Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

1/9/2006

TSG Puts the Hurt on an Oprah Book

Filed under: General,Pics,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 12:42 am

In late October of last year, Oprah featured James Frey's book A Million Little Pieces as the latest entry to her book club. The book is supposed to be a memoir of Frey's life of booze, drugs, violence, hate, and general malcontentedness… and how he overcame it all. Naturally, it shot to the top of the New York Times best-seller list for paperback nonfiction, Frey has become a celebrity and millionaire, and people are talking about the life-changing experience of the book.

One problem… it seems that in the book, Frey lied about his life… a lot. The Smoking Gun, the investigatory site that loves to obtain court records and mug shots, started looking into the claims Frey makes and found they were embellished to the point of just being false.

A pivotal section of the book had Frey hitting a beat cop with his car while on an alcohol and crack bender, being belligerent to the officer, getting beat down by the cops, and then spending three months in a county jail. The actual police report, however, shows that he just ran his car up on the sidewalk while drunk (and not hitting anyone), was very cooperative with police, and spent maybe five hours in police custody before being bailed out. He also incorrectly describes the jail and the officers and attorneys who were involved don't know what he's talking about.

In another instance, he inserts himself as a crucial participant in the tragic train-accident deaths of three teens in his town even though police reports never mention him and the parents of one of the teens say he had no relationship to their daughter. Oh, and he shifted the time of the accident to about five years earlier.

Other parts are simply and utterly unbelievable. Take this bit featured on Oprah's site:

I wake to the drone of an airplane engine and the feeling of something warm dripping down my chin. I lift my hand to feel my face. My front four teeth are gone, I have a hole in my cheek, my nose is broken and my eyes are swollen nearly shut. I open them and I look around and I'm in the back of a plane and there's no one near me. I look at my clothes and my clothes are covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood. I reach for the call button and I find it and I push it and I wait and thirty seconds later an Attendant arrives.
How can I help you?
Where am I going?
You don't know?
No.
You're going to Chicago, Sir.
How did I get here?
A Doctor and two men brought you on.
They say anything?
They talked to the Captain, Sir. We were told to let you sleep.

Riiiight. If you've ever watched just one episode of Airline on A&E, you know there's no way in hell a man "covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood" would ever be allowed to board a plane. It's gross, it's a health hazard, and the rest of the passengers would riot due to the smell alone. Not to mention that from his condition (later on, he also says he's in so much pain he can't even walk), he's in dire need of medical attention. A doctor wouldn't stick him on a plane, he'd stick him in a hospital. I mean, really… this passage doesn't even pass the sniff test for believability and this is what's on Oprah's site. Her billions of dollars must be making her gullible.

There's more to the falsification and it's pretty dang interesting. Frey essentially wrote a work of fiction that he's passing off as a true account of his life. He makes himself out to be this evildoer who was filled with hate and whom everybody hated when people who knew him said he was actually a nice and fairly popular well-liked guy.

TSG was apparently willing to be relatively nice until Frey threatened legal action. So it's now lowering the boom on Frey by releasing all the info it's uncovered and carefully laying out the inconsistencies between that of the documentary evidence and witness accounts and that of the book's stories. It's a long, but entertaining read.

What effect it will have on Frey remains to be seen. Oprah's site has a page devoted to the book and is currently soliciting people whose lives have been changed by it to write in for a possible appearance on a future show. Frey has also written a screenplay for a movie based on his "life" that, he says, is being co-produced by Brad Pitt and has several big name actors vying the role of bad boy James Frey. I don't like fabulists, so I don't mind a bit if it all evaporates due to TSG's thorough work.

More so because Frey advocates a method of detox and getting over addiction that is directly contrary to the successful methods of 12-step programs. He pushes a euphemism of Just Say No, called Hold On. Basically he says you just need willpower and you should purposely put yourself in situations in which you'll be tempted by the addiction of your choice. Not only is this stupid, it's downright dangerous for fragile people who don't have the necessary willpower to resist. It's all the more galling coming from somebody who apparently didn't have the addictions he purports to have, or at least didn't have them to the degree he claims.

Stylistically, looking at quotes and excerpts of the book, Frey is annoying and pretentious. He capitalizes things that shouldn't be capitalized, like 'Criminal' and 'Addict.' It also has a staccato flow that's like constantly tapping the brakes of a car. Just let it run.

The most entertaining part by far is this:

Three months after his Michigan arrest, Frey began his studies at Denison University, a 2100-student liberal arts school in the central Ohio town of Granville. It was here, according to "A Million Little Pieces," that Frey majored in substance abuse. He blacked out and vomited daily, frequently bled from his nose due to cocaine ingestion, and even pissed in his bed for the first time. This abuse of alcohol and drugs exacerbated Frey's rage, anger, and extreme pain, a self-destructive cocktail that he named "the Fury."

That's right, he named his anger "The Fury!" This can only make me think of Mystery Men's Mr. Furious, described here as a "Normal human with poor anger management. Mr.Furious claims to have superhuman strength when he loses his temper. Much of the time, he is lying, but on at least one occassion, he did demonstrate some level of increased potency when enraged." Sounds like Mr. Frey to me.

Mr. Furious!
James Frey in costume

6 Comments »

  1. […] It appears Oprah has been had, along with some others in the Hollywood community (not that this would be difficult in hollywood, everyone lies here). The Smoking Gun has a long piece with all the police reports and other documents to refute most of what is written in this book, A Million Little Pieces, written by James Frey. It’s supposed to be a non-fiction book about an addict hitting bottom and then picking himself up. Sounds nice right? It would be if any of it was true: (h/t Dangerous Dan) Three months ago, in what the talk show host termed a “radical departure,” Winfrey announced that “A Million Little Pieces,” author James Frey’s nonfiction memoir of his vomit-caked years as an alcoholic, drug addict, and criminal, was her latest selection for the world’s most powerful book club. […]

    Pingback by Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Oprah Got Worked — 1/9/2006 @ 2:18 am

  2. lmao, I haven’t read the book or seen the show but that sounds like a typical, gullible Oprah move.

    I can’t believe that people listen to that woman STILL. You mean to say that if she reccomends a book that it instantly goes into the top ten bestsellers list?!!

    Are you sure she’s not just buying them all?!

    I don’t know about Americans, but we stop watching her in the early nineties, once she had said she was a millionaire that pretty much sealed her fate over her. She has more money then sense.

    Good article.

    Kudos.

    Comment by B.L.E.S. — 2/2/2006 @ 3:53 am

  3. Oprah Got Worked

    It appears Oprah has been had, along with some others in the Hollywood community (not that this would be difficult in hollywood, everyone lies here). The Smoking Gun has a long piece with all the police reports and other documents to refute most of wha…

    Trackback by Flopping Aces — 2/4/2006 @ 3:16 pm

  4. Oprah Got Worked

    It appears Oprah has been had, along with some others in the Hollywood community (not that this would be difficult in hollywood, everyone lies here). The Smoking Gun has a long piece with all the police reports and other documents to refute most of wha…

    Trackback by Flopping Aces — 2/4/2006 @ 3:16 pm

  5. Oprah Got Worked

    It appears Oprah has been had, along with some others in the Hollywood community (not that this would be difficult in hollywood, everyone lies here). The Smoking Gun has a long piece with all the police reports and other documents to refute most of wha…

    Trackback by Flopping Aces — 2/4/2006 @ 3:16 pm

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