James Frey’s public admission of what is fact and fiction in his memoir A Million Little Pieces is now available for the world to read.
Frey’s three-page author’s note, which will appear in new editions of the embattled tome and is now posted on Randomhouse.com, acknowledges that his work is more a matter of style over substance.
“I wanted the stories in the book to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs, to have the tension that all great stories require,” writes Frey, who confirms that he invented a three-month jail term, exaggerated other run-ins with law officials and distorted his role in a train crash that killed a high school classmate. He also acknowledges making himself appear “tougher and more daring and more aggressive than in reality I was, or I am.”
Echoing what he told Oprah Winfrey on the air last week, Frey writes: “People cope with adversity in many different ways, ways that are deeply personal. My mistake, and it is one I deeply regret, is writing about the person I created in my mind to help me cope, and not the person who went through the experience.”
The release of the author’s message comes on the same day it was reported that Frey’s literary agent has dropped him because he exaggerated large portions of his book.
Agent Kassie Evashevski revealed her decision in an interview posted Tuesday on the Web site of the book-trade journal Publishers Weekly. In the interview, Evashevski said that she had brought up the possibility of selling the book as a novel.
“Early in the submission process, James raised the issue of whether he could publish it as an autobiographical novel, only, he said, to spare his family undue embarrassment, not because it wasn’t true,” says Evashevski.
Frey, whose book shot to the top of the bestseller lists last fall when Oprah Winfrey picked it for her book club, had no comment on his former agent’s interview, The New York Times reports.
Last Thursday, Frey and his publisher, Nan Talese, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where the talk-show host condemned the author and said she felt “duped.”
Subsequent reports say that Warner Bros., which holds the film rights to Frey’s book, may be reconsidering moving ahead with a movie version.
Talese, meanwhile, maintains that she herself may have been duped into appearing on Oprah last week. (Winfrey raked the respected publisher over the coals during the hour.)
“I was asked to go on the program that was going to have James on it … to talk about ‘Truth in America,'” Talese tells the New York Observer newspaper. Yet once she was entering the set of the live broadcast, Talese says she was then surprised to be told that the theme of the show had been changed, to something called “The James Frey Controversy.”