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Thread: A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

  1. #41
    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambikins View Post
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,3659762.story

    Chicago woman files suit against ‘Pieces’ author James Frey
    All I can say is, what a pathetic idiot.
    All I wanted was a 45, a stinking 45 - the record or the gun. I'd even settle for the damn malt liquor. - Al Bundy.

  2. #42
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattus View Post
    All I can say is, what a pathetic idiot.
    Rattus: Who's the idiot?? Frey or the person suing him???
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

  3. #43
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    All three of us: Sally, our roomie Michele, and I, watched Larry King last week. Michele steadfastly supports James; Sally could care less (she just watched it to know what was going on) and I'm still disappointed/pissed off. Not at Frey, so much any more. But at the people who say, "So what if he lied!!!!! It was a damn good book!"

    So what if he lied?!

    In what other life situation do those people say that? When the "single" person that they're dating turns out to be secretly MARRIED??? When their boss, who "promised them a promotion" later says, "Well, I told you what YOU wanted to hear?" When the new employee that's hired to be an expert in something turns out to know NOTHING about the area they were hired for, but took the job anyway???!!!

    According to their credo of "We accept all lies", they must lead very confusing lives.

    James had Oprah on his side, pushing his book. That's how he fooled so many millions. But Stephen Glass, had a much smaller audience, although he fooled them as well, if not better than Frey.

    Not a lot of people are aware of Stephen Glass, the then 25 year old rising star reporter of the New Republic. In 2003, Glass was "busted" for creative journalism of the highest order: he made up people, places and events. He made up organizations and quotations. Sometimes, he made up entire articles.

    And to back it all up, he created fake notes, fake voice-mails, fake faxes, even a fake Web site - whatever it took to deceive his editors, not to mention hundreds of thousands of readers.

    According to Glass, his lying began this way: "My life was one very long process of lying and lying again, to figure out how to cover those other lies,” says Glass.

    “Like a stock graph, there's going to be exceptions in this. But the general trend of the stories is that they started out with a few made up details and quotes. And granted a few too many, of course. But a few. And then they progressed into stories that were completely fabricated. Just completely made up out of whole cloth.”

    "I remember thinking, ‘If I just had the exact quote that I wanted to make it work, it would be perfect.’ And I wrote something on my computer, and then I looked at it, and I let it stand. And then it ran in the magazine and I saw it. And I said to myself what I said every time these stories ran, ‘You must stop. You must stop.’ But I didn't.”

    “I loved the electricity of people liking my stories. I loved going to story conference meetings and telling people what my story was going to be, and seeing the room excited. I wanted every story to be a home run.”

    Leon Wieseltier is the literary editor of The New Republic: “Glass had a way of hovering affably around everything. He was sweet in what turned out to be this very sinister way. He was aching to please.”

    According to Glass, again: "I wanted a story that I thought would be the perfect story. And that the readers would most enjoy to read.”

    How did this all work? How did Glass draw readers into these lies?

    “I would tell a story, and there would be fact A, which maybe was true. And then there would be fact B, which was sort of partially true and partially fabricated. And there would be fact C which was more fabricated and almost not true,” says Glass.

    “And there would be fact D, which was a complete whopper. And totally not true. And so people would be with me on these stories through fact A and through fact B. And so they would believe me to C. And then at D they were still believing me through the story.

    Many people have asked Frey about his publisher's "fact checkers". Like Glass, he apparently knew how to fool the system. Here's Glass again:"Most magazines, including The New Republic, have fact-checkers assigned to vet articles for any inaccuracies. I knew how the system worked. And I made it so that my stories could get through. I invented fake notes. I later would invent a series of voice mailboxes and business cards. I invented newsletters. I invented a website,” says Glass. “For every lie I told in the magazine, there was a series of lies behind that lie that I told-- in order to get it to be published.”

    When Glass was finally exposed as a fabricator and liar, the journalistic career of Stephen Glass ended. He dropped out of sight and spent much of the past five years in therapy, trying to start over. He has earned a law degree from Georgetown University and written a book for a six-figure advance. This time, it's clearly labeled fiction: A novel called “The Fabulist” about a young Washington reporter who is a pathological liar.

    “What I did hurt the people I worked with. It hurt my editors. It hurt my family. It hurt my friends. It hurt the readers,” says Glass.

    Did he ever apologize to any of them? “This is the very beginning of a very, very long process of apologies. I didn't apologize to people. Because I was so ashamed.”

    James Frey lied. He lied big and he lied small. The first thing that I wanted to see, when he was on Larry King, was the scar, that infamous Harry Potter scar, that two fingers supposedly wriggled through, on his cheek. And sure enough, Larry asked him about it, right out of the gate. Seems like James NEVER had a hole in his cheek. He claims that he "bit my lower lip in two places." When a stunned Larry says, "Why did you lie about it? Why did you say it was your cheek?", James stumbled through his answer and said, "Well, it was less words to say 'I cut my cheek' than to say "I cut two gashes in my lower lip."

    I guess Frey must have been paid per word, by his publisher, then. That's the only excuse that I can come up to dramatise and embellish his "memories".

    I'm not sorry that I won't forgive James Frey for his lies. I don't accept fibbing from my life partner, my friends or my clients. And I doubt that they'd find me endearing if my stories turned out to be bedtime tales versus true events.

    If you must allow liars into your life, at least have the ones that insist that you "look years younger and definitely lost weight!" Leave the James Frey's and Stephen Glass' back at the bar where you found them.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/...in552819.shtml
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

  4. #44
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    I said I wouldn't comment on this anymore until I'd read the book (damn, the library wait list is looooong) but lambi, my co-workers and I were discussing this yesterday and you know what...the prevailing sentiment was "so what if he lied?".

    I just finished reading Prozac Nation, and found myself examining it with a more critical eye in light of this scandal. Elizabeth Wurtzel has made a career of writing about her addictions and mental problems - her storytelling is very compelling, but now I'm wondering if her more dramatic passages are the real deal or embroidered here and there. Or - if a naturally creative person who writes for a living just has a tendency to describe things in a way that fascinates and captures the reader's attention. The cut lip/cheek story that you describe above is maybe a little of that kind of thing, rather than an outright lie.

    I think we may also want to keep in mind that Frey isn't passing himself off as a journalist or a reporter - a writer who by the nature of his work compels him to stick to the facts and not embellish them. In addition, remember that writers of biographies and notably, true crime, often re-create conversations that they have no first-hand knowledge of in order to make the story more gripping and/or entertaining. It doesn't make the work any less *true*, and I don't know anyone who reads that type of book and feels cheated or lied to.
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
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  5. #45
    FORT Fogey JamiLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambikins View Post
    I went back two years in this thread to see if there was any specific thread addressing this book and couldn't find anything. So, I think it's okay to start one.

    This book was completely off my radar. My roommate, Michele, came up to me three days ago, waving it in her hand and yelling, "YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK! YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!!" Since I was between books at the moment and it was New Year's Day and I was beginning to burn out on the 20 hours of The Twilight Zone Marathon, I willingly took it and went off into the bedroom to read.

    It's been three days now, I'm on page #109, and I have no idea if I'll finish it.

    If you know nothing about this book, as I did not, this is what it boils down to: Written by James Frey, it's supposedly autobiographical about his 6 weeks in rehab at Hazelden Clinic in Minnesota. He is 23 when he is sent to the clinic (apparently 12 years ago). The book is one of Oprah's book club and apparently Frey is the new "it" person on talk shows, because he beat his addiction but he did it "my way", meaning he dismissed the 12 Step Program and therapists suggestions and got straight and drug free through just strong will.

    His writing style is completely unique and his images are brutal so I understand that that is a big part of his attraction to readers. However from the very first page, I began to doubt the reality of this "real" book and now I'm pretty convinced that it's 50% truth-50% fabrication/embellishment.

    So, because Michele was starry-eyed enthralled with this and wasn't about to debate it, I went on-line and have read over 1000 reviews of this book (yes, I really did...on Amazon.com and other sites).

    What it boils down to is this: If you have NEVER had an addiction or known an addict, YOU FRICKIN ADORE THIS BOOK AND THINK FREY IS THE NEXT JESUS CHRIST. However, if you've either been an addict, gone into recovery or lived with an addict, it reads like a piece of fiction. There are posters who have done google searches of many of the things Frey claims happened with NO support found. People who work in rehab places, airlines and dentists offices are saying the same thing about parts of the book: "It's pure fiction and would NOT have happened!" Some of the interesting puns on his title A MILLION LITTLE PIECES are "A Bazillion Little Pieces" and "A Million Little Sheep".

    It seems like the line is drawn in the sand and this book is either "believed and changed my life" or it's "a big pile of s__t and Frey is a narcissist rich boy hack" who's "parents paid for $50,000 of therapy and the book to be published."

    Has any one HERE read this book yet or know anyone who has? I might finish it, only so I'm fully aware of the depths of Frey's ego. But having lived with a cocaine addict/alcoholic for 10 years who ended up dying 3 days after he was released from Hazelden (my second husband), I know of what I speak and Frey just comes across like an interesting piece of fiction with one HUGE anti-authority chip on his shoulder.
    wow. I heard so many good things about this book and one of my best friends could not put it down and my very prejudice sister read it and loved it ....well I thought it would be good. I tried to read but, was too ? fake or something. And the reading wasn't -what's the word-? just soo choppy. How did he remember all those details from detox? Just didn't believe it. My mother called me the other day and asked me if I'd ever finished it and when I said no, she said good because the guy is a fraud..........

    can't believe anything these days. Gut feelings are amazing too
    The Pats will be back next year. Watch out.....

  6. #46
    FORT Fogey JamiLee's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=AJane;1727634]
    As for curing/controlling addictions...I don't know. Most of the people I've known with addictions never changed. [QUOTE]

    Hi AJane,
    First of all, I love your posts.

    This one though I was shocked at. I have a huge family. Half very "normal" other half are all addicted people. I mean addictive personalities...........

    I have 4 sober uncles (I am talkin over 20 years) 3 sober aunts, several sober cousins.........

    and this is from ages from say 20 to 90.

    And they are (some over the top) successful and live full, happy lives. Maybe I just grew up in a different type of family. I feel grateful to have these people in my family healthy and sad to see what you wrote.

    Back to the book, I hate fraud!!!!!
    The Pats will be back next year. Watch out.....

  7. #47
    FORT Fogey JamiLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by horsnhound View Post
    I read the book and until I research further, I am choosing to keep my opinions on whether it is factual or fiction to myself. That being said, I think you really need to read the book before you jump to any conclusions. Mr. Frey was told at Hazeldon that the 12 steps and God were the only way he would have a 17% chance at recovery. He was forcefed 12 steps every day for 2 months and resisted the whole time. I totally understand his resistance as they relate to his personal beliefs, and this 1 size fits all approach will not work for everyone (perhaps a fatal flaw in the rehabilitation system and why success rates are so low). Mr. Frey did find answers, however in the teachings of the Tao Te Ching. The truth is, the only person responsible for your actions is you. Mr. Frey took credit for his recovery by saying he chose to quit, and if you read the book you would know that he also took credit for all his problems. He blamed no one but himself for his addictions. His parents would try to shoulder the responsibility and express guilt at various times and always he would inform them that it was never their fault, there was nothing they could have done, and he knew that they were always there for him. There is a fatal flaw in thinking this man is wrong in taking credit in his recovery, in fact if he didn't own it and instead looked to and relied on others for his success, he would lose his power and fall victim to the "so and so let me down, I can't trust anyone" excuses that so many addicts give in to. And again if you read the book, you would know that he thanked not only his parents several times but many friends in helping him through his journey. I think the fact that Mr. Frey opens up the door to the idea that you can get better following a path other than God, AA, 12 steps et. all is commendable in that it opens up greater opportunities for success for those who don't subscribe to the 1 size fits all approach.
    I really enjoyed this post but, I must say......I was taught that alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease ......I didn't finish the book. I'm not sure if he ever said that this is something people are born with. Like a rotten gene.

    All the willpower in the world as I've seen my whole life cannot ? Just doesn't seem to work.

    I'll probably read the book just because I might like this guys way of thinking and wish it were willpower.......like smoking use to be right?
    The Pats will be back next year. Watch out.....

  8. #48
    FORT Fogey JamiLee's Avatar
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    I said I wouldn't comment on this anymore until I'd read the book (damn, the library wait list is looooong) but lambi, my co-workers and I were discussing this yesterday and you know what...the prevailing sentiment was "so what if he lied?".


    Okay how about you push and push this book on someone you love very much for some inspiration and then months later it's BS because this person pretended to be someone he is not AND WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND then the person gets pissed off at you because you threw some phoney BS at them?

    This is just wrong this guy did this period. No excuses. Not fair and I hope he believes in at least KARMA. ugh
    The Pats will be back next year. Watch out.....

  9. #49
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=JamiLee;1749823][QUOTE=AJane;1727634]
    As for curing/controlling addictions...I don't know. Most of the people I've known with addictions never changed.

    Hi AJane,
    First of all, I love your posts.

    This one though I was shocked at. I have a huge family. Half very "normal" other half are all addicted people. I mean addictive personalities...........

    I have 4 sober uncles (I am talking over 20 years) 3 sober aunts, several sober cousins.........

    and this is from ages from say 20 to 90.

    And they are (some over the top) successful and live full, happy lives. Maybe I just grew up in a different type of family. I feel grateful to have these people in my family healthy and sad to see what you wrote.

    Back to the book, I hate fraud!!!!!
    JamieLee: I'm very happy that in your family, they were able to beat statistics and turned out to be so sober for so long. That speaks volumes about them.

    However, like AJane, there is no one in my set of experiences that had an addiction problem that beat them. I'm not related to any of them, having been past step-dads and a husband, but til the day they died from over-dosing or liver disease brought on by alcohol, they lived their lives climbing on and off the "wagon".

    Even in my recent experience with roommates that we've had that turned out to be "hidden" alcoholics, years later, they still are bouncing from job to job, apartment to apartment and relationship after relationship, because their alcohol and drug use control THEM, and not the other way around.

    Since you haven't read the book, James Frey states over and over again, that HE does not believe that "addictions" are a dis-ease. He calls all of that field of thought a "cop-out" and an "unwillingness to own up" to one's own failings. He uses the examples of Cancer and Parkinson's Disease as true diseases, things that people can't wish out of existence or go to a treatment center to cure. As Frey states, and I'm paraphrasing him here, "...you can't decide, one morning, to NOT have Parkinson's Disease or not have Cancer, but you CAN decide to not drink or take drugs anymore." He claims in his book that people that use the word disease are simply not willing to take responsibility for their actions.

    Regarding the person who is angry at you for recommending a book that the nation (and Oprah) believed to be true....well, then the angry friend has bigger issues than you can deal with.

    Only if YOU had discovered the book, solely by yourself, and promoted Frey, then and only then could they potentially be pissed at you. But, you were duped along with millions of other folks. Some people just need to be angry.
    Still crazy, after all these shears

    "lambikins, put the crack pipe down and back away from the keyboard." Unklescott

    "lambikins... I have come to the conclusion that you are the Jedi Master of the Kitchen on FORT!" SuperBrat

  10. #50
    FORT Fan julitta's Avatar
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    well i just read this book.(yes,after the scandal came out) i just wish they had listed it as fiction because it really is a great book, and james frey deserves credit for that.
    as far as addicts go...don't generalize. they are all different. some get better, some don't. some get better by themselves, some need help. and yes, some can even function enough to hold good jobs or go to college, some can't.
    i was a drunk when i was young. from 14 to 20 years old. i had been sent to treatment centers every year during that time. i finally stopped when i decided "you know what? i don't have a damn disease. i'm doing this myself, and i can just stop it" and i did. now i can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer once in a while, and not be worried it will throw me off the wagon. i am in control, not a disease. so i understand where he's coming from with that.

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