James Frey and Oprah

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So what do you think?

It’s water cooler talk at work on Friday. Did Oprah go too far? Or is James Frey a pathological liar who deserves the public flaming?

I admit I was interested but once it started I quickly realized I couldn’t watch the show. Seriously made me feel like I was watching a public execution. I can understand that Oprah was embarrased by his obvious misrepresentation of the actual facts. He lied. It’s obvious. But he is a person who is obviously not 100%, and showed up anyway…and I don’t think her approach created a desire to change or support forgiveness…I assumed she wanted to come off as a strong woman who would not allow her name to be associated with a lie, but to me she ended up looking like someone who was embarrased and had the means to publicly flog the culprit.

8 thoughts on “James Frey and Oprah

  1. I have felt for awhile that Oprah is getting back into the sensational arena. I only saw the tail end of it. But I don’t feel that it was necessary for her to make this so public. A statement or a brief explanation would have been fine. But that wouldn’t have helped her ratings now, would it??

  2. There is a brief article in last weeks, or the week before, MacLean’s magazine supposedly written by Frey in which he literally laughs at anyone who believed anything he wrote in his book.
    I came away with a different perspective than those who watched Oprah did.
    As for Oprah . . .

  3. I never read the book and I don’t make it a habit of watching Oprah, so I apologize if I do not have all the facts.

    Having said that, from what I understand of the situation James Frey wrote the book “A Million Little Pieces” and labelled it as non-fiction. Oprah pushed it on her show, the Smoking Gun exposed the book as fiction and now Oprah doesn’t want to come off as having been a part of the lie.

    I don’t blame her. I don’t hold it against her to be mad at him either, and in defending the reputation of her show and her own moral standing she has to act firmly otherwise some may suspect she’s in on the lie.

    Perhaps if she were a religious organization I would hold her to a hire standard, but this is Oprah. Sure, she has become a moral compass for many people, but when it comes to the eternal fight between justice and mercy, (in my opinion) Oprah has every right to “publicly flog the culprit”.

  4. I haven’t read Frey’s book, nor did I watch the show, but I think the turning point was when she called in her support for Frey when he was on Larry King. She innocently endorsed his book when she thought it was fact. On Larry King, she continued to endorse it when she knew it to be fiction. If she hadn’t called into Larry King, she would have never brought Frey back to her show.

  5. Well I’m actually writing something about this subject. I personally don’t think it’s a huge problem. He wanted to publish it as a fiction novel but the publishers wouldn’t do it. So he came back with it as a memoir…and to much public flaming deffently.

  6. I own the book, I’ve read it, I’ve recommended it, I have pages highlighted and dog eared.

    He could easily have published it as fiction and it would have been a wonderful book. I hold no malice against him. Memoirs can never be totally factual because our memories are so fragile.

    I’m positive Angela’s Ashes can’t be all factual. My own memories differ substantively from my sisters’ memories, of the same events.

    I bet you guys money that James Frey will ultimately win this one, based on the sheer wonder of the book.

    Oprah takes herself way too seriously. I bet you guys money that Maya Angelou didn’t get all her facts right in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and if it came out, Oprah would sing a different song.

  7. I had heard much of the outrage by readers and then, Oprah Winfrey’s condemnation of this memoir/novel. If any of the editors who read his manuscript had ever encountered anyone who’d ever been to rehab, they would have known, in an instant, that there was a fictional aspect to the book. His medical condition was a flag, not one of the rehab’s would have allowed him to stay in the facility without a doctor’s say-so – its an insurance thing. Big flag. I prefer to believe that the publishing company wasn’t stupid. Just greedy about sales.
    Because, this is a great book. They didn’t need to be greedy. This type of novel has been written many times before. But better, much better. Why not market it as it way meant to be. Lazy is what I say. I’m only half way through Frey’s book, but it is gripping, well written and worth publishing. Shame on the editors, who know better and encouraged a young writer to go down this path.
    Susan Bradley

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