say person because it's fiction) that didn't follow any of the rules in rehab, didn't partipate in meetings, pushed away all of the people who tried to 'help' him (whether or not he really needed help is another topic), and basically took the advice given to him and did the opposite. Do you think that buying a huge drink and tempting yourself with it right after leaving rehab is a good idea? BS.

Now, I ask you, how is this inspirational? Does he set a good example of how to deal with addiction? Or is this among the worst of examples?

I have no problem with his loathing of 12 step programs, it's one of the few things I agree with him on. They say that their way is the only way, and it is not. They say that it's non-denominational, but it's not. You will hear the word 'Jesus' and the Lord's Prayer more times in one AA/NA meeting than you will on Pat Robertson's Sunday morning program. A number of people who attend these meetings are forced to by the courts. So they go out and get high before/after the meetings. Lots of people hook up at these meetings to get high later. Why go to meetings for the rest of your life to dwell on the negative? Get over your problem, face reality, admit that you are powerless over your addiction (one of the few good bits of advice from Bill W.)

But here is a book that basically says "I told them all to go screw themselves" being tauted as 'inspirational'. Give me a break. This book will never help an addict. If anything, it will make them feel even more hopeless.

We have a 'therapist' on this board that refuses to accept facts. I find that many therapists refuse to accept when they are wrong. In this case you read a phoney book, bought everything in it, and got fooled by some frat boy. Now you can't admit to yourself or anyone else that all of your years of training didn't expose the tell-tale markings of a person who is spouting 95% BS. You got fooled. Face it. You are human and can make mistakes just like everyone else. This doesn't make you a bad therapist, but it does make him a good liar. You were fooled, face it.

This book is phoney. It's counterproductive for addicts looking for some answers. Plain and simple. This guy needs a wake-up call. Why are we so willing to accept flat-out lies now in the U.S.? From the present administration to this idiot, we allow ourselves to be duped and can't admit to ourselves that it's wrong.

By the way, I used paragraphs.

Finally -

"I knew Chuck Bukowski. You, sir, are no Chuck Bukowski. "

Thank you for your time and patience.

JenniferJan 13, 2006 at 2:27PM

Molly, Im glad you are sober and well. Thanks for backing me up a bit. Id like to know where to find more acurate information concerning the "train Incidident." If you know where I could find it, I would appreciate that. Maybe he did exagerate things, exagerated in his mind at the time of being high/drunk. As you know people tend to percieve situations far different than reality when in the grips of these chemicals. I do believe a lot of Frey's story is true as he percieved it.
Either way, Im interested to know more about this one issue. Thanks.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:28PM

The bartender traded them? Mighty generous. Why didn't I think of that?

PoCho PeteJan 13, 2006 at 2:31PM

Jeff, thanks for the book....jesus you people need to keep it brief....don't defame the Buk by saying that you knew him....

In recoveryJan 13, 2006 at 2:31PM

Ginny you give him too much credit...1st you have to be in recovery to talk about it....2nd one is never recovered. Molly...not sure if you were saying I am self righteous 12...but if you are way off on that observation!!

Pittsburgh PeteJan 13, 2006 at 2:35PM

He did indeed with a wicked grin and a laugh....I returned them too....AA meetings were always so entertaining...if you could look past the non-stop whining.....

JeffJan 13, 2006 at 2:36PM

PoCho, that was a play on the "I knew Jack Kennedy" thing. And I kept it as brief as I could while still getting my points across.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:41PM

Jennifer, there are a lot of news articles about this very issue, if you google. I too was interested about this. Evidently he changed the ages of the girls, as well, and completely fabricated the events. The parents of the girl were interviewed.

There is a difference between fogged recollection (or total blackout) and complete fabrication for profit. Is that the 'zeitgeist' of the time? Scary thought. I might check the library for this book - now I'm at least curious to see if it is as bad writing as the exerpts I have seen.

Thanks for the well wishes. I am indeed sober, not entirely well, Jennifer. Even after one 'sobers up', there are life issues. Mine are more health related now in the area of ms, lupus etc.
And let me tell you they can be as devastating.

We all have problems. I admit to being a slow learner. But the idea is to learn from what mistakes and problems we have and deal with it the best we are able. One thing I will say about AA - the support can be valuable. Nobody is an island, I don't care how you 'get and stay' sober.

It seems to me the major objection to this book is that the author commercialized it by touting its 'integrity' - and then the integrity was determined questionable, at best. My guess is that many many people reading this book are not just reading it as a work of literature, but for the message, whatever that is. And if the underlying premise of the message is tainted, the message is tainted.

Pittsburgh PeteJan 13, 2006 at 2:41PM

Thought so, but had to check you on that and the long windedness....also, you can't say that Frey is wrong because the book is counterproductive to addicts NO ONE SAID THE FRIGGIN' BOOK WAS A SELF HELP GUIDE, EVER!!!!!!!!!!! If you use/used it as one, you're a moron...(not you specifically Jeff, but all the people who are saying that it helped them) the story possibly inspirational, yes, but a guide to!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JenniferJan 13, 2006 at 2:42PM

I did not suggest that the police tampered with his records since the ninties. That is ridiculous. I do believe though that it is possible 'post publish' that they could have tampered with his records, and/or withhold information because they didnt apprciate his glorifying getting "off" on some of his charges and/or themselves not recieving credit for thier role in it. I do know first hand that this happens sometimes, but for other reasons, such as hiring the right attorney with connections to the judge, except most times to the advantage of the criminal who hired the attorney. So I would assume if this happens, it is possible it could be done for other reasons also such as I described. It is quite possible. I have witnessed in court some of these, such as three dui's being wiped from someones records, just like that, in an 'exchange.' Just pointing out things that really do happen in the real world. Just because you have no knowledge or experience of/with it, does not mean it doesnt happen. It most certainly does!
It happens all the time.

JaneJan 13, 2006 at 2:46PM

...I'm done with Sergio. He treats me like a ragdoll.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:47PM

In recovery, just the language you used. I don't denigrate AA, but sometimes the language is annoying. The assumptions that AA is the only way is annoying. But I agree with you that withought an honest self-appraisal and 'picking up the pieces' or 'cleaning off your side of the street', if you will, sobriety is likely to be shaky.

From all appearances, Frey's book sounds like more of a schlocky drunkalogue than a meaningful memoir on addiction and recovery.

JeffJan 13, 2006 at 2:48PM

I didn't say that. I was saying that people on this message board, on news programs, etc. are touting the book as one that has helped thousands or millions or trillions of people get off drugs. If anything, this book is a guide on how to relapse.

Short enough?

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:48PM

More concisely put,
self-important drivel. But I will read it before I make that judgment.

JenniferJan 13, 2006 at 2:48PM


Bravo! A do agree with your intial statement. His story true/or false is not inspirational either way. His writing is extremely poor, and his editor should have been fired. His story is not compelling, actually I found it quite commercial and boring, and he is quite the rebel, not a role model of any kind.

PoCho PeteJan 13, 2006 at 2:51PM

Well done Jeff...hahhaha..thanks for being good humored at my ribbing

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:52PM

Jeff, I have to admit also that I am far more concerned about the lies of this administration than I am any lies of some kid I never heard of before a month ago.
But that is another subject altogether.

In RecoveryJan 13, 2006 at 2:53PM

Bill...I was totally w/you until I read further to hear you say that in NA meetings u hear the word Jesus or the lords prayer. Have you ever been to an NA meeting?? I know in AA they say the Lords prayer....which is TOTAL bullshit...that is just 1 reason why I go to NA not AA...But I do agree w/everything you say in your 1st paragraph!

I forget who said about going to the bar & ordering a drink as soon as u get out of rehab... I mean really who the f**k would do that unless they had no intenions of staying clean...It just makes me wonder is the part about him being an addict true either?? What addict would ant to hang out in a bar practically everynight drinking soda while their friends get loaded.....bullshit...the only reason I ever went to a
bar was to drink & the last time I went to a bar (clean) I was bored to death & left after about an hour of being there...If I am not drinking I have no desire to be in that situation. It makes me want to drink too & more. This may not be the case for non-addicts..but for the addicts I know they have the same opinion

mary anne, rehab grad, '00Jan 13, 2006 at 2:53PM

Treatment center/rehab, somewhat like a convent frequented by 70 or 80 holy people with extremely high moral standards who read the rules and agree to abide completely by them. Or, treatment center/rehab somewhat like a community of individuals in various stages of addiction including housewives, crack whores, convicts, mayors, teenagers, grandmas, etc who read the rules and promptly and privately agree that they might try to follow some of them; no caffeine after 11 a.m., o.k., i'll brew it in my music, o.k. I'll take my boom box outside and take a walk in the woods while I listen to fraternization with the opposite sex and definitely no sex with the opposite or same sex, o.k. I'll go ahead and sneak off to the chapel, the men's room the community room, any room and hope I don't get up to scheduled activities or you'll be released, damn, I could be getting high by drugs or alcohol in rehab, o.k., have my boyfriend visit on Saturday, sneak some to me and hope they don't pull the old Monday morning mass piss test, if they do, I'll try to leave quietly as there's no reason for me to be beat up phone for the entire floor of female residents, beat up cuz a lot of us just don't like hearing that shit from the outside world...return trip to rehab, already know the rules and how to break them...a few people read the rules and try to abide by them because seriously scared that they might not get sober...darn, I should just write a memoir if I could only learn to use paragraphs and learn to tell the "truth." Attended two institutions of higher learning in Conn, one the state univ., the other rehab, got more out of the latter, a start on sobriety

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:53PM

Jeff, sometimes rebels can be role models...but it doesn't sound like this one is!

Joey SouthmeantJan 13, 2006 at 2:54PM

Molly's on the soapbox....look out :) not that I disagree....but stay on topic sister...christ!

WhateverJan 13, 2006 at 2:55PM


I do have experience in this area and I suspect that you do not have all of the facts surrounding the "stories" you have just told. However, I'm sure your stories are "true as you perceived it." (to quote your flawed logic from above)

BTW- It is very telling that you can find this thread but you have to ask someone else how to find the information regarding the train story.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 2:57PM

mary anne, sounds like the rehab I went to years ago...guess they haven't changed all that much. Still, rehashing it in a memoir? Tedious.

Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 2:59PM

Oh boy, Whatever likes to push people around...nice stuff...pick on the stupid girl....ahahhahhahah

In RecoveryJan 13, 2006 at 2:59PM

Molly...yes you are right "AA" isn't the only way...thank God for NA the fellowship tha tI belong to. Anyone can put the shit's the work "we" need to do after that!

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 3:01PM

Boy, people who come out of rehab/treatment sure do love to hear themselves talk, especially about themselves....who's next with their story....jesus, SHUT UP!

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:01PM

point taken joey..... uh, what's the topic? ;-)

Mary anne, some of us have a couple or few institutions of higher learning (or is it higher institutions of learning?) under our belt, and rehabs...
both can be useful. Or not.

oh yeah, topic. what is it?

Frey? That guy?

RealityJan 13, 2006 at 3:05PM

Is anyone else on here as sad and unnattractive as me? and that's why they're on here?

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 3:08PM

Be nice to Jennifer. She is fact checking. She is obviously a paralegal for the esteemed attorney William Kunsler.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:08PM

Little sleep last night and struggling to stay awake so I will sleep tonight. And too sick today to do much of anything else but read or be on the computer.

In RecoveryJan 13, 2006 at 3:11PM

Poo Nugget...So go ahead since you are the only one w/something worth while to say...say it, so we can ALL listen to YOU...

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 3:16PM

I grant you the gift of my silence...I didn't say that I had something important to say, I implied that you (and those like you) didn't....and didn't it feel good to type "Poo Nugget"?

MegJan 13, 2006 at 3:18PM

Civility, people. Those of you taking exception to Frey's aggressive adaptation of truth should be trying to conduct yourselves intelligently, and the rest of you arguing for compassion should probably appear compassionate. This discussion has devolved from a genuine debate on memoir and veracity into a name-calling, ID-switching, "listen to my recovery story, it's better than yours, just like my milkshake" mess of contradictions and bogus claims.

If you can't follow the rules below and if you're afraid to stand up and be counted for who you actually are (notice most names stopped being accompanied by any identifying hyperlinks... classic message board mudslinging transition), then who are you to debate regarding anyone else's dignity?

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:19PM

Okay, on to something beyond insults.
Those of you who liked Frey's book, what did you like.
Or not?
The excerpts I read seemed badly written. Not just stylistic, bad.
And if he fabricated it, then not genuine, either.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:20PM

There were some interesting articles or reviews I found googling, as to what a memoir is or should be. And what is or is not good (or stylisticly good) writing.

BryanJan 13, 2006 at 3:28PM

biznatch is an asshole and obviously a bigot so it makes sense that he would be a FREY fan. Probaly another macho posturer as well as a repressed homosexual himself.


Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 3:29PM

Where was there name calling? Didn't see any as I went back through...hmmmm
The book was entertaining, yes.....well written, no way...since I am not a chat room veteran, what is an identifying hyperlink and how do I use or not use one?

mary anneJan 13, 2006 at 3:30PM

You're right, I love to talk about me, love to tell my drunkaglogue, boring as it might be, all that drinking and passing out at home and no good bar stories...yep, tedious tale about starting to find recovery in rehab, tedious to you, joyful for me, haven't drank or drugged in five years, continuous participation in the dreaded 12 step fellowship, love listening to recovery in and out of the rooms, online, offline, one to one, in the written word...agree, lots of work and "I", brilliant as I am, do need the "we" part to stay clean and sober today,
Issues...have some, take care of them in therapy as some of us find that we need additional help
Guru, no: Recovering alcoholic with a story, yes...only tale I have to tell, hope you tell me yours because that's how I got sober and stay sober...
Absolutely love being clean and sober, life without chemicals, no magic, no miracles, just did what the other sober people did, in my own good time...clean time is a good time, etc. etc.
I like what Poo said, the gift of silence is good
til later

Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 3:31PM

besides biznatch much earlier and Bryan's staggering contribution

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:31PM

'identifying' hyperlink? Got me

BryanJan 13, 2006 at 3:31PM

Oh, by the way, if I called a person or a piece of art or media on being racist, wold that automatically make me a "nigger" or a "spic" as biznatch assumes?

Poo Nugget a.k.a Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 3:33PM

I like Mary Anne, more power to you...

KentJan 13, 2006 at 3:36PM

Does anyone recall in the book about him making fun of a guest speaker for over stating his problems? Its suppose to be a rock star, I think Steve Tyler, who Frey gets annoyed with when he talks about his addictions. And then he makes a statement thats bs for a person to do that and make drugs glamerous. Hmm. Someone needs to look in a mirror.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:38PM

You tell me your and I tell you mine? ;-)
But a badly written memoir based on fabrication?
That's a stretch...

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:41PM

Kent, that seems to be one of the many complaints about the book.
What is astounding is that it had so many good reveiws, even from the New York Times. What excerpts I've read are awful.

In RecoveryJan 13, 2006 at 3:41PM

Yes Pooh nugget it did....ahhhhh...yessssssss let me do it again..Poo Nugget...Poooooooo Nugget...:)

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 3:44PM

Yeah boys knock it off before you get your butts indentified and hyperlinked.

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 3:54PM

Was especially impressed by this post and thought I would repost is for them....PLEASE READ:
BooHoo says:
One of our biggest issues as a society, human race, culture is right in front of everyone on is the anonymity of the electronic is not connecting with other people on a real is working jobs that kill is denying your dreams at every corner because everyone says "can't", "don't", "no".....we are fucked....get away from your computer, go for a walk, jog, run...sit to your up all of these doors that we keep closing and locking....then maybe our brothers, sister, sons, daughter, mothers, fathers, friends....etc....won't feel the need to go away
» by BooHoo on Jan 13, 2006 at 12:46 PM

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 3:59PM

It's a good point. But computers and reading and the like are good when you can't get outside etc.
A disabled journalist friend ended up writing a mystery novel on his computer, and became a sysop...
Whatever works..

JenniferJan 13, 2006 at 4:01PM

according to this, James Frey was sentenced and must have served 28/30 days in jail, just as he claims. As for the train incident. He could have easily left the scene. He never claimed to be in the car with them. Who would know he was in town? And well its obvious he was arrested many times. Good enough.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:05PM

Jennifer, he said he was in the theater.

At the movies, he recalls, Sanders met up with Sperlik, who drove off with Sanders (Hall is not mentioned in the book), only to be slammed by an oncoming train at the railroad crossing. Sanders was killed and Sperlik was seriously injured.

As the person who enabled Sanders to be out that night, Frey says he was questioned by police and recalls being blamed for the tragedy by Sanders' parents and by her friends. "I took a lot of punches ... and every time I threw a punch back, and I threw one back every single time, I threw it back for her," he writes....his memories were disputed -- by the police report, by the chief police investigator and by Sanders' parents, both of whom could not recall his being close to Melissa, being with her that night or being blamed for the accident.

"Everything that I believe he wrote, even about my daughter ... was not an actual, the way the accident happened or anything," Marianne Sanders told the Smoking Gun. "I never heard his name in connection with it."

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:06PM

I quoted that from a book review.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:09PM

For a good memoir, try "Walk on Water" by Lorian Hemingway.
It's a novel, but is a memoir, really.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:11PM

Jennifer, did you read the entire article on TSG? It's pretty good.

PaulJan 13, 2006 at 4:14PM

"Cathy I'm lost" I said though I knew she was sleeping "I'm empty and aching and I don't know why"......counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike...we've all gone to look for America.....

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:16PM

eww Paul you're dating yourself. I love that song.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:16PM

But it's a song and not a memoir. ;-)

Concerned ReaderJan 13, 2006 at 4:17PM


Read the FULL smoking gun article. Especially, this page which pertains to Mr. Freys DUI arrest.

He bonded out, his parents picked him up. A week later he appeared in court and the charge was reduced to reckless driving and he was fined $305. THERE WAS NO JAIL TIME.

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 4:18PM

I'm's a little older than I am...:)
It's an emotion and moment in one's life that was beautifully put...

bnJan 13, 2006 at 4:20PM

Biznatch is back bitches!

Molly and Wendy you are a bunch of underhanded cunts trying to ban me!

Bryan - please take that cock out of your mouth before speaking to me so I don't get jizz on my shoe when I ram my foot through your motherfucking teeth!

and YES - I do want to see Brittany Murphy, or whatever starlet getting gangbanged under the pretense of "art"


Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 4:20PM

Jennifer, I think most of us on here have been through that material, but thanks for the summary :)

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:22PM

On that note, have you ever heard Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down"? Now that is a sorry lonely well written song about a drunk if I ever heard one. But then, Kristofferson was a writer (a better writer than actor, imho).

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:25PM

Oh and the photo of his parents - his father looks like he is pretty disgruntled with the whole schtick.

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 4:26PM

I haven't heard that one...will have to give it an ear some time...

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:28PM

Hmmm and his dramatized fear of being in 'maximum security'?
Maximum security for a drunk kid?
Prosecutors wanting to make an example of him?


Joey SouthmeatJan 13, 2006 at 4:30PM

He told a was entertaining....but not totally true...didn't really hurt anyone....move on...really...move on

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:31PM

"Well I woke up sunday morning
With no way to hold my head, that didn’t hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast
Wasn’t bad so I had one more for dessert
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt
It’s the one I’m wearin’
And I shaved my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day

I’d smoked my brain the night before
Or I smoked so much the night before
With cigarettes and songs that I’ve been pickin’
My mouth was like an ashtray I’d been lickin’
But I lit my first and watched a small kid
Cussin’ at a can that he was kicking
Then I crossed the empty street
And caught the sunday smell of someone fryin’ chicken
And it took me back to somethin’
That I’d lost somehow somewhere along the way

On a sleepin city sidewalk, wishin' Lord that I was stoned...
Cause there's something in a Sunday, makes a body feel alone"

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 4:34PM

Good stuff indeed

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:35PM

Yep, it is. I always liked Kristofferson songs...
although I don't much like to listen to them now. I had enough of those memories!

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 4:37PM

You ever read Bukowski's poetry, you might like it....

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:37PM

He wrote "Me ane Bobby McGee" also

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:38PM

No I haven't.

Poo NuggetJan 13, 2006 at 4:38PM

Seacrest Out!

PotfryJan 13, 2006 at 4:38PM

Random House announced that they are considering the following titles for the second run of "A Million Little Pieces:"

Angry Frat Boy Giggling Cops
Boy, Barely Interrupted
Rebel Without a Seatbelt
Jimmy Frey's Excellent Adventure
The Crazy Kegger When Jimmy Got So Busted!
Clapping Erasers: The James Frey Story
The Hopeful Thug
Upscale Suburban Madness!
Dude Where’s My Car Part II
The Winecooler Hooligan

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:41PM

I like "Rebel without a seatbelt"

I see what you mean by Bukowski

TommyBoy's SonJan 13, 2006 at 4:43PM


I love ya like a little sister, but you are trying to prove things that the almighty one himself (frey) confirmed were "embellishments" aka fiction.

He didn't serve any jail time (he acknowledged this) and not having read the book (have you?), it's my understanding that the book indicates that he was in the theatre when 'Michelle' got in the accident. Why have you taken it upon yourself to cover for Frey's "embellishments". You liked the book, great. Leave it at that.

It's not like you're gonna win his hand in marriage for defending him or something.

You're not his type anyway, apparently.

He likes hugging males. I mean A LOT.

Yeah, I know he's got a wife and everything (Does he? who really knows? Maybe in his own mind he has one and so essentially, he does).

But primarily, he likes heavy petting-- his dogs-- and Hugging men. Alot-lot-lot.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:46PM

Drunk and writing poems at 3 am?

Sounds a little like FSF "Crackup"...
and "In the real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day."

WhateverJan 13, 2006 at 4:49PM


All I have to say is, "Wow." I wish that James had written that the sky is purple so that I could read your defense of that.

BTW- When your husband or boyfriend or whatever tells you that they're "working late," they're not. Just trying to help you out kid.

WhateverJan 13, 2006 at 4:51PM

And by the way genius, that evidence you were looking for regarding the train? It's at the top of this thread.

softdogJan 13, 2006 at 4:54PM

Further damning evidence - Frey wrote the David Schwimmer movie Kissing a Fool. Not proof for or against his honesty, but damning all the same.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 4:57PM

Potfry that is an entertaining blog... never saw that one either.

BryanJan 13, 2006 at 4:58PM

Obviously the book did not inspire or help people too much...Biznatch is still a pathological rageful subliterate psychopath despite his near obsessive defens of the book.

I think biznatch wants to screw Frey. I think thats what thats all about.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 5:03PM

Hmmm "forgettable dialogue" and "dumb characters trying to plow their way through a morass of contrived situations"

I understand the film is about a poor sensitive writer in a dim-witted romantic triangle?

Book ReviewJan 13, 2006 at 6:01PM

It's easy to see why James Frey was originally going to publish his harrowing memoir, A Million Little Pieces, as fiction. It reads like a novel - with strategically-placed characters popping up to assist Frey in his time at a rehab clinic, and a race-against-time ending that has the reader literally tearing at the pages in order to finish.

In the end, we must be thankful that Frey opted for an autobiographical account because it results in a simple tale of triumph over adversity that sucks one in with its frank, heartfelt, emotional rollercoaster of a narrative, made all the more real by the fact that it's a true-story.

Book ReviewJan 13, 2006 at 6:02PM

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 7:06PM

ooops guess the true story part isn't so true?

mary anneJan 13, 2006 at 7:13PM

Does James have an HP?
Well, on page 370 he resorts to his "little Chinese book."
"This little book feeds me. It feeds me food I didn't know existed, feeds me food I wanted to taste, and have never tasted before, food that will nourish me and keep me full and keep me alive. I read it and it feeds me. It lets me see what my life in in simple terms, it simply is what is is and I can deal with my life on those terms."

"I open my eyes and I pick up the book and I read more. I read words like harmony, contentment, humility, understanding, intuition, nourishment. I read words like open, fluid, receptive, balanced, core. I read that if you close your mind in judgements and traffic in desire your heart will be troubled. I read that if you keep your mind from judging and aren't led by the senses your heart will find peace. I read close your mouth, block your senses, blunt your sharpness. I read untie your knots soften your glare settle your dust. I read that if you want to know the world, look inside your heart. I read that if you want to know yourself, look inside your heart. I set the book down I set it against my chest. I close my eyes my bed feels warm and soft against my back. I don't move I just lie there warm and soft against my back. Quietly breathing.
Not thinking.
Of me.
O f the world.
As it is."

In 12 step literature it is called "a spirtual awakening of the educational variety."

In the fellowships, I and any other person with a desire to stop drinking, is free to find his/her own understanding of what is called a "power greater than myself." I may call or not call that power anything I wish and no one will quarrel with me about is just my understanding.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 7:32PM

But Mary anne, is that the issue here? It seems the point is that he brazenly called fiction a 'memoir' to get it published. Whether or not Frey has a higher power is kind of irrelevant. Besides, who doubted he had a higher power? $$$$

Matty P.Jan 13, 2006 at 7:41PM

Hey guys I am a writer, an addict, a circus bear, and Captain of the USS Enterprise. I may have embellished my accolades a little. Any who, for all you addicts or would be addicts out there why not turn to some tried and true classics of addiction. Try "Drunk" by Burroughs it is a memoir and the facts can be proven as truthful. Hell, read "Go Ask Alice." or if fiction is your bag (and you fans of Frey I bet it is) try reading Less Then Zero. And if it makes you feel better Ellis had all sorts of drug problems. So go to some books that have withstood the test of time and an extensive background check. In conclusion, James Frey is a narcissistic windbag that fabricates details of the truth to pimp as a memoir because it could not make the cut as fiction 17 times. It's like fat girl that can't make the cheerleading squad and has MTV make her on "Made." Frey is nothing more then this week's poster boy for the young and fucked in America. Give it a week--there will be someone new. Also try reading The Dharma Punx also a TRUE story about addiction. IDIOTS!

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 7:42PM

"Feed me. Feed me"

Sounds like the Little Shop of Horrors.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 7:48PM

Well said, Matty!!!!
The "Young and the Restless" has become the "Yound and the Fucked"?
Oy vey maria, I am getting old. ;)

Maybe I will just curl up with a good mystery or thriller (fiction).
Actually, I did recently - Scorpion's Gate by Richard Clark.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 7:50PM

Do you mean "Dry" by A. Burroughs? Or was that a deliberate slip?

Listerine WidowerJan 13, 2006 at 7:52PM

For a more effective "Hold On" message, just buy a used copy of R.E.M.'s AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE. Michael Stipe imparts the same sentiment on "Everybody Hurts." It's cheaper than buying James Frey's book and only takes up five minutes of your time. Plus, it's got a sweeter beat.

And if you need it drummed into your head--well, that's what the "repeat" function is for.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 7:56PM

So isn't "hold on" with a lot of "ands" just another "Just say No?" OR am I missing something.....

Matty P.Jan 13, 2006 at 7:59PM

No but it would have been better if it was a deliberate slip. If you want a damn good biograpy (and I am being serious) read "A Heart Breaking Work of a Staggering Genius." or if you want a short and sweet fiction novel read "Ask the Dust" by John Fante. The ending made me cry like a 4 year old girl that just skinned her knee.

mary anneJan 13, 2006 at 7:59PM

Hi Molly,
No, I think I was caught up in a few people perhaps not liking 12 step fellowships and insisting that there is a "religious" message there, so, because I had no idea what addiction was, what alcoholism was, drinking myself to death and all that, I had a great fear of entering the rooms because of that whole issue and it is important for me to say what happened to me there because it is where I got sober, and continue to go. That's all. Don't want people to have "contempt prior to investigation" because the whole issue with me is that if there is someone reading this who is not as smart as say, Matty P., and that person wants to go to a meeting...well, don't be run off by what you read or hear...welcome at any time to attend an open meeting, form your own opinion, whether you're an addict or a circus bear.

KarenJan 13, 2006 at 8:05PM

I didn't believe parts of it (like not being able to look into his own eyes) but it's his story and I let him tell it in his own way.

Who cares if some of it is fiction or not. It's a great read - hard to put down - and inspirational.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 8:11PM

Fair enough, Mary Anne.

And Matty I will have to look up those books you suggested. I thought about going to the library or bookstore today but was too danged sick. So maybe tomorrow. I just read a revivw of "Ask the Dust" - sounds very interesting.

colleenJan 13, 2006 at 8:24PM

Thank God this guys cover has been blown. Who ever heard of having a root canal in detox? They give you valiums, why not novocaine. This books was so unbelievable it was laughable. The SCARY part is so many people believed him. All those people on the Harpo staff and not one of them in a 12 Step Program? Anyone who has been to treatment knows this guy was full of crap.

He is a very dangerous man. Anyone who reads his book and thinks they can go it alone, is walking a dangerous line. This guy personifies why it is easier to recover with other addicts. He still has a LIVING PROBLEM.

If he was working a 12 Step Program, he would be in a position to explore why he finds it necessary to be so dishonest with himself. This type of denial is what leads to relapse. Other recovering addicts would call him on his bullshit. Recovering by yourself does not work. lt may be possible to stay clean and sober, but who the hell wants to live like that.

me againJan 13, 2006 at 8:33PM

I just had a great brain fart, and this late in the day...where can you hear true stories told by addicts and alcoholics?
A meeting?
And for you literary types, besides the great "stories" listed above, there is that old standby, the Big Book.
And when all the analyzing is said and done, James told his "story" that's all. "Our stories disclose in a general way what is used to be like, what happened and what it is like now. " And so it goes.
The basis of recovery from addiction, as I understand it, is one alcoholic telling his "story" to another alcoholic. Simple as that. There are no "classics of addiction" It's a dirty disease, the stories are plentiful, you can listen to them any time you want. We don't check for veracity in the rooms, we listen. If you want to listen, you can too. If you want to talk, you can tell your story. If you want to be "clever" and cite classic addcition literature, well, we've heard it all before. It's really not a thinking man's disease, that's why it's called "Language of the heart." And so on and so on. I can't think my way into a better way of living, I have to live my way into a better way of thinking. And..."Never been anybody too stupid to get sober, just a few who were too smart." The sayings are plentiful, and in my experience, true. I used to enjoy great literature, rum and diet in hand, til i passed out before the happy ending.

Matty P.Jan 13, 2006 at 8:41PM

me again:

How very maudilin of you. My response was in response to everyone that held this piece of fish wrap as the how to guide to beating additcions as well as some great piece of contemporary literature. It is fiction and so I suggested other works of fiction and non-fiction. And if you want the greatest work of fiction ever perpetuated, hell you just listed in, "The Big Book." You infered that we are all blowhards & braggerts--may be true. Probably true the only people that get on this stuff like to menatly masterbate in cyberspace. You may have called us all out, but you posted too.

Erin KnoglerJan 13, 2006 at 9:00PM

i can't believe people are actually thinking they have been conned. It is mere stupidity to have gone into reading AMLP thinking it would be concrete truth. Frey did not write this book while he was in treatment, he wrote it 5 years later. He spent most of his life addicted to drugs and alcohol, which can definitely skew a persons perception of events. How about the conversation pieces? you think that was all the truth? It had been 5 years, recalling the past is never exact, and everyone has a different interpretation of events.
So what if he embellished. I thought AMLP was a great read. It was honest and brave and had me thinking about it for weeks after. None of these new revelations by TSG have had any affect on how this book resonated with me. It saddens me that people are so quick to jump on the hate bandwagon. i quite enjoyed freys writing style and he has done so well for himself. why anyone would want to knock him off his pedestal is beyond me. too much time on their hands i guess.
i just hope this bullshit ends soon. i'm so sick of hearing about it everywhere i turn.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 9:08PM

Resonated? Isn't that Oprah's word? Or is it something done with a tuning fork? True enough, Frey has done well for himself. Heck he even was discussed on Olberman tonight. As a fraud.

I can't imagine any addict or alcoholic not knowing they were inventing something out of whole cloth. I can understand vagueness with time, or blackouts, or....details fuzzy and the like. But major themes? Nah, I don't think so. Sure, he was in it for a buck, & the only reason he wrote it as a memoir is because he couldn't get it published as a novel. Wonder why?

mary anneJan 13, 2006 at 9:09PM

Nowhere have I heard or read that the author's intent was to present a "how to guide for beating addictions." A cynic you are, Matty, and well read, however there are millions of "contemporary" readers buying this book, putting it on the bestseller's list, which may be one test of whether it is a great piece of contemporary literature or not. I'm inferring from all your comments that you, voracious reader that you are, have read the book also. In the case of whether or not fellowship literature is "fiction," again, it seems that the first 12 step program had such wide readership and interest that there are now some 179 groups basing "recovery" from various addictions on those 12 steps. There are a bunch of us idiots out there who have actually joined fellowships, listened to stories, told our own and the only message is, recovery from addiction is possible. And yes, I posted, and will continue to do so. Like everyone, I have a story and it goes like this "I drank too much, too often, for too long. Got arrested, went to treatment through intervention, got sober in the rooms, stayed sober there. Continue to enjoy sobriety, have no urge to drink today. If you think you might have a problem with alcohol, then I invite you to listen to our stories and see if you can identify. Come when you want, leave when you want, say what you want, drink when you want, try not drinking, drink again, come back, don't worry about the odds, there are plenty of people just like you who came into the rooms skeptical and now live sober. End of story.

mollyJan 13, 2006 at 9:23PM

Mary anne are you suggesting matty is in need of AA? Or even drinks?
Why the defensiveness?

I have to say, this all is rather fascinating. An interesting look on people's perspective on this book. And on "the Program" (Capital intended).

Tomorrow I'm headed to the library/or book store ... gotta see this for myself.

There are many many people who get and stay sober in AA, and not in AA. The latter is something you don't hear much in AA, but in the many years I have been sober (and before that) I have seen both. What rankles me is the still prevalent assumption that only AA "works" and the implications of that on people's lives who choose not to go with the "Program". There is way too much of "sober up a drunken horse thief and you still have a horse thief" mentality which (deliberately) implies if you are not in AA, you aren't really "sober". Nonsense. By the way, that isn't even in the Big Book. The Big Book talks about humility and not having the only answers. Maybe a few in AA should read the Book they trumpet so loudly.

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 9:46PM

Paragraphs, Mary Anne, Paragraphs.

Contrived or not.

We all need a visual break now and again.


SatineJan 13, 2006 at 9:56PM

Can I just say that I laughed out loud when I read this:

Newsflash: CNN reported all future editions of AMLP will contain an authors note.
A little future damage control disclaimer.
"Dear readers, this is the Willy Wonka version of my life...enjoy."

My favorite part about this is the hilarious fake authors notes.

Keep 'em coming.


Mary AnneJan 13, 2006 at 10:00PM

Oh, the paragragh thing. And I do my best writing in the stream of consciousness technique.

My "you" was not directed at Matty. One thing I have learned in sobriety is that people are not always talking to me, or about me. So, no, I was not inferring anything about Matty or any addictions he may or may not have.

I have said earlier, I respect anyone who is sober and know there are people who have shared here that got clean and/or sober outside of the fellowship and I am always willing to listen to any recovery story, because I can learn something. I have repeatedly said that the fellowship is where I got sober, and reference it as a place to hear addicts and alcoholics tell their stories.

Roland, who first brought the "message" of recovery from alcoholism to Ebby and hence to Bill W., stayed sober in the Oxford group and not in the fellowhip.

Do I get points for paragraphs? For breathing? Does anybody like my story? Would anyone consider publishing it? Oh, Matty, the real reason I hate you is that I was one of those fat girls who did not make the cheerleading or majorette squad. I think it was shortly after those episodes that I first took up serious drinking. You know, throw the cap away, we won't be needing it.

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 10:09PM

And by the way, whoever asked the question "are any of you as unattractive and boring as me?" or something like that.

Now that's and honest question.

And in my case the answer is...of course.

I'm five foot two at best. Balding, but with lots of hair (auburn in color) everywhere else except my head. I'm quite sure that one or more of my teeth are rotting--I can almost hear them rot as I type.

I'd like to pick my nose. No No No. You heard me wrong. I don't like to pick my nose.

What i was saying is, since my nose is so big, I'd like to choose some other nose for me that wasn't so darn big.

One more thing: I'm always nude when i post. But because I'm so ugly, I could only dream about some babe snorting stuff off of my...
a la Frey

Unfortunately, I must reveal my last real truth...since we're sharing

if some babe ever did snort stuff off my...

well let's just say, it wouldn't take very long. And she wouldn't have to move her neck at all.

I'm done. Thanks for lis'nen.

Now, where are my rosary beads when i need 'em?

Erin KnoglerJan 13, 2006 at 10:14PM

i'm sure when he wrote this book he had no idea that it would be the number one best selling non-ficiton work of the year. he had no idea oprah would praise it and want it part of her bookclub. he had no idea his work would recieve such scrutiny, which it did, only because of how popular it became. frey did not write this book for money. he was unknown and without the help of oprah who's to say how well AMLP would have done.

also people seem to have some sort of problem with how he grew up in a well to do home. i went to a rich kid private school when i was growing up and drug use was rampant, because everyone had money and most people's parents were to busy making money to keep on top of what their children were up to.
some of you don't even seem convinced that he was ever addicted to drugs, that the whole story is lie after lie. i would ask you why you get such kicks out of trying to ruin the credibility of this book. a lot of people think it's amazing.
i'm one of them.
if you don't, then move on with your sorry little lives.

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 10:14PM

Mary Anne--

You're alright.

But then again, look where this praise is coming from.

TerryJan 13, 2006 at 10:19PM

If James Frey is like the rest of us addicts, at some point he must ask himself: Am I really an addict? It's not for anyone else to decide but him. But still, one has to wonder...

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 10:26PM


That was Powerful. Thank You.

We are all done posting now.

man! i feel like such an idiot!! what was i thinking? why am i posting on this board when 16 year old Erin can totally cut throught the crap in one post... god i love rich, lucid, curvy sixteen year olds. really, she doesn't have to be rich. she just has to love a five foot two, balding man with rotting teeth and a big nose. although, I'm a bit older as well. I'm 67 and three quarters. Would love to see Erin jump out of my 68 year old cake.

mary anneJan 13, 2006 at 10:27PM

Tommy Boy,
Thank you for the praise. No thank you for that disgusting business about your nose.

And I forgot to mention, and it's very important to me, I am no longer fat!

How did I do that?

Well, I joined this group, not really a fellowship. It was called Weight Watchers, I think, and neither your anonymity nor your weight was guaranteed there.

And some of the people there had found that their weight had become a problem, a health problem, a self esteem problem, a 'can't shop in juniors problem etc." They were telling "losing weight stories."

Well, some of them had successfully lost weight, so I decided to try their "program," it involved eating boring food, exercsiing (God Forbid), sticking with it, some self discipline, long term commitment, small changes over time and so on...

I really didn't think it was for me, but I kept going anyway, and one day, after following their suggestions, I lost a pound, then another pound, and soon many pounds...

Come to think of it, I used the same method to get sober. Admitted I had a problem, went and listened to the people who had the same problem I had, followed their suggestions even though they sounded stupid, stuck with it one day at a time, learned to count the days and then make the days count,

Oh, I know, it's getting boring and I'm off to bed. No nighcap. No twinkie.

The end

JohnJan 13, 2006 at 10:30PM

I am a recovering alcoholic that got sober in AA. My sister is a recovering alcoholic that got sober another way, not in AA. However, we both had one thing in common, WE BOTH GOT HONEST!!!!! James Frey's story sounded kind of crazy from the git-go. Bloody on the plane?? Playing cards during groups at Hazelton?? I think not! I've been there. Girlfriend hung herself in a halfway house in Chicago during that time frame. Sorry again. I'm a Chgo Police officer and no one is aware of this incident except Mr. Frey. Either he's not an alcoholic at all or he's using something now or will be very soon due to his inability to be honest.

terryJan 13, 2006 at 10:30PM

p.s. A lot of us got sober through 12-step out of desperation. Those who stayed did so out of love (we like it).

TommyBoyJan 13, 2006 at 11:39PM

Mary Anne--

When I said the thing about being 5 foot two, I was talking about my width..waist-waste.

I'm just under five foot in height.

And what is so disgusting about a large probiscus?

Are you making fun of my essential truths?


mollyJan 14, 2006 at 12:28AM

MaryAnne, I just started Weight Watchers. It is a day at a time. I gained a lot of weight just in the last few years. That's my 'challenge' now...

John, I agree. It's the facing ourselves, getting honest that is important - in or out of AA. Not easy to do. I've faced two very difficult issues in my life (other than weight now). One was drinking, and the other was/is serious autoimmune illnesses. It is true that when we are young, we (or many of us) think we are invincible. Even after I got sober, I took my health for granted. Then I was hit in the face with the possibility of being disabled. That was a blow. And it all is part of life.... a real life, not some fabrication. Denial can be just as insidious in facing health problems of kinds other than drinking...

Olberman (news) focus on Frey tonight was what impact the book and his contrived 'badassness' might have on recovering addicts. I don't know the answer to that, but I don't respect Frey for his dishonesty and hyping the book as a true memoir. And the excerpts I've read are not impressive. He strikes me as a spoiled rich kid. Hmmm, not unlike the yahoo in the White House. But we all have opinions.

Now I'm going back for some mint tea and see if I can get some sleep.

Tommy, short men are sexy. ;-) I got one of 'em. He's been sober a long time too.

ULJan 14, 2006 at 12:42AM

Does anyone want to guess how many people have been fired from Oprah's staff after this Frey fiasco ?

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 1:04AM

i love how many of the people commenting here haven't even read the book. oh! you read excerpts! wow...ya that makes your posts totally vaild.
i assume when UL posted about guessing the number of people fired from oprahs staff for this frey bullshit, that he actually doesn't have a real answer for that. i would like to guess NONE, as that is probaly the case. oprah stands behind frey and AMLP. why would she come out and say that and then go around firing her staff. that would make her look bad. everyone is trying to make such a big deal out of this. my god, it's a book people. one you have the choice in reading or not...definitely not the end of the world.

TommyBoy's puddykittenJan 14, 2006 at 1:07AM

c'mon c'mon c'mon!!

I just tied off!!

no one want's to play anymore

the water's nice and warm
jump in someone
don't be a frey-de-cat

TomCatJan 14, 2006 at 1:12AM


Bless you're ignerint soal


mollyJan 14, 2006 at 1:18AM

Oh my. It looks like there will be a consumer fraud action against the publisher. This is hysterical.

TiffanyJan 14, 2006 at 1:27AM

What I find most frustrating is how Frey is being discounted because he's a "rich kid", a "frat boy" How could an addict finish college? Obviously these people know NOTHING about addiction.

Tripp MillsJan 14, 2006 at 1:34AM

James Frey, James Frey please go away, come back and tell the truth some rainy day. Okay. For starters I hated the book. I got to the root canal crap and put it down. Give me a break. But opinions are subjective and like ...holes - everybody's got one. Some people claim the book was inspirational, gutwreching and spoke volumes of...something. What? Hope? Redemption? I'm tired of the praise it gets for what is really an incredibly romantic protrayal of a fraudulent experience. What's so redeeming about ripping people off? Second. The style of writing is juvenile. Third. I think his mother is creepy. What kind of tough crack smoking ex-felon and priest bludgeoning guy is he? He's a changed man? Changed from what? James Frey is a good con man. He's a schiester. Fourth. Oprah. All the Oprah groupies fell in love with him because Oprah luuuuved the book. But she luuuuves Dr. Phil. (I won't go there don't worry.) She's got more money than anybody so she can buy anything she wants - including the American public's gullability into believing anything she endorses. I think anyone who buys James Freys next book and is searching for the truth needs rehab. And while I'm at it, even Oprah said she hasn't read the "JT Leroy" book on James' 3 months in prison - hello Oprah - the guy never went to prison! This is all so ludicrous. Am I jealous? You're damn right I'm jealous. James Frey has made more money than most if not all of us will ever see. He got the brass ring and all the controversy is just increasing his bank accounts. I want to write my fabricated memoirs and make millions. Damn it Larry King. Just call it like it is. He wants to be the greatest writer of his generation. The guys ego is biggr than manhattan. Will all this success go to his head? Will he relapse? Who cares. It's not going to make a difference in my life. I think he's the most dangerous thing to happen to people strugglling with addiction and trying to recover. His mantra "Hold on" is the most retarded thing I've heard of. What should I tell the crack friend down the street to do when he's homeless and dying of his addiction...hold on! I know more recovering addicts who overcame much more than anyting this guy dished out. Phew! What more can I say? I don't like him. I think the guys creepy man. I'm sick of seeing his face on CNN. So with my last diss on the subject can we move to more important matters: like who get's to play him in the movie? Well I doubt they will ask Heath Ledger or Jake Gylenhal because of the gay cowboy thing. Doesn't jive with Frey's macho tough guy image. But I'm sure Oprah will push for Tom Cruise.

AndrewJan 14, 2006 at 1:43AM

Erin K,

Your defense of the book is predictable if not a bit interesting. In essence you are arguing that even if James did lie and even if he did use the death of a girl he did not really know all that well to "make his story" that it is all really OK because (wait for it) he did not know that it would ever become so popular? Wow. The facts say differently but then again, why be bothered by those. Frey himself (prior to TSG) article was none too shy about telling all of us just how important he seemed to think himself. He took at least one shot at author Dave Eggers and claimed that he was going to write the best book of his generation. That alone is enough to lead anyone not totally awe-struck by the Rage-of-Frey that he very much thought his book WOULD become a success.

I don't much care that he was a rich kid. No one here seems to object to his parents having money or for giving him some of that money. The objection here (and there are many) from those who think Frey a fraud is that if he lied about the stuff that built up the validity of his redemption then where exactly does that leave his conversion from Criminal to Oprah endorsed inspiration?

So, he only lied about his arrest record, time spent in jail and the death of a girl whose parents probably suffered a bit more anxiety than did Frey. Some see this as a no-big-deal issue but to me it is the crux of the issue. His entire personality of being a bad ass is based on the smaller details. Think about this. How would it have been if he had inked?

"Back in 92, in my car, my car, slightly buzzed, in my car. I have beer, one beer and I pull up on to a curb and I almost hit a telephone poll. F YOU telephone poll. Almost showed the telephonic wooden symbol the "Rage." A cop comes to my window and I cooperate and go to the station with him. Head is pounding, need Tylenol. Bail, Bail, Bail.....I call my parents, the parents I hate, called them and they show love and I hate them for it and they Bail me out and in five hours I am free with my beer, my beer and I, free in my own prison. Alone again, Free to be an Addict, Alcoholic and Criminal. Where is my glue to breathe in and my Michele to hold me together?"

Who would have purchased that tale of Criminal Behavior? And who would have thought "redemption" from that would involve anymore than the wiping of a nose and growing up?
There are 12 year olds who get in more trouble at the local skate rink than James did with his car and a curb.

He built this house of cards. I just don't understand why so many (including Oprah, who seems to demand truth from most) are trying so hard to keep it from being blown over.

You then ask why so many seem to be having so much fun trying to ruin the credibility of his book? Well, wrong question. I think it more fair at this point to ask why Mr. Frey did not think we (as the public) would not call him out if he wrote a book pretending to be one thing when in fact it was really something very different. He is not a King, we have the right to question his honesty if he gives us reason to.

And that is not writer envy or jealousy over his "money" or anything of the sort. I don't care who he/she is. If an author puts non-fiction on the cover and offers no disclaimer and it winds up being something else not only should he be questioned, people like you (defenders of his work) should not be at all surprised when he is. James got caught. Not by the law in three states that probably never wanted him but by some people who simply asked, "Hey Criminal, what about this part?" That is not only fair but should be expected.


TommyBoyJan 14, 2006 at 2:26AM

what i think is so sad is that, we as fans or critics of the book could be doing what is for sure the worst thing for the author of the book.

he is in a very scared state right now.

think about it, people.

he prolly just had, like steak and lobster for dinner with his wife

And his

boyfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend, dog, boyfriend, boyfriend, mother, boyfriend, boyfriend, other dog, his other dog's boyfriend, the first dog's boyfriend, his cat's girlfriend's rear-end, his cul-de-sacs dead-end boy's band dad's right hand main gland on the mainland

and that's a lot. that's a-lot-lot-lot-lot.

for what it's worth:

i think his lisp is an affectation.

I mean he's gay, all right.

the lithp is just an embellishment.

my thwoo thenths

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 2:29AM

andrew. i have no clue what you are talking about.
"In essence you are arguing that even if James did lie and even if he did use the death of a girl he did not really know all that well to "make his story" that it is all really OK because (wait for it) he did not know that it would ever become so popular?"
first, i never said he lied about the death of the girl, i'm not sure who you are even referring to, lilly or michelle? i said he changed and exaggerated some things to better the story, that being mostly his criminal past. that doesn't bother me, it's not a key element of the real truth in what this book is about.
second, i never said it was ok to lie because he didn't think many people would read it. rearrange my words much? maybe you could take a lesson in the truth. all i meant was that if any memoir became as popular as this one did, and TSG did some research, i bet there would be lies and exaggerations in it as well. you would have to be very naive to go into reading a memoir thinking it is gonna be point by point truth and nothing but. i think lending creativity to the story is totally fine by me. i do not feel like i was conned, i'm not hailing james frey as a greedy liar.
I read AMLP in one sitting. i was captivated immediately. the end was like a punch in the throat, i spent days after reading it, thinking about it. i had a very real, very emotional connection to his story. nothing TSG reveals changes my opinion at all.
james frey is a briiliant writer. all these accusations of him making up certain details just makes me think he's all the better of a writer.
i can't believe lawyers are set to sue, consumer fraud....why has this been taken to such ridiculous extremes?
i feel bad for frey. he doesn't deserve this backlash. he's just a guy who tried to do the world some good by writing AMLP. he has done good, real good. many people have been touched by it and it has changed many lives. how can anyone be against that?

TommyBoyJan 14, 2006 at 2:40AM


you are too good to be true. bless your heart.

what i would give to be taller than five feet with hair on my head, slighter of schnozz, fifty-eight years younger and fucking pathetically stupid.


just brings me way back to the teenage mutant turtle stage.

them were the days

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 2:42AM

tommyboy, you are such a kind heart.

TommyBoyJan 14, 2006 at 3:01AM

don't try that with me, Erin.

I am an alcoholic, an addict and uh Criminal.

I am a very Bad person (but if you can figure out a way to spank me on line, i'm game)

i'm thinking of a number between one and one and 3/4

any guesses?

Maureen M.Jan 14, 2006 at 3:41AM

Very intersting comments I have read on this site. I have long term sobriety and got that way by the truth. The truth set me free. I read the book and kept an open mind. I bought the book expecting to read the truth. One of the biggest dissapointments was him being so negative towards 12 step programs. 12 step programs have helped millions of people recover. If James is so concerned with helping the alcoholic addict then trashing other ways of recovery is not helpful or beneficial to people looking to recover. It also doesnt mean that in order to recover that you have to belong to 12 steps programs because that isnt so. People find there way and what works for them and as long as it works that is what matters. There are also people in 12 step recovery who recover without a higher power in there life. Aithiests , agnostics and they are in 12 step programs and doing well. Assumptions about what something is or what it does is very damaging. I belong to a 12 step program and have watched and seen people come back from complete hopelessness and families coming back to life. It is not about promotion it is attraction and that attracts me. I talk of my experience not my opinion.

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JoyceJan 14, 2006 at 6:52AM

As I read the book it hit home, because I have a 38 year old son whom is a crackhead addict. He has had a REAL ADDICTION from the beginning. I was somewhat doubting James's addiction, and now I totally believe that the entire book of Million Little Pieces was all bullshit. I do not believe one frigging word that was written in this book. I hate people that CLAIM ADDICTION and in fact only rubs the ADDICTION HARD DRUGS into faces of loved ones that deals with this in their families. James Frey if you had an addiction as you spoke of in this book, THEIR IS NO WAY IN HELL you could JUST STOP. My heart dies also with my son, but I know I can do nothing. Your family being a part of this scam is shameful and disguesting, ALL OF YOUR TIME of disaster has come by using the almighty dollar and all of us that deal with REAL ADDICTION in our families for your own benefits. Maybe with your own child you will experience what REAL ADDICTION is all about. When you started out in the book of NOT BELIEVING IN GOD, I knew then you were one strange and sick person. May you rest in totally miserable days of your life or perhaps now you will actually become an ADDICT. SHAME, huh? On the interviews even before this FRAUD came out you could not once look at the camera or the person that was interviewing you. Oh that's right it was Ophrah, not sure how she plays in the role too. With the fact that your Mother just happen to be in the audience, bullshit, it was staged. I have no respect for ANY OF YOU.

PedroJan 14, 2006 at 7:18AM

if i tried to sell you a book about a frat boy living on mommy and daddy's dime(imagine that out of hand drinking and drugs use during college years), would it really sell as fiction? would Oprah have prodded her fan base to purchase this, let alone listed it in her book club if it were fiction?

mary anneJan 14, 2006 at 9:52AM

Good morning Tommy boy,
I see that you are headed down a dangerous road...toward sexual addiction. Oh, you think it is going to be so much fun, filled with good times, beautiful women, the proverbial boy in the donut shop eating all the doughnuts he wanted...
Well, Tommy, boy, I, a virtuous woman (just for today because opportunity has not yet presented itself) am going to recommend some hard core sexual addiction literature you might want to read before you head down that dangerous, alluring path...
It will be later though as I am off to creative writing class where they teach paragrapsh and punctuation and such...

linkJan 14, 2006 at 10:49AM

LOL check out Freys website BIGJIMINDUSTRIES. Invites you to the chat...scroll down to the drop down menu...he writes 'if you are an asshole looking to cause trouble come here" LOL I think Jimmy's in a wee bad mood; gee, I hope he doesn't summon the Fury...I'm trembling.

Bronwyn BlackJan 14, 2006 at 11:03AM

Sweet Baby James,
OK, so I did read My Friend Leonard. And just in AMLP, it doesn't matter terribly much to me how much is and isn't exact fact. What does matter is the soul of the stories you had to tell. Are they true? Did you face down that puking, snot and bile-smeared monster as you say? Hon, you don't need to exagerrate the hell you were in. Whether or not there's a Record or a Document or a misplaced triplicate doesn't matter. Hell is hell, whether or not someone else is noticing. And is THAT part true, your. ferocious journey from its depth, with only yourself to draw on? THAT is the story, James, therein lies the heroism, and I'm so sorry the world is such that you had to add bells and frills to get your story heard. As for Leonard, thank you, thank you again for enriching my life with such a real and life-changing character. Ashes on the golf-course, what a divine trip. And I'm certain sweet Leonard loved every moment of it.

I've been sober for over a year now. Without a higher power, without enacting the 5th or 8th or zeroeth step. And I love and honor those for whom that process has worked. And I ask again, Sweet James, was the essence of your story real?

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 11:09AM

The 'details' that made Frey a "Criminal" and "Addict" created the 'essence' for his alleged 'redemption'. The book was marketed and sold as a 'true' memoir, not fiction. That is why it sold. As fiction, it never would have been published, because there was no story.

I too have started reading it now and find it ridiculous. I doubt if I will finish it.

Yes, all this controversy will just make Frey richer.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 11:18AM

Um this is about the most concise description I have yet found. The author was referring to a boilerplated "rehab" memoir, and specifically Frey's book:

"Emotionally clichéd, intellectually vapid and stylistically excruciating, the vast majority of these books rely on boilerplate format: Start with the darkest, most hackneyed account of one's downfall; invent a lily-white and utterly infantalized vision of goodness and redemption at the other end of the scale; and proceed swiftly from one to the other, simplifying all emotion along the way."

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 11:40AM

The 'essence' of the book may well be true. That Frey is a liar and a con. Just maybe not really a big (or little) time ex-con.

Reminds me of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. So long suckers and thanks for all the fish.

WhateverJan 14, 2006 at 11:55AM


In several interviews Big Jim has stated that he had to do projects like the David Schwimmer screen play so he would have the opportunity to do "important" work like AMLP. So when you state that he didn't plan on this becoming a big hit, you are dead wrong. It was his entire agenda.

You can also find many an interview where he boldly states that he plans on being the best thing in literature.

I've got news for you, you don't know this man that you hold so near to your heart and he's got you and all of your ilk conned.

You say I had a choice to read the book? You're right, and I chose to but and read a true-life story, that's what I spent my money on because that is what I waas sold.

After Jimmy had my money, THEN I found out I was deceived, no choice in that matter.

Matty P.Jan 14, 2006 at 11:58AM

Punk in Drublic

Sorry I went out and actually did something last night. It was a glorious night where I pounded 200 beers,got into a mad fight with a bengal tiger, andhad a 3 way with Katherine Zeta Jones and Pam Anderson. Well maybe I embellished a little bit. Actually, I just straight up lied, none of that happned--that is what Frey did. So he can stand by his book all he wants and so can his lying mother as well so she get an x-mas card from Oprah. This is getting old and hopefully the public will dismiss Frey as quickly as they embraced him. Thanks for the discussion guy and gals, and oh whomever said that I am in need of AA that was petty. Usually it takes people hrs. to tell that. Take care.

WhateverJan 14, 2006 at 12:03PM

"So what if he embellished. I thought AMLP was a great read. It was honest and brave....."

Huh??? How does that last sentence jive with the first?

WhateverJan 14, 2006 at 12:10PM

"i feel bad for frey. he doesn't deserve this backlash. he's just a guy who tried to do the world some good by writing AMLP. he has done good, real good. many people have been touched by it and it has changed many lives. how can anyone be against that?"

He's a screenwriter that wrote a screenplay as the truth, and you are a fool looking for false hope anywhere you can find it.

"just tried to the world some good"? Jesus, I think I'm the one who's about to be covered in vomit and urine.

WhateverJan 14, 2006 at 12:17PM

Just a guy wanting to do some good in the world by writing AMLP.....

Aside from the bill-paying cash Kissing a Fool generated, screenwriting honed skills and laid the groundwork for his true calling: long-form prose, which up to that point he hadn't yet mastered. Now he has, and then some. Reviews so far are stellar. Famous authors--Pat Conroy, Bret Easton Ellis--are singing his praises, hailing him as the next big thing.

While appreciative of the attention, Frey is surely not surprised. In fact, living up to his reputation as a straight shooter, he's made no bones of declaring that he'd like nothing more than to go down in history as one of the best novelists of his generation, a lofty proclamation perceived by some as arrogant bluster. Frey sees it somewhat differently.

"I don't have any issues with saying that I'm ambitious, I don't have any issues with saying that I want to be remembered as one of the greatest writers of my age. There's no problem with me saying that," he said. "That's the ambition. I don't want to be mediocre. I don't want to write books that go out of print in five years.

"I didn't set out to be anything but a great writer. I don't care if somebody calls me a 'literary bad boy' and I don't care if they don't. It's not any of my concern. People can say whatever they want about me. And I know that's gonna happen, and I'm fully prepared for it to happen. My concern is what I do when I sit down and I work. And my concern is if I can look myself in the mirror when I wake up in the morning. And my concern is if I make my family and my wife and the people I work with proud of me. Beyond that, I don't give a s---."

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 12:20PM

He doesn't deserve this backlash? Are you kidding?
1. He gives real writers who write real memoirs a bad name
2. He lied and sold a lie as truth, becasue he couldn't get it published as
3. He further lied when he told all the interviewers he told it 'like it was'.

He wasn't trying to 'do the world some good'. He was trying to do James Frey some good. To date, he's made about $5 million off bad writing and a lie.

That's 'doing the world some good'???

Tripp MillsJan 14, 2006 at 12:36PM

I don't know who said it but let's face it. I think James is gay. He is acting out. Has anyone outed him?
The relationship with his mommy...the macho badboy image...the girly-man voice of his...all that self-hate...that fury...that rage...hmmm.

could explain a lot here.

"Hold on" James. "Hold on."

JessicaJan 14, 2006 at 12:50PM

I think this has sparked a fascinating discussion about addiction, recovery, truth, ego, and how our society comes up with heroes to follow.

Frey is lower than pond-scum in my opinion, having somehow scraped together the moral strength to be able to face millions on television and on the web and promote falsehoods. This tells me there is not one shred of recovery in this man.

Before I read this book, I prayed thinking that maybe this was going to be God's direction to me to use a 12-step program. When I found out Frey did not support 12-step programs, I actually stopped for a few days to consider what God meant me to get from the book given its anti-12 step message. I wondered if Frey had something to offer, even though I thought his approach dangerous and unwise.

I do feel cheated and duped, however, because he did not give us the correct impression of the truth in the book. It makes me want to tell my story in a memoir because my TRUTH would be a compelling story of hell, even more powerful because it is true. Frey deserves every ounce of emotional pain he receives from this fiasco, and I must say, I have been praying for him -- maybe THIS is the kind of hitting bottom he needs to get some humility and rely on God.

AndrewJan 14, 2006 at 12:52PM


My point was that while you did not come right out and say that it was OK for Frey to lie because he never thought the book would be popular you did offer up that fact as a defense. (What A defense of what I am not sure but I have read your first paragraph a few times and you are at the very least making an excuse for him. Since the something that he is going through right now is that he got caught making shit up for a book he published as non-fiction, I concluded that you were somehow defending his practice of writing one thing, living another. If you still have no idea what I am talking about then I will have to conclude that you simply don't care understand as opposed to being unable to.

JessicaJan 14, 2006 at 1:05PM

Quote that I live by: The only way you can truly control how you're seen is by being honest all the time."

I thought James Frey lived by this motto too. Apparently, not at all.

AndrewJan 14, 2006 at 1:13PM

"One thing that's always been important to me is that nobody who has ever been in one of my books has ever had a problem with anything I've written," Frey continues. "They've never disputed my version of events or felt offended by it, even when I didn't write about them in a positive way. Which means something." (Author James Frey on Book Page during an Interview).

Actually James there is a police officer and the parents of a girl killed by a train that might just disagree.

Lying in his book, lying in his interviews. Can anyone here actually show me something he has said that is true?


Tripp MillsJan 14, 2006 at 1:19PM

In response to what Erin K said...
How can you say no one was conned?...I mean that's the crux of this whole debate. He basically sold a lot of books as a piece of non-fiction and then he got busted for embellishing his memoir which means he lied. Creative liberties and all. He had hundreds of thousands believing he was tellling the truth. They spent their money. They were conned. And I'm sorry folks - the majority of that book is a lie.
I am sober eight years and knew from the first paragraph it was a lie. How is lying about your experience helping another?...I don't get that. If I were still in the throws of my addiction and I found out this book I staked my life on was fraudulent, I would say F it. That's how addicts think. What this book does so brilliantly is confirm peoples suspicions of what drug addicts are about. Go to any 12 step meeting in your home town and tell me what you really see. Nothing glamorous at all. And I would check your research. He wrote the first draft when he was 10 months sober. That in itself is a cautionary note. Newly sober people tell tall tales and compare war stories; it's the nature of the beast. And I'm pissed because I'm sober and nothing about this rings true. Which is an insult to me and everyone else dealing with addiction. He shared his story from the podium and it was the story of a F'ed up newcomer.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 1:52PM

I hope you find what you need in terms of a recovery program or help.
Frey is not a role model of any kind of recovery. His forte seems to be in crass exploitation for big bucks. Hardly a shining example of recovery.

I'm curious to see what kind of 'disclaimer' the publisher prints in the new edition. Somehow 'names and places may be altered...' doesn't quite seem right when it is pure fabrication.

somervilleJan 14, 2006 at 2:27PM

I was trying to fact check the book today at Barnes and Noble. I have been to Hazelden and I found so many falsehoods and inaccuracies in his socalled description of the place that I for one believe he has never ever set foot in that place.

He gets everything wrong..... from the smaller things like that men and women are totally segregated in separate sections in the cafeteria ( they can eat with each other) to the fact that patients get "free" phone calls (huh ?) and can call anyone they want within days of arriving there. There are no free phones, just pay phones and you bascially can't have any contact with the outside world for a good long while.
And what's up with his description of being constantly woken up screaming by people detoxing?These days, they have excellent medications for people who are detoxing so they won't go through DTs and scream, etc. And all the macho guys who are testing each other and calling each other Mother******? All the guys - and many of them from much tougher backgrounds than Frey- acted like lambs. The staff is excellent at breaking down any macho defenses one might bring to the place, but the process of getting sober is so exhausting and trying and disorienting that most don't have the energy to get all riled up. It's a gentle place. This book was hogwash from beginning to end and boy I hope Hazelden comes forward and says this guy was never a patient there.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 2:38PM

Treatment centers had medication for withdrawal 20 years ago when I was in treatment. Then they separated the detox from the main treatment center, anyway. But nobody was screaming, and most had tougher or longer problems that Frey had. Men and women. There were some attempts at 'romance' or at least there were rumors of it, but those were pretty quickly quashed.

It's disturbing that any addict might find 'inspiration' in this book, and think they can succeed as Frey allegedly has.

MelissaJan 14, 2006 at 3:18PM

I have read A Million Little Pieces and started reading My Friend Leonard, Frey's new book. I really dont care if Frey embellished parts of his criminal record or all of his criminal record. The book wasnt about his criminal record, it was about his personal drug and alcohol addiction from his own perspective! Seriously, i dont understand why peoples feelings are hurt or why people are let down by Frey embellishing parts of his book? I am sure every memoir writer has embellished or exaggerated something...anything in their own books! I believe it is ridiculous this conterversy and think people should be privelaged to read any of his story at all that i know has helped others, maybe it hasnt made any type of positive impact on smoking gun, but smoking gun can seriously...shut up!

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 3:27PM

Shut up? Wow Melissa do you know this guy?
Therre is a difference between embellishment and pure fabrication.
I don't believe any of what this guy has to say.

Michele FordJan 14, 2006 at 3:42PM

TSG – A Million Unbelievable Mistakes

TSG owes Frey and the public an apology. In trying to fry Frey, and increase the site’s cache, TSG writes an unprecedented “investigative journalistic” piece where TGS’ main conclusion is this: “The closest Frey has ever come to a jail cell was the few unshackled hours he once spent in a small Ohio police headquarters waiting for a buddy to post $733 cash bond.” But this conclusion is not even supported by TGS’ own documents.

For example, TSG relies on a 1988 Docket Sheet to “prove” Frey did not go to jail for a week for a DUI arrest when aged 17, and did not set a record of .36 blood alcohol level – as Frey wrote. (see AMLP, p. 94).

But Frey was born on September 12, 1969. The Docket sheet is about a DUI arrest that occurred in 1988, when Frey was 19 years old. The arrest record TSG used was for a different arrest entirely, and doesn’t even list Frey’s blood alcohol level at time of arrest. TSG could not have received a report for Frey’s arrest at 17 anyway, since juvenile records are sealed by law. So, TSG wrongly accused Frey of lying about his BAC, setting a county record, and doing jail time, based on the wrong court record. This is not just a mistake. It is dangerously careless reporting.

TSG implies that Frey’s failure to give records of his crimes proves an affirmative – that no crimes were committed. Frey says he had many of his records purged. TSG implies Frey is lying. But look at the top left corner of the 1988 docket sheet. It states: “Purge Date: 06/04/97” What is TSG doing with a Docket sheet ordered purged by a court of law? Why didn’t they include this purge order in their “expose”? Not sexy enough?

TGS also assumes that Frey committed all the claims he describes in his book in a single state, but FREY NEVER says this, nor does he give a date for the Ohio arrest. He does give his age – he was 21, so the arrest has to be in 1990 or 1991... (See AMLP, p. 249). But the Ohio police report TSG offers to call Frey a liar is about an arrest that took place in October, 1992, when Frey was 23 and jumped a curb – two years after the arrest involving hitting the police officer. Again, TSG shamelessly or stupidly used the wrong arrest report. No wonder the arresting officer couldn’t recall being hit. One wonders if he was even on the force two years earlier, when the real arrest happened.

So why couldn’t TSG find the arrest report about the cop-hitting incident? Frey says hit records were sealed. TSG offers nothing to show Frey to be a liar about this. Frey says in his book that he was offered a deal that if he served time in Ohio for his many arrests, his record would be “wiped from [his] record.” (AMLP, p. 366). This is common is plea agreements, particularly where drug addiction is the source of the problem, and someone has successfully rehabbed.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 4:02PM

Records are not just 'wiped from [a] record'. IT doesn't work that way.

What I found distateful is that he also appeared to have fabricated other things than his criminal record.. eg the relationship with the dead girl, and his being blamed for that. According to police and the girl's parents, that never happened. He was not even involved.

That is a manipulation that goes beyond embellishment.

The question is whether this is a memoir. I don't think it is. It's fiction, which is what he tried to publish it as to begin with. It's just that no publisher would publish it as fiction. It seemed the only appeal was as a 'true' story of an addict making good. Well gee. That seems deceptive to me. And to a whole lot of other people as well.

anneJan 14, 2006 at 4:09PM

The point, Michele, is that Frey has admitted he fabricated those things and has not denied that the Smoking Gun's reports were factual. Instead he has tried to defend "emotional truth"! The funny thing is, the emotional truth of the book was only so powerful because of the character he was before his time in rehab.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 4:20PM

That is the point, Anne. AMLP is a literary fraud.
Frey's writing did not measure up for good fiction; thus he packaged it as a 'memoir'. And then had the gall to insist: "The truth is what matters. It is what I should be remembered by, if I am remembered at all. Remember the truth." I personally hope he won't be remembered at all. He gives honest writers of memoirs a bad name, and he gives recovering addicts a bad name.

AnneJan 14, 2006 at 4:23PM

Has anyone other than The Smoking Gun researched other details in the book? Leonard? Lilly? The dentist? There has to be a way to find that stuff out, too. I found the characters even less believable than his bad-ass criminal record. Also, my book club was reading and I finished it before the controversy started. Nobody else has bothered to finish it since The Smoking Gun, so obviously the truth does matter, not just "the emotional truth".

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 4:30PM

I don't know, Anne. From what I understand, TSG was just going to get a mug shot for their 'collection'. Then when they found that hard to do, they started seriously investigating.

Most of what he wrote doesn't seem believable. Not the characters, the criminal history, the treatment center....and it doesn't take much imagination to talk about an addict wanting drugs.

Someone in my group was reading it, and I had never heard of it before then. When I started reading it, I found it as bad as the exerpts I had read. It simply isn't good writing - it's not just stylistic. It's bad writing by a spoiled brat (which is probably why 17 publishers rejected it as fiction).
I can't fathom how or why there were so many positive reviews.

AnneJan 14, 2006 at 4:38PM

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! I just do not get how other people are just shrugging this off as no big deal! Most importantly, the people who say its okay because he's helped so many people. How has he helped people by discrediting the whole 12 step program and belittling other addicts who weren't as hard core as him!

JimJan 14, 2006 at 6:03PM

The good news is that there is a solution to addiction. The bad news is you have to hit bottom. You won't do the 12 step program until there is no other way to stay sober. James Fry hasn't discredited the 12 step program. He has made a fool of himself by having to go on Larry King with his mother. I'll bet that is the underlying issue to his substance abuse.

His only claim to fame was he was against the A.A. program, I guess because he couldn't get honest with himself. I've been in the program for 5 years and A.A. will be around long after James Fry is on no interest toi anyone including himself. Lots of people made money off of me on my way to addiction, and people try to make money off of me on the way to recovery. Be careful what you buy into as it may cost you your life.

KMCJan 14, 2006 at 6:15PM

The author of this piece -- -- identifies Oprah as an enabler. I submit to you that America has become a land of enablers (or, if I were writing in Frey's "style" -- which, BTW, reminds me of the kind of dreck handed in for high school creative writing assignments -- Enablers).

Members of the President's staff lied to investigators and a grand jury about leaking an undercover CIA agent's identity to the media. Republican members of Congress lied about their relationship with a lobbyist vis-a-vis his lies to his clients to fraudulently extract their money from them (he then flipped on his former partners-in-crime, as did players in example #1). The President lied about Iraq's WMDs, his justification for the invasion and occupation of that country. The President's nominee for the Supreme Court lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his affiliation with an extreme right-wing group (on one of the rare instances when he bothered to give a direct answer to them at all).

Lies are being fed to the American public morning, noon and night; it seems we're just getting used to it. The more we swallow them, the more they're offered.

So when a meek, lisping, mother-enabled, Oprah-enabled, former soccer-playing frat boy who drank and drugged on his parents' dime, then got "clean" on their dime, portrays himself as a swearing, fighting bad ass, why is anyone surprised that a number of Americans will refuse to face the Essential, Emotional Truth that he's just a Lying, Manipulating, Perhaps-Even-Closet-Case Poser?

One last observation: Given the number of times that Frey claims to have vomited in AMLP, I think he should consider changing his tattoo to read "FTBSITTTU,” or “Fuck the Bullshit It’s Time to Throw UP.”

somervilleJan 14, 2006 at 6:24PM

I am a journaist and I have been doing some digging into the Hazelden angle. I was also there myself as an observer for five days around the time Frey claims to have been there.

I ran some stuff by a man who not only went through rehab at Hazelden there but was on the counseling staff for twenty years.

Remember how Frey always says he hears people screaming in detox ? This guy told me " I never in 20 years at Hazelden,heard people screaming. The medical staff are very accomplished at helping people through this business with meds."

Also, Frey talks about getting to use a "free phone" during detox where he can make unlimited calls. My Hazelden source says that no one is allowed to make phone calls from Ignatia, the detox unit. " My question is, then how could that so called Las Vegas gangster and the Louisiana judge makes calls on Frey's behalf to get him out of his jail sentence?

This counselor hasn't read it, but he said the description of all the macho guys playing cards in meetings and screaming "Mother*****" sounds ludicrous. Forgot to ask him if people there clean toilets. I know they have to make their beds, but toilets ? I don't think so.

I would like to hear from other people who have been at Hazelden about details that seem wrong. Maybe we can collectively blow this guy's cover on the Hazelden angle. I am sure he was never there.

bobbyJan 14, 2006 at 6:50PM

Please, stop insisting this book has saved people. Can anyone document that? I doubt it has saved anyone. And it's irresponsible to suggest otherwise.

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 6:50PM

michelle. i'm with you on this. i don't care at all if he exaggerated his criminal past. it has nothing to do with the real story anyways. this is all so stupid. i wish people would leave him alone. they are turning him into some greedy liar who manipulated people. i do not agree at all. i loved the book. nothing will change my mind on that.

HalJan 14, 2006 at 6:55PM

"James lied but that's ok because it gives addicts hope. How dare anyone criticize James Frey because the underlying message of his book helps people get sober."

I hear arguments like this over and over. And I can't stand it anymore. It's total bullshit.

I am an addict. I felt alone and hopeless for years because I thought there was no one out there like me. No matter what I tried to change my life--I failed. Until I met other addicts LIKE me. People who had done some of the same things I did--who had suffered the same pain I had. But these people had changed. The TRUTH of their experience gave me hope.

If I later found out that my newfound recovering friends had lied about what made them like me--my hope in them would have died. Hope in something untrue is not hope. It is self-delusion.

It is sad that the modern American trend is to seek bliss in ignorance, denial, and self-delusion.

For me, learning that James Frey's book is based on untruths takes away the power of its message. And it's not some small peripheral facts that James made up. He lied about his identity--some of his core experiences. Furthermore, the parts of James' story that he claims have not been fabricated cannot be verified by a third-party--we have to take his word on it.

Well I, for one, can't believe a word that comes out of that bastard's mouth.

His message is not recovery. Recovery is based on rigorous honesty--on giving up the lies that keep addicts spiralling downward toward self-destruction. It's a shame that a book supposedly about getting clean is based on bullshit and promotes bullshit. I am so pissed at James Frey and I can't believe so many people are supporting him.

Dr.Jan 14, 2006 at 7:02PM

My pattern has re-emerged!

"James didn't lie and you can't prove it"

"Yes he did and here's the proof"

"Oh...well it doesn't matter that he lied I still think he's a great man."


Erin, Michelle, find someone real to give your life meaning.

Dr.Jan 14, 2006 at 7:02PM

My pattern has re-emerged!

"James didn't lie and you can't prove it"

"Yes he did and here's the proof"

"Oh...well it doesn't matter that he lied I still think he's a great man."


Erin, Michelle, find someone real to give your life meaning.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 7:04PM

I have never heard about cleaning toilets in rehab. Bed yes. I had my experiences with rehab (plural), too, before I got sober. And most of what he wrote does not ring true. I sat in the book store this afternoon and finished the book - and that was an effort. It is the worst written, most pathetic excuse for a memoir I have ever seen. And I don't believe 90% of it.  I won't go so far as to say he isn't an addict or an alcoholic. I imagine he may be, but I also suspect he exaggerated that.

Somerville, I would love to see the Hazeldon angle explored, also.
I kind of doubt that most rehabs are that much different from Hazelton (except maybe the teenage boot camp type things about which I know nothing).

And yes, someone has to hit bottom before they stop drinking. AA is not the only way to recover. It is absurd to say that if you aren't in AA you haven't 'hit bottom'. I have attended AA, and 'worked the steps', but haven't in years. I also have been sober for years. I've had to deal with life (reality) and health issues, but not drinking. I'm grateful for that. The 'steps' are just an honest way of living, whether or not you believe in God. But you don't have to find that in AA. I have known many who have found it elsewhere. However, what is necessary for recovery It is personal responsibility, which for all of his blustering, Frey seems to know nothing about.

The only thing I can figure is that Frey was, as someone else suggested, a f** up self-important narcissistic drunk who still was when writing this, or he just wanted to make a buck (or a lot of bucks). I suspect may be both are true.

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 7:14PM

i can't believe the lack of people standing up for frey and AMLP, or i guess more so i can't believe how vicious people are getting about his so-called lies.
The whole book is not bullshit. a few embellishments here and there and all of a sudden AMLP is being written off as a hoax. someone said it gave memoirs a bad image, cause of course all the other books of that nature are straight fact right? i highly doubt it. you would have to be hugely naive to think that any author would not lend creativity to their story to make it better. he's not the first person to do this, he's not the last. if you feel suckered, it's really your own fault, not his.
i believe in what he wrote. i'm willing to overlook the fictional aspects, be it the criminal past, his real role in the death of the girl killed by the train. this is not what made AMLP a compelling read. the essential truth is that he was an addict, he was in treatment, he overcame his demons and is now living without relapse, all because of his strength of will.
he is not a bad person. he is not a greedy monster. i don't see anything wrong with small fabrications and creative rearranging. i love AMLP. i love frey's writing.
lay off him.
no one was conned, this isn't consumer fraud.

AndrewJan 14, 2006 at 7:16PM


It might prove difficult to research any of the people in his story in that at the end of the book (and as one blog suggested) most of them die (or are locked away somewhere) "So that Frey can strut." We cannot talk to Lilly because just hours before he was to be by her side she hung herself. We cannot talk to Leonard in that he is also dead. One of people he met fell off a fishing boat and he has never been heard from again. One got killed in a bar fight (Ed). Statistically the chances of that many people dying (in the context of having known Frey enough to be central characters in his book) is a bit tough to handle.

I would love to talk to the dentist in the small town near the recovery center Frey graced with his FTBSITTTD 'tude. Now, I know that as a treatment center patient they are not going to hand you a bottle of Norco and tell you to have fun. BUT that is a far cry from numbing a dental patient so that they can not lose it during a few root canals. I have also NEVER, in my life, met anyone who became hooked on Novocaine in that it has no addictive properties and is so short lived in the body. Novocaine is a nerve block, nothing more. I just cannot believe that any reputable rehab facility would not allow a patient to use Novocaine. Post surgery pain control: yeah, I understand that part. But clearly there is a huge difference.

I also find it interesting that even his own story about this subject is not consistent. Again, James Frey writes that he cannot have Novocaine at all, no way, not going to happen, even though I have never met a person (and neither has the rehab industry) that spent a life breaking down dentist's doors looking for Novocaine. So, he cannot have the Novocaine but......

...he can have both Librium and Diazepam???? Both of those medications belong to the Benzodiazepine family of (again, wait for it) potentially addictive anti-anxiety medications. Frey is right in that they are used at times to lessen withdrawl symptoms but here is where I am confused, and maybe one of the people who thinks some of us here are being unkind and unfair to James would care to answer:

How is it that James is not allowed Novocaine--which is in no way addictive--for a fairly intense dental procedure but is allowed two types of anti-anxiety meds (both of which are addictive) to help him come down from withdrawl symptoms? Both were appropriate to treat legitimate issues he was having yet only one was given.

I am not being a smart ass when I ask for someone to explain this. If I'm wrong or if I have totally missed something, I'll own it. But my question still stands.


mollyJan 14, 2006 at 7:19PM

oh and honesty has to be the basis of personal responsibility ...

I am wondering if there are any real memoirs out there anymore.
However, today I did buy Joan Didion's newest book. She is at least a good writer.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 7:31PM

Andrew, your point is well taken. It makes utterly no sense that he would be given valium and then librium for withdrawal (which is appropriate, or was anyway - I don't know what they have now) but not allowed novacaine. Absurd.
Evidently, big macho Frey asked to stop the librium. He didn't like it.
Hmmm, not many drunks I've ever met wouldn't like valium or librium. In fact, some people call it 'eating your booze'. But I found his reaction odd that he didn't like it? Or maybe that was just part of the macho schtick.

I disagree with one of the statements someone made above. One of the few things that does ring true to me is getting out of a treatment center/detox/ whatever and wanting to go out and get drunk. That happens unfortunately all too often.

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 7:35PM

novocaine isn't addictive, but if you were to smear cocaine on your gums it would give you the same numbing sensation.
not all benzodiazepine meds are addictive. i take klonopin for panic attacks and anxiety. it isn't addictive. it can be abused, just like anything else, but my doctor told me that it wasn't addictive.
i don't know specifically about the ones he was on, but he didn't like the way they made him feel and they stopped administering them to him.
you are looking for lies where there just isn't any.

James FreyJan 14, 2006 at 7:46PM

Reality is a subjective experience.

Just the fact that I have all you people taking the time to acknowledge, reflect and comment on my work is an achievement to me.

So in the words of the great Dave Chapelle :

"I'm rich, bitaatch!!!!"

Now please move on with your lives.


mollyJan 14, 2006 at 7:52PM

Erin, I can't believe your doctor said klonopin isn't addictive. It absolutely is addictive. All the benzos are addictive, some more so than others. If you google it, you can find out what the FDA and the med pages say about it. That isn't to say that any of these drugs can't be used under some circumstances. But for an addict or an alcoholic, extra care should be taken--close supervision by a doctor. I have to stay away from them. But I can't advise anyone what to do medically, and don't.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 7:55PM

If that is really Frey, I wouldn't be too surprised. It seems consistent with his character, or lack of it.

HalJan 14, 2006 at 7:59PM


I am a coke addict. I didn't use cocaine because of the way it feels on my gums. so the fact that novocaine numbs my gums doesn't send me into a frenzied hunt for blow.

and hell yeah klonopin is addictive. i was in rehab with people whose drug of choice was klonopin. but that's beside the point.

i was in a rehab comparable to Hazelden. many of my friends went to Hazelden. James' whole story about no pain meds or anaesthetics is a total sham. The treatment center counselors and doctors I came into contact with were very adamant about the fact that an addict should not go without pain meds in the case of a serious medical procedure. extreme physical pain can really mess with an addict in recovery and propel them towards a relapse.

If James had needed his appendix out during treatment, would he have had to do so without any anaesthesia? Hell no. No treatment center in the world would require that.

This whole controversy shows what a disservice James has done by writing a mostly fictional memoir and proclaiming that it was truth:

people think they know what rehab and detox and coming off drugs is all about. people think they understand addicts better having read AMLP. people, james fed you all bullshit.

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 8:05PM

i'm not that suprised that my doctor didn't tell me it was addictive. most doctors are completely useless. i am on lithium as well and i gained 40 pounds in 2 months or less. i asked him before i started it if there were any side effects i should be aware of. he said it might make me constipated and give me dry mouth. i know have uncontrollable shaking in both my hands and i am a whale. he told me the weight gain wasn't to do with the new meds. i researched it online and a lot of people were having the same problems i was having.
i'm not suprised that the treatment center allowed james addicitve anxiety meds. doctors don't give a shit about side effects as long as it solves the initial problem.

HalJan 14, 2006 at 8:08PM

novocaine blocks physical doesn't fuck you up.

nicotine and caffeine both give you a buzz...change the way you feel to a certain degree... both are addictive.

yet james was allowed to smoke all he wanted and drink tons of coffee in treatment. he writes about how good it felt to do so.

it just doesn't jive. i know treamtent centers that won't let you drink coffee or smoke cigarettes...but have yet to hear of one that is scared of what novocaine might do to an addict.

it's all bullshit, can't you see?

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 8:35PM

Right Hal. In fact, after detoxes and treatment, I could never face decaf again. Although, now, I hardly drink coffee at all, period and I gave up smoking. I guess I really am a pansy. ;-)

You are also right about pain killers for extreme pain. However, I would rather have them closely monitored. I had chronic pain with lupus and took pain killers. I still worried about that, and found alternatives that are less addictive (and proper treatment for lupus) which is always better. Denying pain killers for surgery or novacaine for a dental procedure is just plain stupid - and I don't know anyone that would consider doing that.

Finally Erin, please don't call yourself a whale. Even in jest. I gained a lot of weight from illness and medication, so I understand. I just joined Weight Watchers and am doing what I am able to exercise. IT isn't easy, but nothing worth doing is. I just wished I had done this before I gained so much weight. Unfortunately, I have never been a fast learner, except in school, where it counts least in the long run. In my life's 'lessons', especially around compulsive behavior, I have always taken it to an extreme before I wake up. Unfortunately, that included weight. Try 3 Fat Chicks (horrible name) but it is a great website. My heart goes out to you.

So this book has indeed started much discussion. It seems to me that this is good. But the book is not.

gimme_jimmycrackJan 14, 2006 at 9:26PM

i love jimmy crack corn and i dont care. jimmy crack corn....

AndrewJan 14, 2006 at 9:57PM

Erin, you wrote:

novocaine isn't addictive, but if you were to smear cocaine on your gums it would give you the same numbing sensation.
not all benzodiazepine meds are addictive.

Umm, well, where to start. First of all, I don't know why you brought cocaine up at all. No one was arguing that James should be allowed cocaine during a root canal. Novocaine and coke are not only worlds apart but even more importantly, totally on opposite ends of the addiction chart. NO ONE is getting hooked on a nerve block called Novocaine. Plenty are, on cocaine. As for the Benzos he was taking, well, I did a real fast Google search and guess what: every site I visted said that both of the detox meds that James says he was on, are addictive if abused.


TommyBoyJan 14, 2006 at 10:17PM

it's pretty clear to me that those who post on this board have
addictive personalities. me included.

now pardon me while a take this last belly shot...


you know, i think i'm good for just one more...

TommyBoyJan 14, 2006 at 10:23PM

okay. THAT ONE was my last belly-shot for the night.

Time for a little mixed drink...

Tommy'sCoyJan 14, 2006 at 10:40PM

okay. now i'm starting to get that nice warm buzz going.

i'm happy, alert and fine with everyone. in fact, i'm not yet wanting to bring up my non existent relationship with my father. actually, even later i won't bring it up. i'll just think about it inside and blame him for everything even though i can't really blame him for anything and he can't take credit for anything either. so we're even.

but i'm not there yet.

i've just got a happy little warm buzz. and all is right with the world.

Don't cry for me, Argentinaaaaa

ClaireJan 14, 2006 at 10:52PM

i believe that who cares if any of it was made up or not... it was an excellent book that captivated millions. wether or not it was made up does not change the fact that James Frey is an excellent writer. Everyone should just drop it!

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 10:59PM

what is your deal? you keep rearranging my words. i never said novocaine was addictive. i never even said that novocaine and cocaine were in the same class of drugs. all i said was that cocaine, smeared on ones gums, presents the same numb feeling as novocaine.
a similar sensation could be troublesome perhaps, thats all i am saying. i am not saying i am right about any of this. i'm trying to give a reasonable explanation of what was written. i will not just be sucked into thinking the worst of frey. he is not the devil incarnate.

Erin KnoglerJan 14, 2006 at 11:28PM

"should authors be held to the same standards as journalists"
thats CNN for ya. i can't wait for the end of the hour when they will read peoples responses. if anyone out there really thinks they should be held to the same standards, i would just love an explanation thats actually vaild.

mollyJan 14, 2006 at 11:31PM

If anyone wants to read a really good memoir, read Joan Didion's, "A Year of Magical Thinking." I bought it today, after passing up Frey. I did finish Frey and was not at all impressed. I refused to buy the book. Hah!
Didion, on the other hand, writes authentically, flawlessly and musically.
I am nearly done, and reading her work is as effortless as her writing.

And Claire, if Frey's book captivated milliions, then it helps me better to understand those that voted for Bush. Um.

As to benzos - all are addictive. Used in a medical setting, some are helpful for alcohol withdrawal. I don't know about withdrawal from cocaine because I never experienced it.

ulJan 15, 2006 at 12:19AM

Reading all the way down this blog was more disgusting than reading Frey's" A Million Pieces Of Shit"

Tommy'sAnnoyingJan 15, 2006 at 1:00AM

try reading it all the way up.

no, don't.

it's pretty much disgusting either way.

that's what's so cool about it!!


Dr.Jan 15, 2006 at 1:40AM


After reading the litany of drugs you are on to help you deal with reality, it is no wonder you have fallen so hard for our boy and his bullshit.

Aidan MaconachyJan 15, 2006 at 1:55AM

I've read excerpts of A Million Little Pieces and fictional licence is fairly evident. However, I do think Frey is being lambasted rather unfairly.

Truth after all is relative. My experience of a given occurrence might be quite different from that of another who was also present, but does that make either of us liars? Of course not.

Virtually every non-fictional account of lives and times, especially when told in the manner chosen by mr Frey contains at very least embellishments, and at times, outright exaggeration. The true test is whether the writing works or not. I would be more concerned about issues of veracity if I was reviewing a manufacturerer's blurb prior to purchasing a pricey product.

It's a bit like Santa. He is total magic until we start asking questions about gifts with labels that say "Toys-R-Us" or notice mom's lipstick on the glass of milk left as refreshment for Old Nick. When suspicion sets in, Santa loses his sheen.

I tend to take books of this sort at face value.

I'm Irish-Canadian so I read Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" with some interest. There were moments when I wondered about the probability of some passages, but the question "is this true or not?" never became so compelling that it got in the way of my appreciation.

The category "recovery memoir" would probably have provided leeway for some of the "sins" Frey is being ccused of, but I gather he chose not to place his work in that context.

I think when Smoking Gun discovered there was no mug shot to be had, they sensed they had a story on their hands and went to town on it. Part of the motivation may have been the Oprah Winfrey endorsement, because obviously whistle blowers could be assured of nationwide attention, although I'm not suggesting for a moment that Smoking Gun would ever be so cynical ... ahem.

A while ago I read a book that passes itself of as biography - "Meeting with Remarkable Men" by one G.I. Gurdjieff. In the course of this peculiar little book we are told that during his travels as an itinerant jack-of-all-trades, the young Gurdjieff trapped sparrows which he then painted and sold as exotics to the easily deceived. In time of course the paint wore away, but by then the young mountebank was many miles away with coin clinking in his pockets.

This struck me as a tall tale; an allegory of sorts. Did it matter to me whether or not the young Gurdjieff did in fact paint and sell sparrows? Well only if I am interested in the man and matters of his truthfulness come into my assessement of his character. Otherwise, my requirements are simple - a good story that hits the mark, and his book certainly did that.

So lacking much interest in Frey the man, I would tend to judge Frey's book soley on its own merits.

Erin KnoglerJan 15, 2006 at 2:02AM

litany of drugs? i mentioned 2. yes i'm on more, but still. don't presume to know for what reason i am taking them. i deal with reality just fine, i'm not schizophrenic, i am bipolar. no delusion here.
but yes, i did fall so hard for frey and his story because even though i am not an addict, i still was very drawn in by certain aspects. the fury he felt. i unfortunately understand that all too well, and in the past have tried to mask it with drugs and alcohol, but that doesn't work as a cover up for everyone. drugs gave me severe panic attacks. so now i live my life by a doc's prescription pad. i hate it. i wish i could just stop, and hold on, and not be bipolar, but it's not an addiction, it's brain chemistry. there is no rehab that will fix me.
ok i'm kind of rambling off topic. sorry. i just could relate to his story and i haven't been so emotionally connected to a book in a long time. for me it was a very worthwhile read. i know the heart of AMLP is the truth, and that is all that matters.

Aidan MaconachyJan 15, 2006 at 2:28AM

I should add though that the commentaters on here who have been through these experiences personally are a lot more qualified to judge on matters of accuracy.

I recently read a fictional piece that dealt with life in N. Ireland during "The Troubles". It irked me because the writer got a number of details wrong, so it's a different matter when you feel you have a personal stake in whats being said.

Tommy'sCloyingJan 15, 2006 at 2:36AM

commercial time:

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Tripp MillsJan 15, 2006 at 2:49AM

This morning at my part-time job, a woman I work with was reading "AMLPs". I approached her to discuss the controversy. She didn't want to talk about it. She said something like "...I don't care if it's fiction or real. If it's real it's pretty amazing. If it's fiction he wrote an amazing story." She stuck her nose back in the book. She ignored me. Just like James is ignoring the press.

That attitude resonated deeply. I was bummed. I was shot to the curb. No discussion. No controversy. lonely. so hurt. I was hurt. I was hurt . hurt . the pain. the pain. pain pain. harsh pain. I want to scream. I want to hurt. to kill. to scream. i am me.
i want to say...let the readers read. Let the believers believe. The truth will set you free.

angJan 15, 2006 at 3:29AM


nightime shadows

memories of broken bottles

and the demon that mocks

me in that shattered room

track marks on skin

hollowed eyes bleeding tears

like jesus

as i wait for the executioners

kill me slowly so i feel the pain

until the ravens swoop

and pluck out my twisted soul

from this broken corpse

god i spit on you

and your holy angels

Mommy'sFreudingJan 15, 2006 at 3:33AM


bye bye polar

it's just the next thing
that gets your dollar

big as a whale, Erin?

not to be insensitive but, are you talking about a big whale
(like a blue) or a small whale?

i only ask this because my wife and i drive gassguzzlers me:a landcruiser she:7 series bmw that i can't fricken stand.

i've been thinking about getting rid of one of these gashogs and getting one of them biodieseles.

i was just thinking, if you're not really feeling good about yourself AND
you're perhaps fat enough that it would be in my best interest to harvest your dead, fat body for my new biodiesel car, we might have a love connection, so to speak!!

what better way can you think of to match up mother earth's resources?

if you're at all creeped out by this idea, please ignore me/it.

but if not, bless you.

let me know as soon as possible as I have a couple errands to run in the cruiser if it works out.

thanks in advance

Tommy's ang stJan 15, 2006 at 3:40AM


that's so sweet. and not at all trite. nope.

dhpJan 15, 2006 at 4:11AM

To be honest, I'm surprised that addicts and recovering addicts are embracing this book as much as they have. Being a (ta-da!) recovering addict myself, I found many of the details of the book to be inaccurate...specifically the detox story. This concept of holding yourself up to the light and holding yourself responsible for what you do and do not do are nothing new. Taking responsibility for your own life when it comes to drugs and alcohol did not begin and end with this book (as others have mentioned).
When I first read this book, I did feel somewhat empowered by it, although as I stated, I had a feeling that much of it was fabricated.
I remember detox.
I remember withdrawal. Although every story is unique, here is my experience: I could not, nor would not have been able to keep a journal of any kind with any semblence of regularity. Period. I was neither interested in writing, dealing with my feelings and could not sit down to a notebook. I did not shower with any regularity, nor brush my teeth with any regularity. I barely ate and when I did, I did not eat much. I did not throw up blood during my recovery but I have thrown up blood in the past. What I do know is this: a bleeding stomach can be a life threatening situation many times. A bleeding GI can cause death fairly quickly, depending on the location of the hemmorage. Any good physician can tell you how quickly a bleeding ulcer can threaten a healthy persons' life, much less a recovering addict. I know, I'm digressing. I'm just saying that lots of details in this book didn't jibe with my experience as a recovering/detoxing addict. I kept thinking, 'how in the hell is he getting up every morning and showering?' A subtlety to be sure, but still...memoirs are made up of subtleties.
OK, so after the latest allegations by the smoking gun, I thought, 'this dude just pulled the fastest one ever on the publishing world.' And I still thank that. You do not have to be a recovering addict to write a story about being a recovering addict. There are many, many books out there that relate what it's like to be/feel/think like a recovering addict and the horrors of detox. I just think that the stuff the smoking gun brought to light is a 'glimpse' of the exaggerated lies in that book, IMO.
If it's not a memoir, it should never have been marketed as one. If it hadn't, noboody would have though it amazing, inspiring or anything else. It would have just been another 'good book.'
Like I said...I'm not bothered by it, I felt it was mostly fabricated when I read it. That's why I'm surprised so many addicts (and recovering addicts) are giving this book so much credit. The details just don't add up. Sorry.

Tom'sMoM'stheBombJan 15, 2006 at 4:26AM

cuz i'm


I'm dynomite


and I'll winna fight


I can cry a load

watch me ackxzsploaed

hi, my name is iy8youytiury and i'm an addict.

hi, my name is Tifanny, and some of the girls in my school don't like me.

Erin KnoglerJan 15, 2006 at 4:35AM

mommy's feuding,
you should be nicer to people. i was just giving my opinion. that is why we are here isn't it? don't be such a brat.

Tomm or rowJan 15, 2006 at 4:41AM


it would be refreshing if you could share with this group exactly what it feels like to actually experience rehab. none of us here have ever had to deal with that.

it's so nice to have someone so close to that whole drug thing.

i don't mean to push you. i'm sure it's very tough. but please, give us a taste of it.

just a taste though. speaking for me, i'm quite sqeamish.

dhpJan 15, 2006 at 4:57AM


I was just kidding. I've never been to rehab. I 'exaggerated' that part of my post. I was 'reflecting' simply to the best of my memory.

ps: I've never taken any drugs either. I mean, I've smoked before. Close enough. Let's call it 'my memoir' and call it a day.

Toh a dear, a female dearJan 15, 2006 at 5:28AM

c'mon dhp

all that stuff's not important
question is what does your hand look like dipped in oil
dipped in cookie sprinkles?

'bit chicken to answer this?

MichelleJan 15, 2006 at 5:47AM

I've ventured here in light to hear what the world has to say about Frey's latest debacle and also because his own "big jim" conglomerate site has been completely taken down leaving only the inane banter of a chatroom of recycled material.
TSG were right that Frey waivered his own right to confidentiality as far as TSG publishing words he said "off the record" by posting a letter from TSG to Frey on his website.
Sure Frey says "let the haters hate" and withstood his belief in his book and life but I see the latest move to completely close all other media on his website to be a reaction of fear and retreating perhaps.
Frey could find himself in alot of legal trouble with this is he found to have exposed such instances as the car accident claiming the lives of two girls he went to school with in which he created a role for himself in just to pad the story out abit. This is people's lives and deaths and im sure if the tables were turned he'd be screaming from rooftops if some random person was making a buck from their suffering.
From what I read on TSG the alleged cop that got hit is laughing it off as is the allegations that in My Friend Leonard a fellow inmate was paid by a county prosecutor to pan handle Frey in exchange for cigarettes but I'm sure these families aren't.
When is enough enough as far as memoirs go and if your life was that uninteresting in the first place that you needed to embellish ficition more than recollect facts then why bother writing it anyways.

Of course there is always the almighty dollar out there to be made.
In Frey's case a lot of recovering answer-seeking readers supplied that and believed.

Where was that disclaimer in the first place that Frey is now rushing to put in A Million Little Pieces now the $%^ has hit the fan?

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 6:00AM

Adrian....judging the book on its merits. interesting thought.
A badly written memoir that isn't?
Oy vey maria.
I am floored that anyone thinks this is good writing. Disregard its value (or not) as 'truth'. It's lousy writing. That's why he couldn't get it published as fiction. But a memoir? Well, maybe, one can put aside such niceties as talent, and go for the heart felt identification. Um. oops. That's not here either.

Had it not been for a friend reading it, and the media blitz, I probably would have ignored it also. I long ago tired of rehab memoirs. Even good ones. But having now read it, and being a recovering alcoholic & 'veteran' of rehab(s), I can honestly say, "what a pile of shit". Or something like that.

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mollyJan 15, 2006 at 6:13AM

Michelle wrote..."My Friend Leonard a fellow inmate was paid by a county prosecutor to pan handle Frey in exchange for cigarettes"
And what possible motive would a 'county prosecutor' have for this? This could be so bad it's funny, but I think I'll pass. Curiosity has its limits.

It looks like someone is actually trying to certify a class for a lawsuit against the publisher. On what grounds? Consumer fraud. Okay, I agree this is a little ridiculous. But more entertaining than the book.

I wonder if the dead girl's parents could have an invasion of privacy cause of action... I rather doubt it, but one never knows.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 6:16AM

Some spammer slipped in a rogaine ad? He should send it to Frey.

AndyJan 15, 2006 at 6:22AM

Liar! Liar! Liar! Liar!

(Why bother with logical argument against a shamelessly egomaniacal hypocrite who is incapable of the same?)


mollyJan 15, 2006 at 6:42AM

I wonder how many people would have bought this book had it been marketed as fiction?
I'm curious - Is "My Friend Leonard" also marketed as a memoir?

Evidently there has been a recent rash of fictionalized memoirs, that has the literary community in an uproar. But it appears some of them might actually be fairly entertaining on their own merit, unlike AMLP. Gotta hand it to his agent - simply changing the genre name paid off well.

somervilleJan 15, 2006 at 8:35AM

Ok, my source who was on staff at Hazelden says there is no way he could have gotten hands on his medical records from there, as Frey says he did. Frey says he showed them to Oprah. My source has refuted many other points as well

I am getting serious about digging into the Hazelden angle and exposing this guy.

I would like to hear from anyone who was at Hazelden themselves to see whether Frey could have possibly broken all the rules as he said. I am going to contact my media contacts about doing a Hazelden story.

Email me at:[email protected]

LisaJan 15, 2006 at 9:12AM

I just finished the book. I did find it captivating and cried when I realized how alone he felt, and how alone Lilly was.
My only issue is that I feel is is counter-productive to speak of AA and the 12 steps as bullshit, to disregard different "speakers" from the lectures experiences, and his blatant disrespect for the rules of the facility. If these things were true, Lilly's story and the fact that the only love she felt was emotion felt in an intense psychological situation, and that the moment that was threatened, she was found in an abandoned building prostitutuing herself for crack, then the rules should have been kept and her relationship with James equally played part in stifling her recovery.
As far as lying in the story, the main part I find disappointing is that many readers may also be struggling with addictions, big or small...and his book, while opening our minds to the horror of addictions, in no way validates the lesser addictions, and it no way supports AA, the 12 steps, and other proven methods for rehabilitation. A good read for someone without struggles who just wants a captivating read. He in no way should be considered "the last word on the subject".

great day to be soberJan 15, 2006 at 10:16AM

I think we have about a mile of postings that take James' inventory. And when I started getting sober it was explained to me that while I might be adept at taking others' inventory, it was my own that I had to take to experience any comfortability in sobriety. I think the phrase is "keep the focus and blame on myself." So whatever Frey is or is not pales in importance to the fact that the book has touched feelings and has probably made some of us look at addiction, truth, honesty, publishing,
issues related to addiction etc...
One guy posted way up there that poor James is on his way to getting drunk or high today as his "honesty" is in question. Truthfully, the only person whose drinking I have to worry about is my own and even with lots of experience I can't tell you who will get drunk today and who will stay sober. I know that I will be sober today, if I continue to do the things I have been doing. The word that has to be attached to honesty in recover is "self," when I lie to you people it has no impact on your sobriety or your life...I am the one who has to deal with what I say and what I do and when I start being dishonest, esp. at the first step (i.e. Maybe I can take one drink, maybe what has happened thousands of times before when I drank (drunkeness in all its glory) will not happen again, maybe I won't drive, mayble no one will know.) The point is that I will know and so honesty about myself is most important only to me.
For those who are suffering because there are addicts and alcoholics in their lives, there are also fellowships that offer help and suggestions for you, from people who have the same experience.

http://allthemusic.siteburg.comJan 15, 2006 at 11:01AM

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somervilleJan 15, 2006 at 11:22AM

I have a question for any of you who went to Hazelden:

Did any of you have to clean your COUNSELOR' S TOILETS?

I know you have to make your bed at Hazelden, but come on, cleaning the staff's toilets too ? The reason I ask is that it's the basis for key scenes with his fistfights with Roy......they are very suspect in my opinion.

Roy is in rehab himself. Doesn't make sense that someone else getting treatment in rehab would be in charge of making sure others in rehab did their chores. That's normally left up to counselors.

lynneJan 15, 2006 at 12:19PM

Who really cares if it is all the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? So he made money, so what. The Alcoholics Anonymous Basic Text isn't free. Every treatment facility has differnt rules/guidelines etc. If what he says is partially true and helps others what does it really matter. I guess If I were James, I would ask myself, "Is this the mountain I want to die on today?" I say it is good reading. I don't really care if part of it is embellished or fabricated. It reads good. Quit bashing a guy who obviously has turned his life around. Quit bashing Oprah. At least she encourages people to read. TSG should fact check some of the writings of others in our government, instead of going after someone who wrote a book based on his life in the bottle and his subsequent recovery. These people who bash him should sweep off their own side of the street first. Take your own inventory, wanna be's.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 12:47PM

Lynne, the point is that he sold it as a memoir. It was fiction.
It was a deceit.
I would't doubt that 99% of it was a deceit. Why is it 'obvious' he 'turned his life around'? From what? To what?

As to Oprah, I never watch her anyway. I have always thought she was fluff, and don't take much of what she says seriously. I know I am not in a majority, given her ratings and power. However, it doesn't surprise me at all that she would cheer schlocky writing (notwithstanding her 'endorsement' of known classics).

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 12:48PM

Oh and I have one more question. Do you always use AA jargon as descriptions? Don't you get some odd looks from people not familiar with AAprose?

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 12:51PM

And a third thing about 'taking another's inventory'. Since when does anyone's critique of a book constitute "taking the author's inventory"?
It seems the one "taking the inventory" is you, judging those who are criticizing Frey or the book.
That's absurd.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 1:25PM

NOW THIS is a Criminal:
In 1982 Richard Stratton was convicted of operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise under the kingpin statute of New York State. For over 10 years he had been running an international drug smuggling operation, bringing tons of marijuana and hashish into the United States and arranging for its distribution. How does one become an international drug smuggler? For Stratton it was a fluke, a chance encounter south of the border in 1964. But what kept Stratton coming back for more was the challenge, the adrenaline rush, and the belief that one day he could take his experiences and put them all into a book.

The badder you are the more money you make on a memoir...

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 1:36PM

BUT it appears that this guy actually has a writing background (complete with prep school) but when he went bad, he went bad.

Interesting Salon article:

LisaJan 15, 2006 at 2:39PM

Wow...I can't believe all the mixed comments here.

My take is the same as alot of others....whether it's true or false, it's a very good read.

And heck, if it help alot of people, where is the harm?

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 3:48PM

How is it a good read? Really curious here..
I thought it poorly written, tedious and far-fetched.

carlJan 15, 2006 at 4:29PM

The book stands on its own. I think people who read it now will see that.

It should, however, have been marketed differently. To put this out as non-fiction with no disclaimer and then to appear on talk shows and to present as the whole truth is wrong.

somervilleJan 15, 2006 at 5:10PM

Even if the book were well -written (which it's not) I would no longer consider it a good read - simply because Frey misrepresented the truth.

They should have marketed it as fiction.

It's clear he was never at Hazelden. It sure isn't the Hazelden I knew and I was there areound the same time he was The one he describes is a cliched pastiche of things ripped off from World War II prison movies and movies on mental asylums .

He is perpetuating some Hollywood myth of what a rehab is like. People, if you think Hazelden is anything like that, you are SOOO wrong. The people who still say the book is good are like those people who refuse to believe anything bad about their favorite movies stars who have committed some horrible crime. I know it's hard for people to let go of an image, but come on.....

somervilleJan 15, 2006 at 5:20PM

If it is proven that Frey is not an addict and never been in rehab, as I believe will turn out to be the case, will people still say he helped them ?

Michelle MJan 15, 2006 at 5:44PM

When I was a kid-I was shocked when the elementary school librarian told me that the Little House in the Praire series was classified as fiction. She went on to explain that while the main characters did exist-and that certain events certainly did happen-there was a lot that was added for dramatic effect and to ensure a flowing narrative.

Frey's work doesn't seem to achieve even that level of authenticity. There are serious doubts as to whether he was ever really a "junkie, and if some of the main characters (such as Leonard and Lilly) were anything other than figure's in Freys imagination (or in the case of Lily, even plagerized from another work).

For an a couple insightful reviews by John Dolan that came out weeks before the Smoking Gun report, check out:

Erin KnoglerJan 15, 2006 at 5:45PM

not an addict? was never in rehab?
this is what i don't like. people are without any valid proof, disputing the core things this book is about, the things we all know in our hearts is true. TSG said that they believed he was an addict and did go to treatment. they aren't questioning that at all. somehow you though, just because you went to hazelden, think you know the truth? he already said he changed things, and i'm sure that extends to his experience there.
i refuse to believe anything bad about him because he is a human being, not a greedy manipulative liar. so he changed stuff, exaggerated...he didn't come right off and tell people that at the beginning. who cares? he made a mistake. i was profoundly emotionally impacted by AMLP and thats all that really matters to me.
if it comes out that frey was not an addict or never has been in rehab, i will be dissapointed, but it was still a good book, not as great as if it were to be true, but still good. i don't expect that it will be proven though. i am very certain that the central story is true. so a few addicts are saying it's not, who's to say if you were ever there either.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 5:48PM

My guess is that he probably was an abusive drinker. Lots of college kids are, unfortunately. That's a far cry from the addict or alcoholic he claimed to be. And I don't mean just his criminal exploits (or lack of them).

I don't believe much of any thing he wrote. And, I do not think the book stands on its own. It's not good writing. It's not a good read. It's immature, narcissistic and tedious.

Michelle MJan 15, 2006 at 5:48PM

Read the articles I posted and see if you still believe the central story.

TomJan 15, 2006 at 5:56PM

The worst fabrications in the book come at the end. After trashing Alcoholics Anonymous and his treatment program, Frey reveals in a postscript how nearly everyone he knew there ended up relapsing and dying in horrible ways or going to prison. At the time I read it I wondered, how on earth did he find out this information about people he hardly knew? Now I know..... Frey has every right to reject AA but not to make up facts about its failure rate and that of drug treatment.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 5:56PM

"Who really cares if it is all the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"
What about lies, wholly lies and nothing but lies?

Erin KnoglerJan 15, 2006 at 5:59PM

just because you thought it was not good writing and not a good read, doesn't make it so. thats your opinion and i can fully respect that. i read the entire book in one afternoon because i just couldn't put it down. it's been a long time since i've read anything that has swept me away like that. i got quite emotional while reading it, and after finishing it, it was front in my mind for the next week or so.
"immature, narcissistic and tedious" i thought it was heartfelt, honest, sincere and brave. not honest in a factual way, but in a way that he was bearing his soul to us.
i continue to love the book, and i'm looking forward to MFL. thats just my opinion though, and i know that a lot of people on here want to believe the worst, but not me. if you all hate the book, cool, whatever, thats your deal. i stand by frey and AMLP, and i am sure i am not alone.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 6:24PM

he was bearing (sic) his soul? Do you really believe that?


lnairJan 15, 2006 at 6:43PM

It was a memoir- not an autobiography.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 6:55PM

A memoir is non-fiction. If it was fiction it should have been labeled as such. However, um, no publisher would take it on as fiction. Wonder why?

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 6:57PM

And yes, a memoir may not be "truth". Of course it is subjective, and memories fade, or are altered some in retelling. But not whole fabrications.
There is a line. Frey passed that line, in whole.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 7:05PM

And that is with the fabrications to which he has admitted.
Maybe he is an addict. So what? THe core elements around which he based his book have pretty much proven false. Yes, these are essential to his story. Otherwise, it's just another dumb drunkalogue. sorry.
But there are a million drunks with dumb stories. And while 'good writing' is of course subjective, I didn't think it was good or moving. Maybe because so much rang untrue. And much we know now was untrue. Emotionalism is not emotion. And my gut tells me his is a fraud.

AndrewJan 15, 2006 at 7:11PM

It is probably a good idea not to try to tie Frey to AA or NA in any meaningful way. Frey rejected both and rejected the concepts of his "Fury" as anything more than a choice. He did not believe he was sick in the sense that AA does and he has never, so far as I can tell, embraced AA post his stint at Rehab.

I say that because I don't think Frey is above the tenants of AA that would most likely be helpful in his defense (such as not taking his inventory). It is not helpful then to try to put Frey under the AA tent in that he does not want to be there.

That leaves him to defend his "recovery" by going down other roads and I think that is what some here are asking: How sick was he? Was he really as sick as he claimed (since the age of 10) or was he really just someone who learned the lingo and thought that a book like AMLP would make great money?

And there is nothing wrong with writing a book to make money...nothing at all. But when you are writing about a subject that has torn lives apart I think that people are going to be more critical when it appears that it is made up.

He should not be surprised.

Oh, and if he shut down the main part of his website (I think I read that above) that was a TERRIBLE move. I mean, if he is being honest, whey start hiding? Those of you who are defending him, well that is one thing, but he should be leading that fight. He should be out there unsealing records and pleading with people to read them. I mean, why not? He could edit them in such a way that did not expose anyone else. That he is not is a huge mistake and leaves me to believe one of two things. 1. That he can yet does not want to. Not likely in that this is his career at stake. 2. That he cannot, in which case, he owes those who dumped money on his book a million little apologies.


Erin KnoglerJan 15, 2006 at 7:19PM

he shut down his website cos of all the fucking haters out there that were flooding it and ruining it for others.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 7:28PM

Beautifully said, Andrew.

Oh Erin, that's absurd. If a writer can't take bad reviews, then he has no business writing. It happens. All the time. He can always add or delete what he didn't like. He seems adept at that in other respects.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 7:31PM

The site is not shut down. He does have a 'chatroom' with several 'subrooms'. One of those is Help.
Does this mean that Frey is now counseling addicts?

Now that is scary.

LSJan 15, 2006 at 7:31PM

Does anyone know on what page in the paperback edition his recount of the train accident takes place? Having finished the book, I can't find it again. Thanks.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 7:34PM

It's in the beginning, I remember that. I did not buy the book. I borrowed it. And then finished it in the book store.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 7:38PM

Hmm maybe he actually did shut it down. Or nobody is in chat.
wonder why no one is in chat. oops

He also has a subroom called "if you're an asshole looking to cause trouble here".

My he is sensitive.

Scott JohnsonJan 15, 2006 at 7:44PM

Frey Plays Victim

There are many ironies and some damaging conceptions I think in James Frey’s book, A Million Little Pieces, a book held up as an important lesson in redemption and recovery from addiction (not held up by many people with professional knowledge of addictions, but by the media giant Oprah).
One danger is his conception of addicts playing “victim” if they share their stories and deal with their histories in order to come to grips with their addictions. He argues that one must only, simply, take responsibility for one’s own actions. He rages against lies and claims that truth is all that is important. But then ironically, Frey shares his story, which he admits is partly fictional, and that makes him wealthy and many say "inspirational."
The biggest irony is that the fictions he creates, which are not small but are important and pervade the narrative threads of the book, are designed to elicit sympathy for him in a way that by his own reasoning would be a creation of himself as "victim". He suggests (erroneously I think) that the recovery community is all about people playing "victim". Yet, that is just where he goes with his fictions: He is an outcast, and scorned by his hometown neighbors and would-be friends, held responsible for a death of someone dear to him at a tender young age. He is constantly put down by “the man”, beaten and mistreated by cops. He suffers from “the fury” which leads him to uncontrollable violence and trouble with the law. He is wanted as a criminal in three states. All fiction it now seems.
The most potential damage is caused by his idea that one can overcome an addiction by sheer willpower. Just “hold on” is his pithy, simplistic, uninformative solution. He says he will take responsibility for himself. Ultimately, any addict who achieves recovery is taking responsibility for himself. Responsibility is an ongoing achievement arrived at daily after much work, much introspection, and much honesty. The trick is how to get there. For most people it isn’t a state of grace that just comes spontaneously by ignoring others and doing your own thing. For most it doesn’t just come easily after a short stay at a recovery center, where you ignore most advice and help. How do you do this? Frey describes little insight on this.
Few people with an addiction that took them to the depths that Frey describes would find success in simply “hanging on”, whatever that means. But then, as the honesty of his whole experience can be called into question, do we know what depths Frey’s addiction led to?
All addicts deserve our sympathy and understanding while we simultaneously help them to understand addiction and take responsibility for their actions and lives. It is not an either/or proposition. Frey deserves our sympathy and help as well.
Is Frey willing to take responsibility for his actions? He has taken the money and accepted his Oprah given role as "inspiration" for millions of people. Will he be responsible and responsive to them with the truth that he so values? Instead of once again playing the victim by saying that this call for his honesty and responsibility is the “latest attempt to discredit me,” saying such questions come from "haters"? This is his next real, not imaginary challenge.

Scott A. Johnson
Rocky Point, NY
Recovering Addict and Drug Treatment Counselor

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 8:01PM

Who up there likened Frey to Bill O'Reilly? Ummm I like that. Very good!!

Scott, thank you. You said it better than I could.
Is it possible the Oprah crowd wants a made-for-movie sound-bite, of depravity and redemption in the period of a day? Preferably in the form of an ephiphany that takes longer to describe than the event itself. Oh and lots of hugs. This is not great literature, and it sure isn't helpful to addicts and alcoholics drawing inspiration from him (God help us) or worse yet, attempting to emulate him.

Here is possibly the most concise description of Frey & his contribution to literature I have seen, from the New York Magazine:

" A week ago, Frey was the most famous writer in America. Now he’s in his loft in Soho, with its liquor cabinet (for his friends who still drink), his vast ambitions and bank account, and a pack of reporters camped outside. This is a story F. Scott Fitzgerald could have done something with. And his literary chest-thumping produced a truly glorious Schadenfreude smackdown—Frey threw up, and threw down, and cracked up. It’s the kind of crash that makes other writers very happy. Possibly, this will be his greatest contribution to American literature."

Oh and this reviewer's allusion to "crack up" is undoubtedly the book of the same name by a real writer to whom she does refer. F.S.F.
Oh and F.S.F. was an alcoholic.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 8:05PM

I shouldn't have left this part out:

"Frey’s rage, it now seems, was mostly a rage to succeed. It’s a physical thing, something Norman Mailer would have understood, the writer as pugilist. Frey wanted to crush the competition. And clearly, he wasn’t going to do it with his writing. It’s Neanderthal prose, the bluntest of instruments, pounding relentlessly. But if he couldn’t make himself the great American novelist, he could become the great American substance abuser (where there’s also plenty of competition).

And then Oprah looked down on the book, and saw that it was good. And though it seemed like the Smoking Gun had smote Frey a mighty blow, verily, Her voice gave him strength again. Frey’s story became a TV parable of therapy and forgiveness, where the love of Mom and Oprah triumph over whiskey and cocaine and any lingering predilection for literal truth. Larry King and Anderson Cooper, stunned and awed, could only bow down before Her supernatural power. “I’ll never write . . . about myself again,” said Frey. But who cares what the sins really were, as long as there’s redemption."

dougJan 15, 2006 at 8:12PM

Watching Larry King Live I was dumbfounded that James Frey didn't
answer one question. I couldn't stand him (or Larry King, at that point;
what a wuzz.) Then Oprah's "surprise" call, feigning anxiousness over
a busy signal. What a joke. Oprah can't get through to Larry King? The
whole thing was a set-up. And the story, so what if it rings true. The
guy is a screen writer. And a liar.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 8:14PM

It rings true? To whom? Oprah? yikes

somervilleJan 15, 2006 at 8:44PM

Hey, we need to hear from more people who were actually at Hazelden. I have been compiling a long list of factual errors in his depiction of Hazelden and would like to hear from anyone else am open to any other people who spot some.

I have a question: in the book Frey says that a Hazelden lawyer negotiates on his behalf with the prosecutor on his drug case. Why would a lawyer from Hazelden be doing this ? Isn't that kind of sticky ? The reason I ask is that a friend of mine just went into rehab in Malibu after being arrested for buying crack in LA. He had his own lawyer negotiate with the prosecutor when he was in rehab. No way would a lawyer at the rehab get involved with something like this.

Email me at : [email protected]

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 8:48PM

Ten minutes ago I received a phone call from my hysterical daughter. Her dad (my ex-husband) was an alcoholic and later meth addict. I married him when we were young and in college. He was handsome and drank like I drank. Oh he also came from an upper class family and was a spoiled rich kid. He hasn't worked in years, and didn't have to. In recent months he has been in and out of treatment centers.

He died this morning from a seizure, at 53 years old. His wife then had a stroke and is in the hospital. Their 17 year old daughter is at home alone, crying. Their son is flying home from college. Our daughter is crying. Her dad was going to come out and visit her.

As Joan Didion said, "Life changes in an ordinary second." That is especially true for addicts and the ones that love them.

This is the reality of alcoholism and drug addiction. I will soon call my daughter back when her phone is charged. I can't reach her now.

TrentJan 15, 2006 at 8:56PM

I am looking for a lawyer who is willing to wok pro-bono to file a suit against this writer. As a recovering addict/alcoholic of 15 years,I now am very troubled by people entering recovery who believe they can get clean the same way that the writer of A Million little Pieces did. To write a book claiming it as fact, has in fact denied many the right to possibly get clean through a recovery system. 6 treatment centers and many sponsees later has showed me that for the majority of us, it is not just a case of will power. The frustration I feel trying to work with someone who feels they can get sober by this book is just false hope. I cold have cared less if he wrote this as a "novel", but am deeply concerned by those who may actually die due to misguided information. This is not about money or power this author may have earned, but the real fact of someone out there still sick on the premise of getting well through B.S.osis.

somervilleJan 15, 2006 at 9:04PM

Trent -

There is a woman who has already filed a class action suit against Frey last week. Go to Google news and put in Frey's name and the story should come up. I read about the lawsuit in the New York Post.

PotfryJan 15, 2006 at 9:35PM

Exclusive: An Interview with James Frey while he is held down by Mike Tyson

James Frey, the embattled author of “A Million Little Pieces,” agreed to sit down with the Potfry team for an exclusive interview so that he could address the accusations laid out by “The Smoking Gun” expose: namely that he embellished, or in some cases completely manufactured, many elements of his best-selling memoir. As a condition of the interview, Frey requested that friend and fellow boxer Mike Tyson be present, so that he could restrain Frey should the author feel a need to administer one of his legendary ass-kickings.
Potfry: “So, James, I’ve heard you’re getting a new tattoo that says, “Mama’s Boy”. Any truth to that?”

Frey: (struggling against Tyson) “You piece of (#@($, I’m going to fu-“

Potfry: “Sorry, James. We just needed to make sure that Mr. Tyson was up to the task.”

Tyson: “Don’t you worry, Mr. Popfry.”

Potfry: “Anyway, James, thanks for coming.”

Frey: “Whatever, numbnuts. Hey Tice, can you let up a bit on my arm? You’re cutting off the blood flow.”

Tyson: “Thorry, Jameth. I’m just trying to protect Mr. Popfry.”

Potfry: “James, this restraint stuff isn’t new for you. Remember, you had those two root-canals without anesthesia, and had to be duct-taped to the dentist chair.”

Frey: Yeah. White hot pain. Pain is the real bitch. I said, bring it on, and they did. I stood up to that drill and took its best shot. Then I bit that bitch drill and cracked my only good tooth, which they had to pull with a pair of rusty pliers that they found in a dumpster in the back. They wanted to send me to the hospital because my vital signs said I was flatlining. No, I said. Just hang on. Just hang on.”

Tyson: “Thath right, you juth hang on Jameth.”

Potfry: “Well, we tried to track down the dentist in question, James. Couldn’t find him.”

Frey: “He’s dead now. He was so amazed at my bravery that his head exploded several days later.”

Tyson: “Juth went pop.”

Potfry: “But we did find the dental assistant.”

Frey: “Bitch.”

Tyson: "Skank Bitch."

Potfry: “She told us that you had a routine teeth cleaning, and she held your hand through the whole thing.”

Frey: “She’s pissed cause she wanted some Jimmy love, and I wouldn’t give it to her. Let the haters hate, and the liars lie.”

Tyson: “Let the haterth hate, and the liarth lie.”

Potfry: “There are a few people who went to high school with you who are telling a slightly different story than “A Million Little Pieces.” From their accounts, you come across as more of a pleasant soccer playing kid with bad hair. None of this “Public Enemy Number 1” stuff that you talk about in your novel.”

Frey: “I kicked their asses, and had their women. Sometimes I kicked their women’s asses after I had them.”

Tyson: “Slap da bitch!”

Frey: “Easy, Tice.”

Potfry: “So you’re saying everything in your book is true?”

Frey: “The book is 432 pages long, and they are asking questions about 18 pages. I think that’s a pretty good percentage.”

Tyson: “Much ado about nuffin, juth like Oprah thaid.”

Potfry: “But what about the time you spent in prison? You said it was 3 months, but it seems it was only a few hours.”

Frey: “Time stands still in prison. I was drunk and high. It felt like three months.”

Tyson: “Jimmy Frey wath in da big house!”

Hudson VanZantJan 15, 2006 at 9:50PM

I am late in the game on this comment board. At this point I must be number 1050.

I read Frey's book, AMLP, long before he showed up on Oprah, and felt it was the most realistic account of addiction, detox and recovery I have ever read in my life.

Having been gravely affected by the horrors of addition in the lives of family members, friends and most of all, personally, I found it to be an amazingly accurate account of the physical and mental issues addicts face when trying to detox and recover.

There were many times I questioned the dramatic detail of the story and felt it to be "larger than life" in its presentation. However, I think of all the authors who have written about this subject, i.e WS Burroughs, HS Thompson, etc., have a tendency to glorify the drug life, and it is refreshing that Frey tries and succeeds in counteracting those viewpoints.

This is the most realistic description of addiction ever written. The fact this book landed in the hands of MILLIONS of parents, friends, children and families of addicts is nothing short of a miracle. It has opened the eyes of ALL kinds regarding addictions and the hardships they bring. I don't care if the entire book was fabricated. AMLP is a book that has become the owner's manual for addiction, and when read by people who want to understand the realities and thought process of an addict, all they need to know is between those pages.

mollyJan 15, 2006 at 10:03PM

WHAT??? You think it is an owner's manual for addiction?
Oh my . I am speechless.

I'm pretty close to all of this too, and I sure wouldn't to call this an owner's manual.
My ex-husband used to call himself a 'successful addict' (whatever that is)
He died today, at 53, from a seizure.

I don't know why i am still on here. I think I am in shock. And appalled that anyone would call Frey's book an owner's manual.
Oh my God.

dougJan 15, 2006 at 10:03PM

Hudson VanZant says... Spare me. James Frey has got to be the OJ of literature.

dougJan 15, 2006 at 10:43PM

"Having been gravely affected by the horrors of addiction"... "I don't
care if the entire book was fabricated." This would be comedy if not
so tragic.

ulJan 15, 2006 at 10:56PM

See-- I told you the people on this site were scarier then the fake people and drugs in Frey-brains book.

Erin KnoglerJan 15, 2006 at 11:48PM

frey is being compared to OJ and bill o'reilly????
get your head out of your ass. this is ridiculous. i'm done bothering with what anyone has to say in here. it's obvious everyone just wants to jump on the hate frey train. all these addicts saying that frey shouldn't be listened to, that he was against AA, how it's terrible he is telling people they can do it like he did.
he fucking said that it worked for him and he was in no way trying to tell someone else that it would work for them.
you can do it with sheer willpower, but some jackass above seems to think that just can't happen. holding on...pathetic or whatever he said.
my best friends sister was a meth addict for years and she finally went to rehab. she didn't find god or rely on the 12 step program. it's been 5-6 years since she's been out. all she did was keep holding on, making a life for herself that she no longer wanted to ruin.
you people are bullies. mean, arrogant trainwrecks that can't handle that this book is loved by many despite your countless pathetic attempts to discredit him.

jkottkeJan 16, 2006 at 12:04AM

I'm uncomfortable stopping conversations on while they're still active, but I feel this particular one has run its course. Thanks to everyone who participated.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.