RadioBDC Logo
| Listen Live
< Back to front page Text size +

A million little shrugs

Posted by David Mehegan  November 5, 2007 11:11 AM

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

James Frey

There was outrage aplenty, from Oprah Winfrey on through the rest of the book-related media, when James Frey's memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," was found to be substantially fabricated. As part of the fallout, publisher Random House agreed to refund the purchase price to anyone who wanted it.

Well, it turns out that not many did. The Associated Press reports that only about 1,700 buyers wanted their money back, this out of the millions who bought the book. A New York federal judge approved a deal last week between the publisher and a group of buyers who had sued.

This should not come as a surprise, since many people care little whether the events recounted in a memoir are true or false. Even after the fabrications were revealed in January 2006, almost 100,000 copies of "A Million Little Pieces" were sold. This book was not a scholarly work, or a textbook, after all -- it was an entertainment, and people apparently saw it as such.

Here's an example: After the news about Frey come out, a friend called me and said, "Wow, I saw your story about James Frey. You know, I read that book when I realized I went to school with Frey."

I said, "You knew Frey?"

"Well, no, he was a year ahead of me, but we both went to the same college."

"What do you think about the book?" I asked, thinking he would be furious at being deceived.

"Oh, great book!" he said -- "hell of a read!"

E-mail this article

Invalid E-mail address
Invalid E-mail address

Sending your article

2 comments so far...
  1. can't wait to read the next one...true or not...

    Posted by allison burke October 15, 08 08:29 PM
  1. Fantastic, Visually captavating

    Posted by Sian Wright May 25, 09 12:16 PM
About off the shelf News about books, authors, and publishers from The Boston Globe.
Nicole Lamy is editor of the Globe's Books section.
Jan Gardner writes the "Shelf Life" column for the Globe's Books section.

browse this blog

by category