When bestselling Native American memoirist Nasdijj was recently discovered to be a white, middle-class gay erotica writer named Timothy Barrus, the only red faces to be found belonged to the book’s embarrassed publisher. However, rather than try to profit from the controversy, Ballantine has done the right thing and announced it would not ship any more copies of the disputed books.
It’s time Doubleday did the same with James Frey.
The question is not whether A Million Little Pieces should be considered fiction or non-fiction. It’s not a question of “truthiness,” or merely an interesting case of literary license, to be debated and discussed (and reprinted and reprinted).
Enough of this pathetic charade. Enough already with the “mostly true” nonsense. A Million LIttle Pieces is a top-to-bottom scam, pulled off with great skill not only by the author and his agent, but aided and abetted by Nan A. Talese and Doubleday. If I had any doubts about just how deeply complicit the publisher was in perpetrating this fraud (and I did), they vanished when Talese went on Oprah and tried claiming a significant difference between “memoir” and “autobiography,” completely glossing over the fact that her company peddled this bad fiction as a true story.
When Talese claimed that there were no questions about the book, and implied that such questions would have been improper, I did not get the feeling that she was simply sticking up for her author and company: I got the feeling she was lying, plain and simple, right into Oprah’s face and the cameras. And if I feel she was lying, then by the low standards that Talese and Frey have set for themselves, isn’t that feeling in fact the truth?
Stop the insanity, Doubleday. Stop the fraud. Stop the presses on A Million Little Pieces.