Uh-oh. Looks like the title of James Frey’s rehab memoir — A Million Little Pieces — may end up being an apt description of his reputation. On the heels of allegations that he fabricated significant portions of his book — which is supposed to be an account of his life before and during rehab for alcohol and crack cocaine addiction — Random House, his publisher is offering refunds to readers.
Readers calling Random House’s customer service line to complain on Wednesday were told that if the book was bought directly from the publisher it could be returned for a full refund. Those who bought the book at a bookstore were told to try to return it to the store where it was bought.
"If the book was bought directly from us we will refund the purchase price in full," one Random House customer service agent told Reuters, noting readers would have to return the book with the original invoice. "If you bought it at a book store, we ask that you return the book to the book store."
Wow. Well, I didn’t buy it from the publisher, so I guess I’m stuck with my copy. Frey is going on Larry King tonight to defend the book, and himself I guess.
Given my own reaction to the book and the reflection it caused on my part, I kind of wonder if it matters whether everything in it was true or not. But then I reconsider and thing maybe it does, if you’re claiming to tell your life story. Naturally people embroider a bit on the truth in their memoirs, but making up events that never happened or recasting and reframing actual events involving others seems to be asking for trouble, particularly in an age when anyone with an internet connection, time, and resources can research just about anyone or anything for themselves.
Fortunately, the book I wrote for NaNoWriMo (currently in its first revision) is complete fiction. So, if it ever gets published and Oprah should call I don’t think I’ll have anything to worry about. And, yes, on the outside chance that I end up getting published and on Oprah’s book list, I’m so not to much of a snob to accept the offer. I stick the "O" stickers on the book jackets myself. "Oprah Author" = Bestseller, after all. Just don’t write fiction and claim it’s your biography.
Besides, I have a blog. Why would I need to write my memoirs?