D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

Friday, January 27, 2006 6:53 AM

Oprah is on the rampage. She feels “embarrassed” that she promoted the memoir “A Million Little Pieces” after auther, James Frey, was found to have altered facts about his life in the book (most notably about the amount of time he spent in jail).

At issue is Oprah defending him on Larry King Live after the revelation was made on The Smoking Gun website. After calling in to Larry King to defend the book, her website was blasted by angry viewers who felt betrayed that a book that was supposed to be a truthful retelling was marred with lies, and that Oprah obviously didn't think truth was important.

In an attempt to do damage control, Oprah brought the author onto her show yesterday to confront him. She grilled him on many aspects of the book, and the audience was totally feeding off of her melodrama.

Oprah: “Was there a Lily?”
James: “Yes”
Oprah: “And did she commit suicide?”
James: “Yes”
Oprah: “By hanging?”
James: “No”
Oprah looks like one of her dogs just died and the audience gasps in unison
Oprah: “How did she die?”
James: “She slit her wrists”

Obviously if I was writing a memoir, I'd change some details to protect the identity of people. So of course some details are going to be different, yet Oprah and her cult thought this was the equivalent of saying he put one of the nails through Christ's hand personally!

My wife has read A Million Little Pieces, and she was very moved by it. Does it matter that he only spent hours instead of months in jail? No. Does it matter that Lily slit her wrists instead of hanging herself? No. What does matter, and what seems to have been lost in this whole experience, is that there is an epidemic of addition in our world, and the events of this book paint a picture of reality, even if its not the author's.

Oprah and her viewers should be ashamed that instead of focussing on the positives of this book (addicts praise it for offering a glimmer of hope), and allowing it to move them to action within their communities to help those with addictions, they've made it about saving Oprah's image thinly veiled as an attack on “truth”.

D




Feedback

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

2+2=4 4+4=8 8+8=16 16+16=32 32+32=64 64+64=128

OMG U R right!! its an epidemic of addition, just like you said!!

sorry man... i really could NOT resist! 1/27/2006 12:47 PM | Chris Williams

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

otherwise excellent post though! People are way too caught up in "the TRUTH" in my opinion. The truth is none of most people's business. 1/27/2006 12:48 PM | Chris Williams

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

You are defending lying. I guess you are fine with people lying on their resume when applying for a job. 1/27/2006 3:49 PM | Terrible post

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

I'm telling you...addition is the square root of all evil.
;)

I laugh at Terrible Post's comment, firstly because they just signed their name as Terrible Post, which is pretty terrible in and of itself...if you're going to disagree, don't do it from a point of anonymity.

Secondly, I'm not defending lying at all. What I'm pointing out is that, for a country that just had their leader go to war over "improper facts", they seem to be alot more accepting of that than of some rehabbed druggie who changed a few details in HIS memoir. This whole thing isn't about the fact that he exaggerated and changed a few parts...this is ALL about Oprah avoiding bad press and coming out looking good in the eyes of popular opinion. Nobody has any right to be as upset as they seem, because no body SHOULD be upset! IT'S A BOOK! It's not meant to be a historical text book, its his story.

D 1/27/2006 5:30 PM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

The thing I find funny is memoirs are often written in the form of interpretation, which is how people see their own life. Hours in jail might have felt like months, the fact on how this woman took her own life is irrelevant to the fact she did it and how it affected the author. It seems there will always be a line between how someone interprets their life as to how others see it.

One person’s fact is another person’s fiction.

- willyd 1/28/2006 9:00 AM | Willyd

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

Come on people!!! The question one should ask themselves is, did I enjoy reading this book? Did it have a hold on me making it hard to put down? Was I entertained ? Oprah needs to get over herself and give this guy a break. Let's hope Mr Frey doesn't relapse after all this negative publicity. 2/5/2006 5:26 AM | C. MATHEWS

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces and its many lies

I just read a great parody of this book entitled "Million Little Lies"

It is surprisingly a fantastic read and you will laugh a quite a bit. I question whether this book is really a parody? 4/14/2006 11:19 AM | Johnny O

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

I JUST FINISHED THE BOOK IN QUESTION AND I REALLY LIKED IT. WHETHER TRUE OR NOT TRUE, IT WAS STILL A FANTASTIC BOOK. GAVE ALOT OF INSIGHT TO THE PROBLEMS OF ADDICTION, AND THE REPRECUSSIONS OF USING. I KNEW A LITTLE ABOUT THE CONTROVERSY REGARDING THIS BOOK, HOWEVER I DIDN'T LET IT EFFECT THE POWER OF WHAT THE BOOK IS MEANT TO ACCOMPLISH. THE TERRIBLE AND HOPELESS FEELING PEOPLE UNDER ANY ADDICTION FACES. EVERYONE SHOULD GROW UP AND REALIZE THIS. STOP BOO-HOOING ABOUT SOME MINOR DETAILS EXAGERATED. WHAT IS THE WHOLE TRUTH ANYWAY. THERE ISN'T ANY. TO ANYONE CLEAN OR ADDICTED ABOUT TO READ THIS BOOK TAKE WHAT YOU CAN OUT OF IT AND LEAVE THE REST TO
HOPE
THANK YOU, TERRI 7/21/2006 7:46 PM | TERRI

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

It was a good book, but the fact remains that the author claimed it to be true and lied about it and I think that's the issue. When reading a book that claims to be the true history of one man you take it into your mind differently than reading a book of fiction. And using somebody's death to glorify yourself is just plain weird. It makes me wonder how much of the book really is made up. I did really enjoy the book but came away also feeling conned. But then again, what do you expect from a self proclaimed criminal. 8/26/2006 11:25 AM | Zamondo

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

I absolutley loved this book. Any book that can bring emotion out of someone in such a strong way is evidence of a great book. At the end of the day this man went through hell, and with all odds against him fought back against his adiction, and that is an accomplishment I admire whether or not some of the details were altered or not...I'm assuming that everyone who has called this guy a liar because he altered the truth is completly innocent of doing that themselves at anytime?? Come on! Gimme a break, who hasn't fabricated to make something just a little bit more interesting? Those who say they haven't are liars themselves...so there you go. Bottom line is this man is amazing for what he has been able to deal with, and amazing for the way he has touched so many others with addiction, and he's a great writer. So, there's my opinion, not that any of y'all asked for it.
10/12/2006 8:16 PM | Andrea Farrand

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

i think it was terrible that he lied. i think he gave a ton of false hope to peopl.... 11/27/2006 7:04 PM | i think im opposed

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

i read it it was a good book. any self respecting reader would immediately be suspicioous of certain circumstances (becoming so intimate with such colorful characters like a mafiaso, a federal judge, his incredible luck at getting to rehab just before dying of such gross internal damage) most nonfiction these days is more fiction than non. having been inpatient myself for overdose three times, there are basic truths about any stay at detox or pysch facilities that rings true, the "we are all different/we are all the same" and the trying to find your own way whatever way you can make it work for you, for real this time. so he embellished. the basic theme of the book was real enough. why does it matter so much that people spent so much time with magnifying glasses on the guys past? what matters is that he truely gave some people hope to try and find there own truth, and to me, thats all that mattesrs 1/22/2007 6:38 PM | jen

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

I dont understand why Oprah and her guests think they have the right to drill Frey with 20 questions about his life and novel. it was still a damn good book and the second one was great too. cant we just look at it in a positive way, james is an amazing writer, his prose is different and addictive. i love both the books 6/5/2007 10:43 AM | Rae

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

Okay, so the book was only based on a true story instead of actually being a true story. That doesn't matter. Little details were changed. I figured as soon as I started reading it that the names had been changed, so it was no big shock to me that some other things were changed. James could have written that he and Lily lived happily ever and were successful bla bla bla... Instead he merely changed her method of suicide. Would all of you be so upset if he lied about what whe was wearing? These details are of the same calibur! Fiction or not, it was a good book and I really enjoyed it. That's all that matters. Not weather it is fiction or not, but weather you liked it. 6/11/2007 4:58 PM | Martina

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

yea fuck that this book chaged my life 2/7/2008 7:54 PM | walkjoeast

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

YOU GUYS are missing the point. Nobody is taking away from the book. It's a good book. But Frey capitalized on an audience that was searching for memoirs of amazing people. If Frey's story were true, he would be worthy of being respected, to go through what he did. But as it turns out, he made up or embellished every other sentence. And what did he get out of it? Fame, respect, and FORTUNE. FOR LIES.

I sure as hell wouldn't have read the book if I knew ahead of time he was making all this shit up. Reminds me of my old roommate who had unbelievable stories that made him look hardcore, but (obviously) it turned out that none of them are true. Frey just took this to the next level. 5/10/2008 2:46 PM | James Frey

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

haha you guys are all nerds! 5/21/2008 8:31 AM | anthrax the disease

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

haha you guys are all nerds!
get a life 5/21/2008 8:31 AM | anthrax the disease

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

I agree with the post. Authors have a right to alter some details. Fact is, it's what sells. Nobody seems to care that so called "reality" shows are often scripted and staged, and not at all reality as they claim to be. So how is this any worse? Had the addictions, rehab, Lilly, and other main events ben entirely fiction, there'd be reason to be upset. But they did happen, though the details and events were embellished and exaggerated at some parts. What matters is it is a reality for many, many, many people, whether or not it was for James Frey. As for Oprah, get over yourself already. 5/30/2008 1:22 AM | jen

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

this boooked changed my life and know one will ever know the truth but james frey even if it wasent true does that make a difference on the message. 10/27/2008 12:45 PM | sarah

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

i think it was ok for him to stretch the truth because it didnt stop the book from being AMAZING! and it the extra details attracted us to read the book and make us aware of realistic alcohol and drug related problems 12/1/2008 8:51 PM | Jiya

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

I read the book and was moved. Then, I looked it up online because of course I wanted to learn more about these people. This was a true account. What happened to them, to James Frey, to Lilly? I became sad and very dissapointed that Frey would call this a true memior, when in fact, it was a big stretch. Did he really recover? That's the next question. Recovery requires brutal honesty. This memior was not an example of Brutal Honesty. Did it probably drive alot of people away from AA and other 12 step programs? Yes. Is this significant? Yes. Addiction is a killer. I can only pray this book helped more people than it hurt. What do you think, James? 12/6/2008 1:15 PM | Renee Lynn

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

Everyone shut up. This guy has gone through so much throughout this entire book. The book is 430 pages long and there is constantly something happening, this poor guy embellishes a few things and people are on his case about it. I support James Frey in his book and it has truly had an affect on me. And to everyone else who thinks he's such an awful person because of "stretching the truth", think about all of the things that he had to go through in his life and in an interview he still considers himself "fortunate" and very lucky. He is truly an optimist despite his early life and should not be punished for that. In addition, just because people are supporting Frey and his book, A Million Little Pieces, doesn't mean we are supporters of liars. He is not a liar so everyone get over yourselves, have a heart and support this mans decision to write a book that he hoped could give light and promise to addicts and spread the truth about the life of an alcoholic, addict and criminal to others. 1/12/2009 9:37 PM | ihihjg,g

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

WTF??? you peopl should just get a life. what if he changed a few details? what if it is'nt ENTIRELY the truth? nobody cares..it doesn't matter! why focus on the unimportant shit ?? why not focus on the fact that this man changed millions of people's lives? If you make a big scene out of the fact that the whole book isn't the truth..then I really don't know where the world's going..it's sad actually. james went through hell while in rehab..give him the respect that he deserves. I'm sure none of you know what it feels like to go through that! don't judge him when you have't been in his shoes. you have no idea what he felt like..please just go back to your boring lives and go moan about other stuff. James Frey is a hero in my eyes..I respect him and admire his strength. You should do the same. The book changed my life..and many others'..that's all that matters ..don't you think?.. maybe you should do that..think about it.. 3/22/2009 10:34 AM | Thanx James..

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

WTF?? get a grip people! Why does it matter so much to you that he changed a few details when he changed so many lives?..ok so he did lie about a few things..so what! How does that effect you in any way? It's his book, his life, his choice. Nobody cares what the rest of you think! James frey is a HERO! he went through hell in rehab and he managed to get through it all end recover. Not many addicts could say the same. I bet none of you assholes knows what it feels like to be like that and to go through that pain..? Didn't think so. So why don't you just go back to your little perfect, honest lives and leave the poor man alone! A Million Little Pieces certainly changed my life and the way I look at things. You really think too much..if you want to think rather think about how much James meant to some other readers! If you don't want to read the book..DON'T ! but stop critisising the man and stop looking down on the people who actually enjoyed the book and those whose lives have been touched... 3/22/2009 12:22 PM | Thanx James..

#  In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

Ok, I completely understand why plenty of people are upset about the lying factor. But really ?! Come on the book was amazing regardless to if it was completely true or not. It touched many people and got the point across to its audience. If i knew right off the bat that it was fictional and still read it, I still would have loved the book. People need to just calm down and stop getting offended so easily. The book was damn good! 5/12/2009 8:01 PM | Britt

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

So let me get this straight. A few minutes in jail can seem like months. i tell you my life story, but Leonard is really just an example, of what you want to choose, I make up crazy shit and bend rules, but it is ok - it's just good reading. I tell you it's the absolute story - nonfiction, of my life, and you are willing to over look a few things. How would you feel if after 15 years of marraige, your wife or your husband said the same thing to you? I looked at him/her, becomes I slept with them for years, but whats a few moments? My "friend" was me, I was just gauging how you would react. I lie, and lie, but it makes life entertaining for you dimwitted dolts. I saw through this book about 1/4 of the way through. The only way a person that has been in rehab can. Addicts will lie to you over and over,and you will worship us. Who is the real loser? Dumbfuckers need to demand the truth. Until then, you get what you deserve. 12/12/2010 8:24 AM | Jbro Man

# re: In Defense of A Million Little Pieces

I absolutely LOVED his two books. Cried like never before over a story. I dont care if it wasnt all true. It moved me to tears and thats all that matters to me. 6/6/2011 12:32 PM | loved it

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