As I’m sure everyone knows, there were serious doubts raised about James Frey and his memoir A Million Little Pieces by The Smoking Gun. This was all over the literary news yesterday and was even picked up by CNN.
The short version is that the Smoking Gun folks spent six weeks investigating Frey’s claims in A Million Little Pieces, which during 2005 sold more copies in the United States than any other book except Harry Potter. The Gun’s assessment is that “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 the interest of balance, it’s important to note that Frey and his folks have responded by standing by their assertions in the book. On his website Frey writes “this is the latest investigation into my past, and the latest attempt to discredit me. In an effort to be consistent with my policy of openness and transparency, I thought I should share it with the people who come to this website and support me and my work. 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.”
Miss Snark and her readers had a lively and interesting discussion about what this revelation means and how it reflects on the publishing industry. And probably every book blog out there has commented on this.
But it’s too early in the morning, and I’m groaning that it’s only Tuesday when it feels like it should be the end of the week, so I’m going to hold off on this one for now. I need to mull over exactly how I feel so keep your eyes out for another post on this topic. In the meantime, probably one of the best articles is the detailed, yet quick, summation of the whole situation in this New York Times article.