Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 3: Memoir Fraud, A Million Little Pieces

      The first memoir I read was James Frey's memoir "A Million Little Pieces". I actually read it before Oprah chose it as a book member of her elite book club and before she jumped down Frey's throat about changing events that took place in his memoir. I believe that because of this I was able to read the memoir without any preconceived notions about the author and I read it without any bias. The "memoir" is about Frey's experience in rehab as an alcoholic of ten years and a crack addict of three years. It is set during his six week stay at a treatment facility. During the six weeks in the rehabilitation center Frey reflects on his life, the choices he's made, and tells the story of falling in love with another patient. While the book was first marketed as a memoir, after Oprah's conniption fit and Frey's "literary fogging" it is now sold as a semi-fictional novel. (However my 2004 edition is still labeled as a memoir and there is publishers note addressing the fogging controversy).
    I believe the controversy this book created allows for readers to open up the discussion of what a memoir really is, and how easy it is to cross the line into literary fogging. Especially with an author writing about his memories that took place in an drug/alcohol induced state, how credible is our writer? Is he to blame for his falsely remember events? Was he just embellishing? When does the writer cross the line from inaccurately telling a story to falsely creating them? Frey is an example for future memoir writers on what not to do. It is important to get the facts correct and do research in order to have the most accurate account of events possible. Frey lost the trust that readers put into an author when reading a memoir and it is a trust that he will have a hard time earning back when releasing future work.

A Million Little Pieces.jpg

1 comment:

  1. Right, this is the memoir that caused a stir of controversy after people started fact-checking and figured out that Frey blurred the lines. It is a good book, but many now consider more fiction than non-fiction.