What WOULD Joni Do?

Random thoughts and other ramblings

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Million Little Reasons to Get Over It

Oprah and others seem to have lost their frickin minds lately because James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, apparently lied, exaggerated and embellished in his memoir.

Now first off, I didn't read the book. I scanned the description, and it just didn't seem like something I would enjoy. Also friend that was reading it told me that it was awful depressing, and a few others that read it agreed. I really wasn't in a place to read something depressing, so I skipped it. But I did wonder why they all kept reading it if they thought it was so depressing and dark, and several of them basically admitted that they were really only reading it because Oprah said so. Well, if Oprah jumped off a bridge....well, yeah, nevermind, there would probably be a tsunami from all the others jumping in behind her.

Along with Oprah's scorn, several readers are now trying to sue Frey in a class action law suit. Why? Cause it was more fiction than nonfiction? How is your life impacted by that? Seriously, I could see if he wrote that crack will cure cancer and you followed his advise and got hooked on crack. But really, unless he is lying about you personally, how can your life be impacted by this? And if we all can just sue because we read a book we didn't like or felt was a waste of our time, then Mrs. Graham, my high school English teacher, needs to watch out, because I so did not enjoy reading Beowulf. Or the Mayor of Casterbridge.

Maybe it is because I spent the last eight years reading letters from people who clearly exaggerate and embellish. Or because I come from a family with some big time storytellers. I have some extended family members that exaggerate and lie so much that my grandmother once said, "You could stub your toe and by the time the story got passed around that group, you'd be paralyzed and receiving the Last Rites." (See, even I just embellished that, cause she didn't say the Last Rites part - it just usually makes people chuckle a little more when I add that to the story.) But for whatever reason, I tend to be somewhat cynical and mistrusting of people.

Therefore, when I see that a former drug addict/crackhead/alcoholic has written about his experiences, I tend to think that maybe, just maybe, he's not your most trustworthy of people to begin with. And, even if he was as honest as the day is long (what does that mean?? really??), I can't imagine that he could fully even REMEMBER every thing that happened even if he hadn't been drugged out through most of the story. I've read enough autobiographies to know that most of them probably aren't complete and pure fact. People stretch the truth, remember things differently, lie by omission (Star Jones - I'm looking at you). So, I usually go into a book like this with just a little bit of skepticism anyway. Except for maybe Mother Theresa's book. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.

I frankly am a little more worried about actual newspaper reporters, news anchors and professional journalist who lie, falsify data or embellish. And when they do get caught, they either make excuses (I prewrote that story to save time, but then "X" didn't happen and that messed up my predicted version of the event) or try to act as the victim like Dan Rather and CBS News did. Where is Oprah's outrage over that?


  • At 11:32 PM, February 15, 2006, Blogger Ali said…

    preach on, girlfriend

  • At 12:19 AM, February 16, 2006, Blogger Tony Mc said…

    It was stated best by Mr. Bruce Willis:
    "Look at what happened to James Frey in the last two weeks. That's a great book and so is the follow-up book. And just because his publisher chose to say that these were memoirs, it took it out of being a work of fiction, a great work of fiction and very well-written, to this guy having to go be sucker-punched on 'Oprah' by one of the most powerful women in television just to grind her own ax about it. Hey, Oprah, You had President Clinton on your show, and if this [bleep] didn't lie about a couple of things, I'm going to set myself on fire right now."

    Then he round house kicked Chuck Norris' mustache right off!!!

  • At 12:38 AM, February 16, 2006, Blogger Leemer said…

    I heard the Willis quote today, too, and couldn't agree more. And this entire saga does is prove the stunning power yielded by one woman.

    A female president in our future? Perhaps we already have one...

  • At 12:42 AM, February 16, 2006, Blogger Tony Mc said…

    Mrs. Bullitt!


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