Friday, January 13, 2006

Headline: Frey Adds Author's Note To Memoir

"The truth is what matters. It is what I should be remembered by, if I am remembered at all. Remember the truth..."

This was written by James Frey, a man who made millions telling people not to buy any bullshit and then selling them a giant load of pure caca de vache.

I wasn't going to write about this, as others have already written so eloquently elsewhere. Seth Mnookin in Slate, for one, Duane Swierczynski over at Secret Dead, for another. I hadn't read Frey's book and I am so out of it, pop culture wise, that Frey hadn't even pinged my radar until now. I've been too busy reading terrific books like The White Trilogy by Ken Bruen, People Die by Kevin Wignall and Bridge of Sighs by Olen Steinhauer. Inspirational memoirs are not something I care to ponder. Reformed drug addict? Good for you. Convict who's turned his life around? My hat's off. Do I care to read about your experiences? No thanks, but I might rent the movie. Unless Adam Sandler is in it and then probably not.

When I first heard about this, I thought, cynical opportunist, and let it go. But as the news came out and Frey went on TV saying no one expects memoirs to be true for God's sake, my gag reflex kicked in. This smug piece of pampered detritus couldn't sell this as a novel - most of the readers of this blog can share that particular pain - but then Frey passed off this self-aggrandizing purply prose as memoir and shamelessly went on Oprah so housewives could shed tears over his redemption and manly inner strength. The guy doesn't even have the decency to blush when he cashes those checks.

And it's not just the money.

We would all love to make Frey's millions. Hell, most of us would be happy just to pay the rent. But I'm not going to tell my readers that I'm the man with the corner on TRUTH, only to be revealed as a fabricating ass with the morals of a GOP lobbyist. Because, as Frey himself wrote, "The truth is what matters. It is what I should be remembered by, if I am remembered at all. Remember the truth..."

Let's hope the next time readers are tempted to pick up Frey's book they'll remember the truth and reach instead for some really honest fiction. Allow me to suggest a few titles...


Jim Winter said...

I'd be very interested to see what the ensuing controversy does for his sales. The cynic in me says RH knew this was coming.

Mind you, that's the cynic in me. Which is why I write crime fiction.

David Terrenoire said...

Jim, given the right marketing, Americans will buy anything. And in bag lots.

Oprah sold Frey, Rove sold us an inept president, a small circle of academics who had never been closer to a uniform than a Burger King hat sold us a war.

Never in my lifetime has the warning caveat emptor been so appropriate that it should be sewed into a sampler for every American home to display over their big screen plasma TV.

David Terrenoire said...

Shit. That's sewn not sewed.

This is why God made editors.