James Frey’s bestselling drug- and alcohol-abuse memoir A Million Little Pieces is being called into question by the Smoking Gun Web site, which alleges the book contains several embellishments, if not outright fabrications.
Frey, whose graphic tale topped bestseller lists after being touted by Oprah Winfrey on her talk show, has threatened to sue the online publication over the allegations. In an article titled “The Man Who Conned Oprah,” the Smoking Gun claims that Frey, 36, inflated claims about his criminal past, fudged court records and misrepresented his involvement in a fatal car accident.
In comments to the site Frey “did, for the first time, admit that he had embellished central details of his criminal career and purported incarceration for ‘obvious dramatic reasons’ in the nonfiction work,” the site says.
As Marianne Sanders, the mother of one of the victims in the auto accident, tells the Smoking Gun: “Everything that I believe he wrote, even about my daughter … was not an actual, the way the accident happened or anything. I never heard his name in connection with it.”
In his book, Frey claims he was questioned by police after the accident and recalls being blamed for the tragedy by Sanders’ parents.
In a joint statement Monday, the book’s hardcover publisher, Doubleday, and paperback publisher, Anchor, said: “We stand in support of our author, James Frey, and his book which has touched the lives of millions of readers.”
A spokeswoman for Frey, Jennifer Hayman, referred to the publishers’ statement when contacted by the Associated Press, and the author’s lawyer, Martin D. Singer, was not available for comment.
Since receiving the imprimatur of the Oprah Book Club, A Million Little Pieces has sold in excess of 3.5 million copies, according to Nielsen BookScan.
On his own site, Frey called the Smoking Gun’s article “the latest attempt to discredit me.”
“So let the haters hate, let the doubters doubt, I stand by my book, and my life, and I won’t dignify this bull— with any sort of further response,” Frey wrote.