Lies and the Lying Liars Who Still Get Book Deals

jamesfrey_oprah.jpgToday comes word that fraudulent memoirist James Frey just inked a deal with HarperCollins to publish his new novel for a million dollars.

Gawker’s Emily Gould has a cogent assessment on why this is a slap in the face to writers of both fiction and non-fiction who approach their work with integrity.

I suppose I’d be more upset with the news, but I never fell victim to the Frey, having not read his faux-memoir before it was exposed as a fictional contrivance.

That said, If I hear tell of a new JT LeRoy novel I’ll be super-pissed. But given the fact a disgraced fabulist like Frey can still command seven figures for his work, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it came to pass.

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12 Responses to Lies and the Lying Liars Who Still Get Book Deals

  1. jean eddings says:

    Why would you be pissed if LeRoy got a new book deal? Laura Albert (LeRoy) DID “approach [her] work with integrity” and never claimed it as non-fiction. In fact, her book “Sarah” even has some fantasy elements. She created the alternate identity of JT LeRoy as a way to cope with childhood abuse. At the time she identified more with the person she created, LeRoy, than with Laura Albert who she did not understand or relate to as well. It seems like writing through JT LeRoy makes more sense because it is a real expression of her experiences and position in the world (as a woman who fragmented early on due to childhood trauma and did what made sense for her to do to mentally survive in our culture). In my opinion, she was more honest. This excerpt from an NY times interview with film director Werner Herzog addresses the idea of truth:

    Q. There have been some accusations that you’ve taken liberties with facts in some of your documentaries and in “Rescue Dawn,” particularly from the family of
    Eugene DeBruin. What is your reaction to those
    accusations?

    A. If we are paying attention about facts, we end up as accountants. If you find out that yes, here or there, a fact has been modified or has been imagined, it will be a triumph of the accountants to tell me so. But we are into illumination for the sake of a deeper
    truth, for an ecstasy of truth, for something we can experience once in a while in great literature and great cinema. I’m imagining and staging and using my fantasies. Only that will illuminate us. Otherwise, if you’re purely after facts, please buy yourself the phone directory of Manhattan. It has four million times correct facts. But it doesn’t illuminate.

    this situation is complex and i think people should read as many sources as they can before they write their opinions that have an impact, so please read the articles in the below links to get more layers to this story:
    http://www.artonpaper.com/bi/v12n01/review-identity-theft.php
    http://www.jtleroy.com/images/TPR178_JTLeroy.pdf

  2. jane doe says:

    you guys suck

  3. Emmet says:

    Read the Vanity Fair. There’s an interview with Frey in the latest issue (also on the VF site). It gives you a whole different perspective on the publishing of Million Little Pieces.

    And since when did writing not involve fantasies and / or fabrications?

    Oprah W. should go fuck herself anyway. ‘You lied to my audience’ (cue Oprah’s tears and boo’s from a zombie-like audience). The hypocrisy of it all. These people have no understanding of literature and need self-help books to get through their sorry excuses for lives.
    Imagine regarding Frey’s MLP as a self-help book. Jezus Fucking Christ, the stupidity is mind-boggling.

  4. Anna says:

    Emmet, well said. You rock.

  5. yolanda says:

    i totally agree that Frey is being accused for nothing,really!…is being an author not about telling stories? i feel this has been blown way out of proportion, Oprah has exaggerated MLP and the story behind it, this was not meant to be a self help book..it is a book that tells a story (a darn good book at that)and that is how ppl should be looking at it. I mean do you see people portraying wilbur smith,sidney sheldon or mary higgins clarke books as self help???? i reckon we should give james frey props he deserves for a brilliant book and move on, whether he added some details there that were not entirely the truth or not is just a matter of him trying to enhance the story and its characters… I for one, am looking forward to getting me a copy of “My friend Leonard”,trusting it will be just as great!!!!

  6. breanna lambert says:

    wow cares he inseires people to read get a life

  7. Sharon Hack says:

    I personally found A Million Little Pieces an eye-opener. So many of us walk around with
    blinkers on either not knowing or not wanting to know what is going on around us. He wrote
    from the heart.

  8. damon says:

    true or not true i dont care ….everyword every page every sentence ….makes you wake up and see what the world really is..the best 2 books i have ever read…thankyou james

  9. john says:

    Yeah, fuck all of you who are trying to call frey out. He’s been through more shit than any of these critics who are trying to bash him; none of these assholes have the right to call him out. I really like how Oprah called him out too, what a bitch.

  10. markjohnhiemstra says:

    One should have known from the first paragraph of that book that this is “creative nonfiction.” Anyone that thought otherwise is an idiot to begin with.

  11. Gretchen says:

    I could not put the book MLP down once I began reading it. I just finished the book this morning & I am still saddened that it is over. I believe Frey went through those events in his recovery, who are we to judge if he makes his experience a little more frightening,funnier, or painful then the actual event. Bottom line here is we get where he’s coming from..atleast I do..Thank You James. I was hoping for a happier ending for Lilly & Lenord though :( that’s life I know….

  12. You can certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you
    write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

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