James Frey

From ArticleWorld


James Frey is an American author whose book, A Million Little Pieces, delved into his downfall of drugs and crime and subsequent recovery. It became a best seller in 2005. Later investigations by the Web site The Smoking Gun showed that many of Frey’s claims were exaggerated or plagiarized from other works. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2006, Frey admitted the embellishments and falsehoods found in the book, but he has denied the charges of plagiarism.

A Million Little Pieces

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Frey began writing A Million Little Pieces in 1996. After 17 publishers turned it down as a fiction novel, the book was published as a memoir in 2003 after the fictional parts of the books were excluded.

Frey followed A Million Little Pieces with My Friend Leonard in 2004. The book continues former and deals with his father-son relationship with a mobster named Leonard. My Friend Leonard was published as a non-fiction book, as well. He also wrote two screenplays (Sugar: The Fall of the West and Kissing a Fool) in 1998, along with an adapted screenplay for A Million Little Pieces.

A Million Little Pieces gained wide attention in September 2005 when Winfrey chose it to be a part of her monthly book club. It quickly moved to the top of the book charts and sold more than 2 million copies.

Controversy

With increased publicity came increased attention to details Frey included in the book. A Jan. 8, 2006 article on The Smoking Gun’s Web site titled, “A Million Little Lies: Exposing James Frey’s Fiction Addiction” said Frey fabricated claims in his book. These included segments involving his criminal record, drug rehabilitation experiences, and a particular part involving a fatal car accident that killed Jane Hall and Melissa Sanders.

Once it became a national story, Frey threatened to sue The Smoking Gun. While his publishers, Doubleday and Anchor Books, have supported Frey, they are including disclaimers written by Frey in future publications.

After defending himself on television and in print, Frey admitted on The Oprah Winfrey Show that he had indeed fabricated sections of his book. Due to her role in supporting both Frey and his book, Winfrey said she felt “duped” and that he “betrayed millions of readers.”