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James Frey Falls to Pieces on Oprah


Oprah's Seal of Approval

When Oprah gave James Frey’s book A Million Little Pieces her Book Club seal of approval in September, she had no idea what she was in for. Her endorsement helped shoot the book to the top of the bestseller lists and made Frey a very wealthy man.

What James Frey Claimed

In the book, Frey talks openly about his drug-addicted past, criminal record, suicidal girlfriend and more. He claims that he received root canals without novocaine and that he spent 3 months in a horrible prison. The book served as an inspiration to so many readers because in the end, the author comes out on the other side, alive and well.

Stretching the Truth

Unfortunately, as it turns out, most of what was said in the book was largely fabricated by the author. Frey thought he was home free, until thesmoking-gun.com exposed his lies. They did what the publishers failed to do on their end, and that was checking the facts. People began to talk and Frey decided to go on Larry King Live to set the record straight. During the broadcast, Oprah even called in to defend him, calling the accusations “much ado about nothing.”

Oprah Feels Duped and Disappointed

Only days later, after learning the facts, Oprah realized the painful truth that she had made a huge mistake by defending Frey. She had him on her show for a follow-up interview in which she basically interrogated the author until he spilled the beans. She opened her show by saying “I regret that phone call (to Larry King) because I left the impression that the truth does not matter.” Then, she faced James Frey and declared “I feel duped and disappointed. I feel that you conned us all.”

Seperating Fact From Fiction

When it came down to deciphering fact from fiction, Oprah was on the hunt for the truth. She learned that Frey only spent 3 hours and not 3 days in prison. He admitted that his girlfriend Lily didn’t actually hang herself; but in fact cut her wrists. Oprah was also bothered by the fact that he kept referring to the people in his book as “characters” because that would make the book a work of fiction and not a true memoir as it was marketed.

Words of Encouragement

Oprah closed out the show on a positive note with an encouraging message to Frey and perhaps the readers of his book. She talked about the truth and how important and sacred it truly was. She said “telling the truth can set you free. Maybe this is beginning of a new kind of truth for you.” Hopefully her kind and inspirational message will get through to him.

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