Wow. He had me at hello. Not only that, James Frey’s memoir of addiction and recovery — A Million Little Pieces — also prompted me to write a review that was also sort of a confessional about my own experience with the subject. Now it turns out that much of it might not have been true? The Smoking Gun seems to have done a pretty thorough job in picking apart Frey’s story and debunking many of the claims in it, and points out how convenient it is that everyone in Frey’s book who could corroborate many of the details are — according to the last few pages of the book — dead.
While the book is brimming with improbable characters–like the colorful mafioso Leonard and the tragic crack whore Lilly, with whom Frey takes up in Hazelden–and equally implausible scenes, we chose to focus on the crime and justice aspect of "A Million Little Pieces." Which wasn’t much of a decision since almost every character in Frey’s book that could address the remaining topics has either committed suicide, been murdered, died of AIDS, been sentenced to life in prison, gone missing, landed in an institution for the criminally insane, or fell off a fishing boat never to be seen again.
While we do not doubt Frey spent time in rehab, there really isn’t anyone left (besides the author himself) to vouch for many of the book’s outlandish stories.
It’s a long, long piece. I stopped reading it, after I began to feel ill for having bought, read, and posted about the book. Oh well, I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad. If all the Smoking Gun stuff is true, Frey fooled a lot more people than me; including Oprah.